Most of the goldfields throughout the Western U.S., Australia, and much of the world are very remote; far away from paved roads, gas stations, and the typical comforts of home that we are all used to. It is extremely important that you have enough supplies in your vehicle to handle any situation that may arise. Out here, you can’t always depend on others to help you out of a bind, so make sure that you have everything you need, even if the worst should happen.
You should carry food and water at all times with you when you are out in the field, but you should especially carry food and water in your vehicle. It doesn’t take up much space, but it will be your lifeline if your vehicle gets stuck or breaks down when you are miles from civilization. Take this seriously! People die every year because they venture into the hills ill-prepared and there is really no excuse for it. Carry enough food and water to last for several weeks. This may seem excessive, but if you get stranded out there you will be glad to have it.
For water, I like to have many of the 1-gallon containers that come from the store, of several cases of bottled water. This is water that I only use for emergencies, not for general use at camp.
For food, I keep a case of Meals Ready-to-Eat (MRE’s). These are vacuum sealed and will last for years, so they are easy to store and have just in case. Again, these are not eaten on a standard trip, I want them there for when I need them.
You should always keep a basic tool kit in your vehicle. All the basic stuff that will come in handy if you have any mechanical issues while you are out prospecting is a must-have.
You should always carry a spare tire with you. I have met many prospectors who carry two or three spare tires with them. Prospecting can often take you onto some pretty nasty roads, so you can’t be too careful.
Satellite Phone/Spot Unit
Satellite Phones are really nice to have. They are just like a cell phone, except they use satellites rather than cell towers, so they will work basically all of the time, anywhere in the world. The downside is that they are extremely expensive.
A new option that has become available in recent years is the SPOT unit. These also work off of satellites, so they will basically anywhere, anytime you need it. You can send basic messages out to people at home or emergency messages if you are in trouble. These are very handy, and much more reasonably priced than satellite phones.
Tell Others Where You Are Going
If all this discussion about breaking down and getting lost doesn’t sound too fun, then you should do everything you can to avoid it. Obviously, not all gold bearing areas are completely off of the beaten path, and you don’t necessarily have to go the ends of the earth to find gold. Still, if you are serious about gold prospecting, sooner or later you will probably end up in some pretty remote country.
What is the absolute best way to ensure that you don’t get stranded and lost for days or weeks out in gold country? Tell someone exactly where you are going to be, and exactly when you expect to return. This way if you don’t return people will know how to find you.
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