I must admit that I’m not the most social person in the world. I am not one to walk up and start a dialogue, especially with strangers. But, usually it is not a lengthy conversation. When I am walking around the’big city,’ I’m going somewhere to do something, and’sitting around on a park bench chatting with the locals’ is not my thing. Nor do I stand out in a crowd… other than my altitude. I do not dress to be seen. I don’t behave to get noticed. I don’t intentionally draw attention to myself. It’s not that I have anything against being observable. Call it leftovers from living a life of being in the shadows.
A lot of this comes out in me when I am working’in the field.’ I am out there for a purpose… generally, treasure hunting, metal detecting, or prospecting for gold. When I’m concentrating on my activities, I don’t wish to be approached, especially if I’m wearing headphones (listening to the nearly imperceptible changes in tone of my metal detector) or working around or under water for gold. I am not paranoid, but in my experience, not everyone is friendly and with good intentions. I’m leery of people I do not know who approach me in the middle of nowhere, particularly if I am looking for or digging up valuables and some stranger walks up needing to know what I’m doing. It’s not that I’m trying to hide either. If I were, I’d enter complete”stealth mode” (A whole other subject). So, when I’m”out and about,” I dress for success… my kind of success.
I cannot tell you how often I go out in the woods only to find streams of people walking the paths dressed like they were trying to be seen from space. Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong in wearing neon colours, if that’s your thing. If communicating [some kind of] a fashion statement a part of your enjoyment in getting out to the wilderness, by all means do it. As a treasure hunter, doing so has some inherent dangers… particularly if you’re successful or perceived to be prosperous in your hunt.
When I look for clothes and gear for my treasure hunting (in all its forms) actions, I have a couple of basic criteria. First, it must be functional for what’s needed. I decide to blend in. Camouflage is great. I have a good deal of camouflage”stuff.” But, camo is not mandatory. Dark blue… OK. Dark orange (like a fall”burnt orange”) – OK. If I’m going to wear it, take it, or use it, I want it to NOT draw attention… to me or it.
Among the easiest things to spot is a bright non-natural color against a naturally coloured backdrop. Fortunately, there is a large selection of excellent quality clothes and equipment that manufacturers make in earth-tones… many of which also come in vivid colors (if you choose to do so). Fleece for warmth, Gortex for rain evidence, Instructions Ive Written For Other Wildlife Ops, 400 Denier nylon for durability. All of them come in”subdued” colors. There are other technologies for contemporary fabrics besides these three, many of which are great. But, whatever it is, I select’subdued.”
Now for one piece of contrary advice. Always… and I mean always… carry something which is blaze orange, signal red, or “very bright.” Why? If you get hurt. If you get lost. If you are marking a location for aircraft or rescue parties, you need to have something that they can easily place. Keep it handy in the bottom of your rucksack, or carry a cut down version on your cargo pocket or a pouch in your canteen belt/knapsack. But, carry one.
The primary intent of getting out’from the woods” while treasure hunting is to have a great time. If part of that’good time’ is bringing people so you can interact and do some public education while working, by all means”Dress for Success.” If, however, you’d rather not have audiences around watching you discover, dig, sluice, and find jewelry, coins, and gold, then I urge my type of”Dressing for Success.” So, here’s to seeing you (or not) outside on your next treasure hunting adventure!