If you have read any of my posts about gold prospecting, you will know that I recommend that every prospector should have a gold panning kit. Regardless of the type of mining you prefer, there will always be a time when the trusty gold pan will be needed.
You could just buy a gold pan by itself, but you really need to invest in a few other simple tools and put together a more complete kit if you are serious about recovering gold. You can buy all of this stuff separately, but you can also just get one of these kits below and you will basically be good to go!
The Garrett Gold Pan Kit
There have probably been more of these gold pan kits sold than any other on the market, and for good reason. Garrett has been manufacturing metal detectors and prospecting equipment for decades, and they have a great reputation for quality. This kit is no exception.
Contained in the kit are two gold pans; a 10” backpacker and 14” prospector pan. As the name suggests, the 10” is a good size if you are going to hike into a remote area and want a smaller pan that is easier to stuff in a backpack. It is also a great size for kids. For day-to-day use, the 14” is a great universal size that works well for most prospectors.
Both of the Garrett gold pans have nice deep ridges that help to trap gold and hold it in place. These pans are much better than most others on the market.
This kit also comes with a classifier, which is used to separate out bigger rocks and gravel so that you only need to pan the smaller gravels that actually contain gold. Simply shovel the gravels from the stream directly into the classifier and shake it over the top of the gold pan, or if you plan on doing larger quantities of material you can fill a 5-gallon bucket for later use.
Some prospectors might consider a classifier to be unnecessary, but in my experience they are worth the extra time and effort. They make the final panning process much easier, and you will recover much more fine gold if you use it.
The Garrett Gold Pan Kit also comes with a pair of tweezers, a snuffer bottle, and two small vials to put your gold in. These are simple tools that you absolutely need, since you will undoubtedly be recovering small pieces of gold that are too small to pick up with your fingers.
Garrett Deluxe Gold Pan Kit
If you are serious about putting together a nice panning kit, then the deluxe version of the Garrett Gold Pan Kit is a great deal, and only costs about $10 more.
In addition to everything that is included with the original kit, this also comes with a the 15” Garrett SuperSluice Pan. Not only does this pan have a slightly larger diameter, but it is also quite a bit deeper than the others, so it will hold a lot of material. And at the end of the day, the more material you are able to pan, the more gold you are likely to recover.
The Garrett Deluxe Gold Pan Kit also comes with two great books about gold panning. Find an Ounce of Gold a Day, and Gold Panning is Easy, both authored by Roy Legal. An instructional video is also included with this kit, which will be particularly helpful for beginners.
Fisher Hardrock Gold Prospecting Kit
This is probably my favorite of all the kits in this article because it includes several other tools that I think any serious prospector should have in their arsenal. It may be more than you need if you are just looking to take the kids out for a day of fun on the river, but if you are serious about finding gold then this is an excellent kit.
As with the other kits, this one contains two gold pans, a classifier, tweezers, snuffer bottle, magnifying glass, and vials to put your gold in.
The extras you get with the Fisher Hardrock Gold Prospecting Kit include a rock pick, treasure scoop, black sand magnet, and crevicing tool. Plus it comes with a simple drawstring backpack to store everything.
These extras will make a big difference in how much gold you recover. For example, by using a rock pick and crevicing tool, you can really dig down into the bedrock cracks along a creek and get down into the places where gold hides. The material that you dig out of those deep cracks will have 10x the amount of gold than the material that is right on the surface. Only by using specialized tools like these will you be able to recover the most gold possible.
Gold Rush Nugget Bucket
This is a gold classifier system that has really gotten a lot of interest in the past few years. It really got noticed when the inventor was featured on the TV show ‘Shark Tank.’
This unique prospecting kit uses a patented ‘fluid bed concentrator’ to capture small gold particles. Just like any other type of gold pan, it uses gravity by letting the heavier gold to settle and concentrate in the bucket.
There are many videos on YouTube that show the Gold Rush Nugget Bucket in action. Although it is heavily marketed toward kids and a ‘family fun’ activity, this is without a doubt a true prospecting tool that is being used by seasoned prospectors as well as beginners.
The kit comes with all of the internal parts that make it work, along with a small gold pan, hand scoop, and clean-up kit which contains tweezers, vial, black sand magnet, and a snuffer bottle for final gold recovery. And everything stores compactly in the bucket, making it a nice complete 7-pound unit that you can carry to the river or strap onto a backpack frame and pack into a remote high country stream.
Choosing the Right Gold Panning Kit
Deciding which gold panning kit is best for your needs primarily comes down to how much gold prospecting you do, and how much money you want to spend.
For a good, basic kit that will get you started finding gold the basic Garrett Gold Pan Kit is hard to beat with a price of roughly $35. It has everything you need to get started.
If you are serious about prospecting and want to invest a bit more, the Fisher Hardrock Gold Prospecting Kit is the ideal choice. The additional gear that you get with this kit makes it a nice, complete kit that will give you a serious advantage. In particular, the crevicing tool and rock pick will help you dig down into the bedrock and get to those hidden spots where gold likes to hide.
Of course, you can always put together a nice prospecting kit yourself. If you already have a gold pan then you might be better off just buying a few tools individually and assembling your own kit.
Read my article ‘5 Simple Tools that Make Gold Panning much Easier’ for more tips about equipment and recovery methods that will help you find more gold.
And our Gold Panning & Sluicing Page