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Rockhounding can be an extremely enjoyable and rewarding hobby, it helps relieve stress and is usually a calming activity. However, while rockhounding, if you are not using the right equipment or taking certain precautions, your rockhounding trip can go downhill very quickly. There is specific equipment that is necessary to have on you at all times to prevent an injury or fix a problem if one arises.
While there is a laundry list of safety equipment you can get for rockhounding, there are a few that are most important to keep you alive. These items would be considered most important for the prevention, and the management of injuries should one occur.
- Safety Goggles
- Snakebite Kit
- First Aid Kit
Now, of course, you need more than 4 pieces of safety equipment for your trip. While those are most important to help with the most sensitive parts of your body, you need to protect and prepare for any and every scenario you may encounter while you are rockhounding. Sometimes, it may seem like overkill, however, when you need these items the most, you’ll be thankful you have them.
If you are interested in checking out the best safety equipment for rockhounding you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).
What Safety Equipment do You Need for Rockhounding?
Like any hobby, rockhounding requires certain equipment for you to be able to enjoy it to the fullest extent. Rockhounding may have a longer list than other hobbies, but every piece of equipment is needed and worth it to take with you.
- Hard Hat
When you are in areas with low hanging, or falling rocks, you will need to protect your head. A hard hat can save you from a traumatic brain injury, or a simple concussion. Either way, wearing a hard hat can ensure that if anything falls, your brain won’t take a ton of, if any, damage.
- Thick Durable Gloves
Since you will be breaking rocks, you will likely experience sharp corners and fragments that can cause cuts or scrapes. Wearing very thick, durable gloves will save your hands from being too damaged and maybe even save you from having to pull out your first aid kit.
- Sun Hat and Sunscreen
While sunscreen is very beneficial, your ears, scalp, and face are very sensitive areas. This hat can also help shield your eyes from harmful UV rays as well. Any hat that has a wide brim can be considered a sun hat.
Sun damage can cause blindness, and even limited exposure to the sun can cause eye sensitivity. Wearing sunglasses (polarized is recommended) can stop your eyes from being damaged and stop you from having vision problems later in life.
- Safety Goggles
When you are hitting rocks with hammers at high velocities, you will experience some fast-moving fragments that can damage your eyes. Safety goggles are designed to protect things from hitting your eyes from above, below, or right in front of you. They are larger than sunglasses, and thicker than most other glasses so that they don’t break if they are hit by something.
- Sturdy Shoes
It’s recommended to buy shoes with soles that don’t allow nails or sharp objects through. You never know what you may encounter in some locations and if your feet are injured, this can make your trip especially difficult due to your need to walk to get home, or to your starting location.
- Face Mask
Anytime you are breaking apart rocks or moving dirt, there will be particles that move through the air. Without a mask on, you risk inhaling these particles that can contain dangerous materials, or just cause breathing issues. A mask helps filter these particles out so you can breathe clean air while searching for rocks.
- Knee Pads
Much like your shoes or gloves, knee pads can help you reduce injury or irritation from sitting in awkward positions. If you already have knee problems, this will reduce the pressure if you need to sit on your knees for any amount of time.
- Head Lamp
Searching through caves, or mines usually means a limited natural light source. This can obviously cause issues due to you needing to see to be aware of your surroundings. Wearing a headlamp allows you to have an adequate amount of light, while also having your hands free to move around safely.
- Noise Device
Most of the time, if you make your presence known to wildlife, they will run away from you and you will not encounter them. Usually, when an animal attacks it is because they feel threatened or they were frightened by you. Wearing a bell, or something that jingles on your belt or bag make your presence known to wildlife to reduce the risk for attacks.
A Quick Equipment Breakdown
While each of these products alone may not be too costly but when you total them together you are looking at a pretty decent price tag. While it may seem like you can omit some of these, it is recommended to fully stock your equipment with one of these products (Amazon links).
