Gold prospecting does not have to be expensive!
Occasionally some new gold pan or other do-dad hits the market that claims to “revolutionize” the way that we find gold. Truth be told, the ways that we find gold nowadays isn’t much different than it was during the Gold Rush.
There are lots of guys out there consistently finding several ounces of gold each year. They aren’t using any of this new equipment. Rather, they use some simple & basic tools. They find a good productive area with gold and they get to work!
Here are a few items that I would recommend adding to your arsenal. The investment is relatively low to get started. Use these simple tools and start working the bedrock in rich gold country and you will start finding way more gold than you will with the fly-by-night gimmicks.
A Trusty Gold Pan | One Thing Every Miner Needs!
This is the best $10 you will ever spend. Every single prospector should own one… better yet, get a few different ones in different colors and sizes. They are pretty much indestructible.
Sieves & Classifiers | Remove Gravel and Speed Up the Panning Process
A good classifier is almost as important as the gold pan itself. It speeds up the panning process so much and really saves your back after a long day. It will sort out the worthless rocks and bigger material.
Classifiers also help you recover more gold. Having fine material that is of similar size really helps gold settle to the bottom of your pan. You will lose less gold and make your efforts more efficient. They come in different screen sizes. One basic 1/4″ classifier will work for most, but a variety of different sizes can be nice to have.
Crevicing Gear | Get Down to Where the Gold is!
If you’ve been going to your favorite panning spot with nothing more than a shovel, you’ve been missing a lot of gold. To be an effective placer miner, you need to put some effort into getting down in those bedrock cracks… that is where most of the gold is hiding.
I carry a whole variety of different tools with me to help with this job. Screwdrivers, chisels, pry bars, rock hammers, spoons, knives, wire, and just about anything else that you might think of. Anything that can be jammed down into a narrow crack and help me pull out gold-bearing material is coming to the creek with me.
Sluice Boxes | Time to Move Some Dirt!
There is one big limitation to the gold pan… you can’t process much material in a day. If you are doing some hardcore crevicing you might be ok with just a pan, but eventually you are going to want to do some “shovel work.” This is where a good sluice box is needed.
For lots of miners, the sluice box is their most expensive piece of gear. The are still a bargain in my eyes – for less than $100 you can get a good one that will last you a lifetime. You can experiment with different angles, water flow, matting, miners moss, etc. to get the right setup for your area.
Miscellaneous Small Gear | Make Things Easier On Yourself
A person can certainly get carried away when they are buying equipment, but I wanted to mention a few small items that I like to bring with me. You might not need them for every trip, but they are so small and inexpensive that I always bring them along. You can stuff them in a small fanny pack or pocket in your backpack and forget about them until you need them.