What You Need To Know About Panning For Gold During The Winter

Gold panning is a fun and rewarding hobby that can be quite lucrative when done right. As the price of gold continues to rise, more and more people are looking to invest in this recession-proof currency. This can result in a nice payday for successful gold panners and prospectors, especially when you commit to the hobby year-round. Once winter comes, though, the temperatures will drop and the conditions for gold panning become a bit more difficult. This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to close up shop until spring, but you do need to follow some basic rules to ensure your safety and continued success.

Winter Equipment

Winter Equipment

Contrary to what some people may believe, you can really go panning for gold anytime of the year. As long as you don't plan on going far up into the northern regions of Canada where civilization is scarce, you shouldn't have a problem. Of course the winter season is sure to bring some colder temperatures along with the possibility of snow, but these are elements that can dealt with. If you're interested in panning for gold during the winter, keep reading and we'll reveal everything you need to know.

Getting Your Winter Gear Together

Preparing your gear is arguably the most important step in panning for gold during the winter. If you fail to stock upon  everything you need, you could find yourself going home early without any gold. On the other hand, bringing along the right equipment and gear will allow you to prepare for the worst but hope for the best. So, just what type of gear should you bring along on a winter gold panning trip? Here's a list we've compiled to help our fellow gold prospectors out:

  • Since gold panning typically involved getting your feet wet (literally), you should wear a pair of tall waterproof boots. Standing in freezing cold water for long periods of time isn't only uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous. Even if you keep your upper body dry, the freezing cold water on your feet and shins can lead to hypothermia, which is something no one wants to go experience. Thankfully, a pair of high-quality waterproof boots will help to keep your feet dry and prevent hypothermia from occurring.
  • It's always a good idea to bring an extra pair of socks just in case your feet get wet. Let's hope your waterproof boots are able to withstand everything the streams and rivers have to offer, but an extra pair of socks could be a real lifesaver in the event that your feet get wet.
  • You can never wear too many clothes when you go panning for gold during the winter. If the sun starts to peek through and the temperatures start warming up, you can always take layers of clothes off. With that said, you'll probably find those extra layers are a useful for staying warm and comfortable on your excursion. Most gold panning locations are nestled in or around forests, so chances are you won't have a lot of sunlight to warm you up.
  • No matter how close your gold panning location is from civilization, it's always advised that you bring some food and drinks along with you. Panning for gold isn't a spectator sport where you can sit back and let others do the work for you. If you want to find gold, you're going to have to work for it, and this run you out of energy quick. Having a couple drinks and some snacks on hand will offer an instant pick-me-up to give you the energy you need to continue.
  • Personally, I always bring a survival kit that contains a box of waterproof matches, knife, compass and first-aid kit in the event of an emergency. If you wander off the beaten path in an area you aren't familiar with, a survival kit such as this may just save your life.
  • A pack or two of hand warmers are also useful when you're out panning for gold in the cold winter weather. When you're sticking your hands underneath the water every couple minutes to shuffle your paydirt around, your hands are probably going to grow numb before long. Cracking open a hand warmer and rubbing it in the palm of your hands is the perfect way to get he blood flowing back to them again.
Snowy Creek

Snowy Creek

Check The Weather

Before venturing out on on your winter gold panning trip, get online or turn the TV on to see what the weather is going to be like. I know this sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised at just how many people abruptly decide to go panning for gold without first checking the forecast. This especially important during the winter, as ice and snow storms can turn your otherwise fun gold panning trip into a nightmare. If there's a weather front coming in that has the meteorologists concerned, then you'll probably want to postpone your gold panning trip to a later date.

Of course you have to take the meteorologist's forecast with a grain of salt. The fact of the matter is that bad weather can roll in anywhere, anytime, especially in some of the remote locations where gold panning is done. Stay prepared and always prepare for the worst type of weather. When dark clouds start fogging up the sky, don't press your luck but instead go home and come back at a later time.