Rockhounding ABCs – “Rockhounds, How do you Carry All Your Stuff?”

“Rockhounds, How do you Carry All Your Stuff?”

This section deals with the bags, knapsacks, totes, backpacks and other equipment that make transportation of your gear, and then your loot, as convenient and efficient as possible.

  1.  A backpack remains the classic, historically best way to carry gear when walking through the woods, uphill or downhill. A basic fabric backpack should suffice for any rockhound. One does not need the multi-pocketed style of backpack used for hiking, but of course if that is the backpack you have, it will more than suffice.
  2. We would venture that you have plenty of tote bags, or totes in your closet or pantry. Seems that every corporate, school, civic, or special event offers a free tote. These are ideal for rockhounding. They can be folded up into very small area and stored in your backpack, and then unfurled and opened up to transport your gems, minerals, fossils, or crystals. Canvas or vinyl tote bags are all terrific and can enable you to transport a lot of material back to your transportation. These kinds of bags, canvas and/or vinyl can also be washed in the washing machine once free of rocks and rock debris.
  3.  A wagon is an investment to consider. Not the Radio Flyer Red Wagon style, but the folding wagon, also known as a collapsible utility wagon or outdoor utility wagon. They have a canvas interior and fold up for transportation. This can be a very valuable complement to your rockhound ensemble if you are transporting a lot of tools, or carrying tools and supplies for youngsters, or just want a convenient way to transport minerals, fossils, and stones back to your transportation. A wagon is something additional to carry to the site, so consider in advance if you will be rockhounding at the frequency, and intensity in which a wagon would be helpful.
    1. “Diamond Tip” – We learned the hard way while hunting for geodes in Southern Indiana that the type of outdoor utility wagon described here is better than the Radio Flyer Red Wagons. While on private property outside a farm, we had discovered some very large geodes, and all our tote bags and knap sacks were full. The property owner suggested a wagon that he had in his barn. So he runs back to the barn, and when he returns he is pulling his kids’ Red Flyer wagon. We filled it up with geodes and started to pull it up the hill, when the two back wheels buckled and went flat, and one of the front wheels fell off altogether. The property owner planned to buy a replacement wagon before they notice it’s missing, and we all decided to buy a collapsible utility wagon before trying that again.
  4. When transporting crystals, or brittle fossils, protect them with newspaper which can be easily folded and carried with your other gear. Newspaper is also good for wrapping safely any delicate or small crystals you discover during the adventure.