Metal detecting is a great way to spend time in the great outdoors, but sometimes the conditions in the outdoors are not ideal. Weather is unpredictable and uncontrollable, so sometimes you may face days and days of rain.
It is a good idea to metal detect in the rain if your metal detector is waterproof and you take the necessary precautions. The ground’s conductivity is higher when wet, so your metal detector may even pick up more metal objects in the rain.
In the rest of this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about metal detecting in the rain and other weather conditions. Let’s get to it!
What Happens When You Metal Detect in the Rain?
You can metal detect in the rain if you take the proper precautions and ensure that your equipment is protected from moisture or waterproof. In some cases, metal detecting in the rain will result in more finds due to increased conductivity.
A rainy day can ruin many plans, especially if you plan to spend the day outside. However, if metal detecting was in your plans, don’t feel too disappointed! You can still metal detect in the rain, provided you take some precautions to protect your equipment.
That said, metal detecting is supposed to be enjoyable, and many people may not love getting rained on. If you don’t want to get wet and spend the day in the rain, don’t! The slight increase in conductivity of wet soil over dry soil isn’t worth being in the rain if you don’t want to be. You can always wait until right after it’s done raining and go out if you want to take advantage of the damp ground.
Before heading out into the rain, check to ensure your metal detector is waterproof. Most detectors are, but the control box may not be. If that’s the case, you’ll need to purchase a cover.
Metal detectors need different covers; many come with a cover when you purchase them.
If you don’t have a cover, you can make one with a clear plastic bag, so you can still see all the controls on the box.
If you choose to go the DIY route, I recommend having a few extra bags on hand so if your makeshift cover rips or falls off; you can replace it.
Metal detecting in the rain has its advantages. One primary advantage is that most other people won’t want to brave the weather conditions, so you’ll probably have your pick of the best places to track down a treasure.
Another bonus of metal detecting in the rain is that the ground will soften up with moisture, which makes digging significantly easier. Therefore, if you pick up on a target object, you don’t have to spend as much time or effort digging to see what it is.
Additionally, water contains ions that conduct electricity. Because of this, wet soil has higher conductivity than dry soil. Higher conductivity means that your metal detector will have an easier time detecting targets deeper in the ground, so you may have more success on your outing in the rain than on an outing on a sunny day.
Water allows for increased amplification of any signals it receives because it creates a more consistent magnetic field around the object.
Finally, if you get used to metal detecting in the rain, you’ll never have to worry about bad weather ruining your plans again! Your open-minded attitude and acceptance of the rain will be especially helpful in areas where it’s raining almost all the time, such as the Pacific Northwest.
What Weather Conditions Are Unsafe for Metal Detecting?
Now that you know you can metal detect in the rain, you might be wondering if there are any weather conditions in which you shouldn’t metal detect. Let’s take a look at some conditions in which you should avoid using a metal detector:
- Lightning. It isn’t safe to be out when there is lots of lightning around, especially if there is both thunder and lightning. I recommend getting inside and to safety as soon as possible if you notice the rain turning into a thunderstorm.
- Extreme sunlight. A bright, sunny day may seem like the ideal condition to go out and see what you can find, but you should always be careful about spending too much time in the sun. Don’t forget your sunscreen and sunglasses, and beware of dehydration and possible heat stroke.
- Extreme cold. Prolonged exposure to super cold air or wind can cause various issues, including frostbite, hypothermia, or illness. You should be especially careful of your hands, as you might need to remove them from gloves to dig or inspect your finds. If you go out in wintery and cold conditions, be sure to have lots of layers and hand warmers with you.
As long as you avoid this weather, you should be perfectly safe while out on your metal detecting adventure.
How To Prepare for Metal Detecting in the Rain
If a little rain isn’t going to ruin your parade, feel free to head out with your metal detector and see what you can find! However, before you do, there are some steps you should take to ensure that you’re safe and comfortable. Here are my suggestions:
- Wear a raincoat. Many people reach for their umbrellas if they plan on walking in the rain, but this isn’t the best solution if you’re planning on metal detecting. You’ll want to use both of your hands to hold all of your equipment, and if you need to dig anything up, it would be annoying to try and set up the umbrella so you don’t get wet while you dig. Therefore, I recommend wearing a raincoat instead.
- Wear headphones underneath a hood or a hat. Rain can be noisy, so you’ll have better luck hearing your metal detector if you wear headphones. The headphones might get damaged if they get too wet, so I suggest keeping them tucked in your rainjacket hood or wearing a brimmed hat to protect them.
- Wear quick-drying fabrics. Even with a raincoat or poncho, you’ll probably get damp in some places. Therefore, you’ll probably feel more comfortable wearing quick-drying fabrics out of lightweight and moisture-wicking materials. I recommend avoiding heavy fabrics, such as denim or leather, so you don’t get worn down schlepping around wet material.
- Wear shorts or ankle-length pants. One of the most annoying parts of being out in the rain is the mud, so if you want to avoid making a mess, I recommend wearing shorter pants or opting for shorts. This way, you can avoid dragging your clothes through the mud and tracking dirt through your house once you’re done exploring.
- Wear sturdy rain boots. Your metal detecting might take you into increasingly muddy areas, so you’ll want a nice pair of rain boots that can handle the trek. I recommend getting boots made from waterproof materials, such as rubber, and tightly sealed seams so no moisture leaks.
- Bring plastic bags with you. Plastic bags are useful tools to have on hand, especially if you’re metal detecting in the rain. If you lose the cover protecting your control box, you can replace it with a plastic bag to keep out the moisture. Additionally, you can put the items you find in the bag for safe transport back home.
If you follow the above tips, you’re more likely to have an enjoyable metal detecting experience, no matter how hard it rains!
A downside of detecting in the rain is that you’ll have a lot more mess to deal with. Plus, anything you end up finding will be significantly dirtier. By reading my in-depth guide on cleaning your metal detecting finds, you’ll have no trouble finding precious items in the rain: How to Clean Metal Detecting Finds (Ultimate Guide)
It is okay to metal detect in the rain if your metal detector is waterproof and you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your equipment. There are even some benefits to metal detecting in the rain, such as the lack of other people around, increased conductivity, and ease of digging.