Tools For Digging Bottles

Digging bottles is a fun and enjoyable hobby the whole family can enjoy together. Not only does it keep you active, but it can also teach us many things about history and old manufacturing techniques.

Another great benefit of digging for bottles as a hobby is that it’s a cheap hobby with only a limited amount of tools needed. Here are a few of the tools we use for bottle digging.

Pick Axe

TRUPER TP-5F 5 lb Pick-Mattock, Fiberglass Handle.

If the area you plan to dig has lots of tree roots or rock, the pick axe is a great tool and can save a lot of effort. It is ideal for breaking through those awkward roots and levering any large rocks that you need to move.

Spade / Digging Shovel

Bond LH015 Mini D Handle Shovel

The spade is an obvious one but can often be overlooked. Your spade is your best friend when it comes to digging for bottles, and if your spade’s poorly made, shaped, or even too heavy, it can ruin the experience.

Taking some time to find the best spade for you will allow you to enjoy those finds while making the task of digging even more enjoyable.


Fiskars 378501-1002 X7 Hatchet

Back to the root of the problem, the hatchet is a great tool and allows you to get rid of those tough roots on the ground. Using the pick axe to lever the roots to create tension, then chopping with the hatchet makes life much easier.

And if you have tried to chop through roots using just a spade, you’ll know how tough it can be on the hands.

Hand Trowel

Garden Shovel - Heavy Duty Gardening Hand Trowel, Carbon Steel Garden Trowel with Rubberized Handle

Don’t forget your hand trowel. It allows you to dig out the tight spaces making it less likely that you damage any nearby bottles.

We recommend buying a heavy-duty trowel that won’t bend or brake. We also recommend hand trowels with serrated edges as these will allow you to cut small roots and branches.

Soil Probe

Bully Tools 99203 Soil Probe Steel Tstyle Handle, 48_inch

If you’re new to bottle digging and collecting, a probe may be a tool you haven’t considered, but they are a must-have if you want to limit any damage caused to bottles during prospecting.

A probe allows you to prod the ground to see if there are any old bottles underneath. And as your probe will most likely be metal, it’ll produce a distinct noise that lets you know there’s glass underneath.

You can use anything thin a pointy as a probe. Even a long screwdriver will do the job. If you don’t have anything you can use as a probe, don’t worry, there are plenty of digging probes you can purchase online or at a local store.

Small Rake

AMES 2445200 Stainless Steel Hand Cultivator with Ergo Gel Grip, 11-Inch

A small hand rake makes it easy to move any debris covering your dig site and is less likely to damage any bottles compared to using a spade.

And when scraping the ground with a rake, you can feel and hear if you come into contact with glass, etc.

Foldable Saw

Corona Tools 10-Inch RazorTOOTH Folding Saw | Pruning Saw Designed for Single-Hand Use | Curved Blade Hand Saw | Cuts Branches Up to 6" in Diameter | RS...

The foldable hand saw is another tool that helps when tackling tree roots, and for how relatively cheap they are, they are a must for your bottle digging tool kit.

And if your hatchet is a bit on the heavy side and you have a lot of walking to get to your dig site, the hand saw is much lighter, which means you can leave your hatchet behind but still be able to cut away those roots.

Metal Detector

Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV Metal Detector, 8-inch Waterproof Coil

If you like hunting for dig sites as much as you like hunting for bottles the metal detector is a great item to have in your arsenal.

Old dump sites are full of iron, and a metal detector is your best bet for finding these areas. And finding information about old dump sites can be difficult and requires time and research, so a good metal detector can save you a lot of time when hunting for bottles.


Ironclad General Utility Work Gloves GUG, All-Purpose, Performance Fit, Durable, Machine Washable, (1 Pair), Large - GUG-04-L , Black

And don’t forget your gloves. Your hands will thank you for it.


WolfWarriorX Men Backpacks Large Capacity Military Tactical Hiking Expandable 39L-60L Backpack

You’ll want a good backpack to carry your tools to and from the dig sites.

Now that’s the tools covered, what else should you consider for bottle digging?

The Season And Weather

The weather and the season can make or break a digging trip, and if you don’t know the local area, you may find yourself having a difficult time.

Each area will have a specific climate, and in some areas, the Summer months can be so hot that it becomes unbearable to dig. While if you are digging up in the north, the ground can freeze over much quicker and make it impossible to dig.

Although it’s likely you will know the areas around you, the above may help when planning trips further afield.

Late fall and early spring are considered good times to dig as there are fewer mosquitos and snakes around. One thing to note is that late fall and early spring can bring out the deer and turkey hunters, so if you are going into the wood, wear some high visibility clothing and always be aware of your surroundings.

Wear Good Clothing

Whether it is summer on winter, you will want to be wearing some thick clothing as you’ll be surrounded by broken glass and pieces of rusty iron.

A breathable and waterproof pair of boots are a must as you’ll be digging in different conditions throughout the year. And if you want to be extra cautious, safety boots with armored souls wouldn’t be a bad idea, especially if your dig sites are full of old rusty nails and pieces of metal.

Food And Water

Don’t forget to pack a good pack lunch and plenty of water as you may be miles away from the nearest store.

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