Fortunately, the basic tools you'll need are not particularly expensive or complicated. Here's a list of a few to get you started!
- Rock Pick - The rock pick is the most basic rockhounding tool. You'll want it for breaking open rocks to reveal their interiors, for removing specimens from stubborn chunks of matrix, and for digging or prying rocks from the ground.
- Safety Goggles - If you're using the rock hammer, you need safety goggles as well. It's easy to cause chips to fly when you're working with rocks, and if you don't use appropriate eye protection, you risk serious eye damage. Wear your goggles!
- Rock Chisel - Chisels can be used along with your hammer, to assist in removing specimens from the matrix stone, and to give you better precision and control than the hammer alone will provide.
- Magnifying Loupe - This tool will allow you to take a close look at your rock, and see structures or features you might not be able to see with your bare eyes. Very handy for identifying your finds!
- Sturdy backpack - You'll probably be hauling a lot of heavy objects around, so make sure your backpack is sturdy enough to contain them. I once had a pack rip right open on a field trip, and dump all my finds on the ground - it wasn't fun!
- Good shoes and appropriate clothing These speak for themselves, but sometimes people forget. Shoes are particularly important, due to sharp rocks, snakes, thorns, and sundry other rockhounding hazards.
- Ear plugs - using chisels and rock hammers can become very noisy
- Hard Hat - You only really need a hard hat if you're going to be collecting rocks near steep slopes, in a pit, or in a mine - basically, anywhere you could stand and bump your head, or where a dislodged object could fall upon you from above. Head injuries are not something you want to risk, however unlikely you think they may be. Be safe.
Happy hunting, and stay safe out there.