Already have Gold Fever? Well, if you don’t, you will get bitten on that first time out! When you do your first clean up and swish your pan, and there is a glimmer of gold, you will be hooked! There is nothing like that first gold discovery; it could be only visible with a magnifying glass, but it will make you feel like you have struck it rich. Gold adventures are always a thrill, but can be thwarted when you do not know what to bring, or forget that all important piece of equipment. Follow along below to ensure you have all the stuff you need for a successful gold prospecting excursion!
1. Plastic Gold Pan
The most basic, important, piece of equipment you will need. The gold pan will eventually be where the gold is, so without this, you are going to have troubled getting rich. There are a number of variations on the gold pan, but the science is all the same. Click Here to get a look at what is available. There are some gold pans that come as a kit that includes vials, gold snuffers, and tweezers.
2. Bucket and shovel
These might seem like simple, but when you get out there and have to dig with your hands, you will understand their importance. Pretty much any bucket will do, but remember gravel is heavy so make sure it can stand up to the weight. I would recommend a metal bucket. Regarding the shovel, you might want to consider a small gardening-style hand shovel for the small spaces, and a larger shovel for the big stuff. You can get a compact, folding shovel to save on space.
3. Hammer and chisel or pick axe
Again, without these tools your exciting gold prospecting trip turn miserable very fast. If you are digging and clawing at the rocks and dirt your fingernails, you probably will pack up early. With a pick axe or chisel, the task of break new ground will be a million times easier! Other than choosing something sturdy and compact, what you use to break up the ground and through the rocks is up to your own taste.
4. Gold Recovery Tools
When you finally get to that moment of striking it rich, you are going to need a way to get the gold out of the pan. There are a number of things you can use, but the most common are tweezers, toothpicks, gold snuffer bottles, a magnifying glass, and vials. All of these will be used in conjunction with each other at some point along the way. Maybe you will be lucky and end up with gold that is large enough to pick up with your fingers! However, most of us will be excited enough with the flour gold we find, and getting into the vial will need the tools listed above. That vial I mentioned? Get plastic, not glass – one case of clumsy fingers will have you re-extracting the gold from the ground!
5. Gold and Metal Detector
While a Gold and Metal Detector is not necessary, it might come in handy. There are many brands of detectors out there, but my preference is to go with Garrett Metal Detectors. You can look here for what they have to offer. One tool that has been popular as of late is the hand-held “pin-pointer” detectors, they are great for small spaces and extremely accurate. A number of models are available here. Something people forget, you are not close to any plugins out in the woods, and metal detectors require batteries, so bring extra batteries.
6. Hand-Held GPS Units
While this is not essential, it is highly recommended. The last thing you want to do is get out in the woods and get lost. There are hungry animals all around you, just waiting for you to expire! Your cell phone might have GPS capabilities and you can use that too.
7. Clothing For The Outdoors
I have to tell you, gold panning is not easy work, you will find sooner or later (usually sooner) that your back and neck are sore, your butt is numb, and the “romance” of prospecting soon fades away. Bring comfortable clothing that you can move in, bend in, and do contortions in! Tight jeans just aren’t going to do it out in the woods. The sun is going to beat down on your head, so head gear is important too. On your feet? A good hiking boot or high top that give support is recommended. Just remember, you are dealing with water, and that means wet feet.
8. Bug & Mosquito Spray
This really goes without saying. In less than 10 seconds out there in the woods, every insect in a 100 mile radius is going to find YOU. It makes sense to cover up exposed skin with clothing and repellents. You are going to ne focused on getting the gold and the last thing you want to be doing is swatting at the pesky bugs!
9. The Most Important Tool
All of these things are essential to a great prospecting trip. However, most will be of no use unless you take time to research where you are going. Reading up on the places you want to prospect will keep you from wasting your time. If there was not gold history, there most likely will be no gold. The prospectors of days of old have already been there and done that. You should thank them for not wasting your time. Get hold of information on the areas you are interested it, learn of the history, and what has been found. Be careful not to cross private property or prospect on land that is claimed. A good place to start is the GPAA, Gold Prospector’s Associate of America. These are the people in the know, and can help out. Don’t ask about where to get the good gold, that’s their secret. So before heading out willy-nilly, spend some time researching where you are going to go. At the end of the day, if you have nothing to show for your efforts, remember that you just spent time in the tranquility of the outdoors, the last place on earth you’ll find the 9 to 5!