|Hard Hat||Ridgeline Full Brim|
Full Brim Pyramex
|Sun Hat||Einskey Full Brim|
|Thick Gloves||Ironclad General Utility Gloves|
Moreok Work Gloves
|SunGlasses||Unisex Polarized Trendy|
Merrys Unisex Polarized
Fashion Polarized Sunglasses
|Sunscreen||Coppertone Sport 50 SPF|
Coppertone Sport 30 SPF
Banana Boat 100 SPF
|Safety Goggles||Amoolo Safety|
3m Safety glasses
|Sturdy Shoes||Tobocoy Shoes|
|Face Mask||Disposable Face masks|
Cooling Face Mask
Dust Mask with Filter
|Knee Pads||No Cry Knee Pads|
Thunderbolt Knee Pads
Bodyprox Knee Pads
|Head Lamp||LED Headlamp|
500 Lumens LED
TIP: Minerals’ streak is one of the most important tests for mineral identification. Check out how to test minerals’ streak in the article below:
DIY Guide: Testing Mineral’s Streak (Explained by Expert)
Emergency Kits for Rockhounding
The safety equipment listed above protects you from being injured. But what about when you or your rockhounding partner got injured? In these cases, the emergency kits listed below can help you a lot.
- In Of Emergency Kit (ICE)
It is always a good idea to have an extra pack that contains one of everything you already have. In dire emergencies, you won’t need to stress about running out of things, since this would be something you only open in the most extreme circumstances.
Most people pack up this kit, and never have to open it except to replace their water or food so it doesn’t spoil. Most people prefer to pack their own kit, but you can buy prepackages ones as well.
If you choose to pack your own kit, you can customize it depending on where you will be hunting for rocks. If you were going somewhere colder, you could include some blankets or fire starters, whereas if you were going somewhere hotter, you could bring extra water, a battery-operated fan, and a tent to shield yourself from the sun.
- Snakebite Kit
If you get bitten by a snake, the best thing to do is try and get the venom out, while also restricting blood flow back to your heart from the bitten area. This can save a limb, and in some cases, your life.
- First Aid Kit
Now, a first aid kit will have a few more items included to help with a larger variety of injuries. For a deeper cut that needs stitches, or even a large superficial cut that simply needs a larger bandage. This will also contain medicine for pain, swelling, and itchiness.
A Quick Emergency Kits Breakdown (Amazon links):
|Emergency Kit||Purchase options||Includes|
|In Case of |
Emergency Kit (Prepacked)
|● Everlit 72 Hour Kit|
● Life Gear Kit
● SDS emergency Kit
|● Food Rations|
● Extra Water
● Extra First AId Supplies
|First Aid Kit|
● AAA First Aid Kit
● First aid Only Kit
● Monoki First Aid
● Alcohol Wipes
● Suture Kit
● Cotton Swabs
● Medical Tape
● Ace Wraps
● Large Waterproof Bandages
● Tylenol or ibuprofen
|Snakebite Kit||● Coghlans Snakebit Kit|
● First Aid Snake Pump
● Snakebit and Sting Kit
|● Suction cups|
● Constriction Band
BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):
- Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals
- Gemstone & Crystal Properties (Quick Study Home)
- Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids)
What Else Do You Need?
After you’ve finished gathering your safety equipment, you will need equipment to help you dig, break, and find rocks. Without this equipment, the safety stuff won’t be necessary because you will not be able to search for anything.
- Strong, durable back-pack capable of carrying heavyweight
- Rock Pick
- Notebook and Pen (waterproof is recommended)
- Crack Hammer
- Small brush or broom
- Pocket Tools – Anything that can be used to help retrieve a specimen from a deep hole or pocket in a cave
- Bags or containers to carry and organize your rocks
As you get more comfortable with rockhounding, you will be able to figure out the best products and supplies for exactly what you need. Starting with the basics is always the best option so you can learn and grow without spending too much money upfront.
TIP: I wrote a complete guide on recommended rock hammers, picks, chisels & bars for rockhounding. In addition, don’t forget also to check out my articles about additional (but very useful) tools for rockhounding. You can read these articles here:
Recommended Rock Hammers, Picks, Chisels & Bars For Rockhounding
Best Shovels, Brushes, Sample Bags & More for Rockhounding
Recommended Dichroscopes, Hand Lens, and UV Lamps for Rockhounding
Wrapping up Rockhounding Safety
When you make safety the first priority in any situation, you lower the risk of needing any of your safety equipment. However, you may never know when someone else, or even yourself slips up and needs something. Having the right safety supplies can be the difference between life and death in some instances.
Research and common knowledge of the area can also be the difference between an enjoyable time and an emergent situation. Making sure you know the area or going with someone who does, can alleviate any unforeseeable issue that can pop up.
TIP: Read also about PRO tips for beginner and experienced rockhounds + tips for safety rockhounding:
PRO Tips for Beginner & Experienced Rockhounds + Safety Tips