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