The Detecting Man With a Hat

5th June 2016 — 24 Comments

Minelab baseball CapI was browsing on a market stall the other day looking at old photographs. I realised that it wasn’t so long ago that wearing of a hat was part of man’s daily attire. Not so today. Yes, the man with the hat is a bit of a rarity these days … except amongst metal detectorists.

Gary Brun

Hats can speak volumes about the personality of the wearer. They have become individual trademarks. Just think of Winston Churchill. Crocodile Dundee, Tommy Cooper … or Gary Brun, the original ‘Detectorist With the Hat.’

Hoard Hunters Gary Brun, Gordon Heritag ©Chris Lobina 26/09/2012

Gary Brun – Picture Courtesy Chris Lobina

Gary will forever be remembered as the originator and administrator of the UK Minelab Owners detecting forum and instrumental in the formation of the United Kingdom Detector Finds Database (UKDFD), as well as one of the stars in the TV series Hoard Hunters. He is rarely seen without his Western style high-crowned, wide–brimmed hat. Does he wear this one I wonder, because they are somewhat more ‘macho’ and less formal than other styles? Or is it simply to cover up a bald patch?

No. I guess the hat, apart from its aesthetic qualities, was very practical, keeping his head warm in winter and cool in the summer, unruffled in the wind, dry in the rain. Gary stayed at Winter Mansions on one occasion and actually took off his hat and hung it on a detector, before retiring for the night. What panache!

GarrettBut, what do we usually see today on the head of the detectorist? The favourite gear seems to be either nothing or an adjustable, impersonal, plastic and nylon freebie baseball cap made in Taiwan, and advertising a detector manufacturer like Minelab or Garrett. Not quite the same.

Unless you are an employee of the organisation, you should not, without compensation, wear caps emblazoned with a company logo. However, plain ones are just the thing, but beware of wearing them at a cocked angle, inside out or back to front. Witty slogans such as ‘Old Fart’ should be avoided at all costs.


From Gary:

HI John.
I am honoured you wrote about me in one of your articles. There are not many who have seen me without the hat. Someone asked do I wear it in bed! This picture should answer that!



Stephen Auker


Stephen showing his versatility – pleased he changed the hat; see the video below. The one above one didn’t suit him!

There are detectorists wearing hats that are striving to become individual trademarks. Stephen is one, calling himself The Man With The Hat, who makes ‘scintillating’ videos and posts them on YouTube. What he hasn’t realised, is that he should wear the headgear only when the occasion demands.

A recent production (zzzzz) showing Stephen taking a selection of his detected finds to the local Liaison Officer and showing great disrespect to the lady by wearing his titfer throughout the meeting. One shouldn’t wear a hat indoors on any occasion! Unless, of course, you are Gary Brun!

The pork pie type hat, originally popularised by Buster Keaton, is still worn by jokers and was recently seen on the head of Walter White in Breaking Bad. In retrospect, Stephens’s choice of a name is perhaps for the best. Stephen (The Knight) Auker, although attempting to show his chivalrous side, just wouldn’t have worked.

Alan Warner

AlanAlan, also known as QM on the BMD forum, where he is an administrator, is one of the all-round good guys in the hobby. His other pastime is that of playing bowls, where he excels.

You will notice that he is wearing a white hat and I guess he uses it for both bowls and detecting. I have seen his bonse al fresco on only one occasion. Let’s just say that he has little use for Brylcreem, and leave it at that!

I suspect that our hero has a few white hats. One would think that metal detecting would affect his sartorial elegance but no, Alan’s cap is always pristine; unsullied by dirty fingerprints!


Picture by JW

One of Alan’s gifts appreciated by other forum members is his infinite patience and expertise when identifying hammered coins. His deciphering of the inscriptions and identifying the mint and moneyer is legendary. 

He is also game for a laugh and recently donned the minimum of clothing in aid of the a fellow detectorist’s charity. The hat remained stuck to his head. Don’t click on the link below if you are easily offended. I was banned from an American detecting forum for this ‘disgusting pornography’. I paid my usual penance, went down to the bottom of the garden and ate a few worms. Yuk!



Interesting Facts about Hats


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24 responses to The Detecting Man With a Hat

  1. I am tired of guys, especially older guys wearing baseball caps backwards. Apparently they missed the “cool” era somewhere along the line and are trying to catch up. George Carlin’s take on the topic (available on YouTube) is hilarious.

    Just another old grumpy man

  2. Weather protection and character forming?

  3. I will wear only two things John… my Tilley hat.. or nothing.. generally nothing though..

    Another fun read… but I like to think that I am not a GOF.. LOL

  4. Last summer while in Toronto visiting, i went to the Tilley factory and bought my hat. I am rarely without it in rhe fields.

  5. Wow John I feel very special with what you wrote about me …. yes my friend they are bowls hats and I always have at least 4 and one is killed off each year by forum member Dusty at our annual metal detecting meet up of staff and friends … they have been stabbed /drowned /burnt hacked to pieces by the man …im still trying to work out if he does this for pleasure / jealousy or some sort of sexual appetite that he has to release once a year from his system lol

  6. My headphones form part of my bush hat. I put a slit either side of the crown, pushed the headphones through and then hot glued the slits. It gets hot in the goldfields.

  7. I appreciate ALL your comments. Ta.

  8. Metal Detecting and the Art of Sartorial Elegance… I was suddenly having thoughts there of a field of detectorists all dressed like Steed swinging their detectors with effortless economy of motion… Not that the TTU would be any more impressed I don’t suppose… l like your blog John; it’s much better than LSD… Thanks again!

  9. I think Alan must have taken his bowls with him and kept them in his mankini!!!

    Another great blog John I take my cap off to you 🙂


  10. HI John.
    I am honoured you could wrtie about me in one of your articles.
    There are not many who have seen me without the hat,
    Someone asked do I wear it in bed!
    This picture will answer that!

  11. One of my friend Alans hats is to be found feeding fish somewhere of Sarfend sea front Poor fish

  12. I posted a reply to John Howland’s question to me. I don’t see it as being posted or in waiting for moderation. Did you receive it ?

    • I have just checked and it went into my spam folder. Turns out to be the most appropriate place for it. This is my blog and you are not going to hi-jack or use it as a battleground for matters that took place on a blog from which you were banned. I will allow you to stay here, but under my terms. If you have something relevant and interesting to say to my readers, then your comment will be allowed. My patience is running thin …


      I have received other posts from this agitator, but I won’t be allowing him to spout his venom here.

  13. For the summer season I was supporting an ex army “desert” number with detachable neck shade and chin strap, however I’ve changed from WS4 backphones to a “full can” solution and the hat is redundant as it no longer fits. My bonce is suffering from full exposure to the rays. Suggestions on a solution welcome, however the device must not encroach the ear cup area as this will allow sound leakage.

    Winter wear is a fetching waterproof/windproof “snood” cosy and fashionable-and the full cans might fit.

    For TV appearances, it has to be the Akruba felt classic (customised with rabbits tail), assuming its not blowing a gale.

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