What You’ll Need For Gold Panning
The first step in panning for gold is gathering together all of the necessary equipment. Unlike large-scale mining and prospecting operations, gold panning requires a very minimal amount of equipment, making it the perfect recreational hobby for those looking to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. As long as you're willing to invest your time and energy into sifting through deposits that may or may not contain valuable gold, then panning is a hobby that's right for you. Just pick up the necessary supplies listed below to get started on your fun and lucrative new hobby.
The Bare Minimum - a Gold Pan
At the very least, you'll need a pan to participate in the hobby of gold panning. Don't go opening up your kitchen cabinets and pulling out a regular cast iron pan, as these are simply too heavy and usually not deep enough to effective pan for gold with. Instead, look pans with deep sides that are made with plastic or some other lightweight material and are designed specifically for gold panning. Using these pans will make it ten times easier on you, and they don't cost a lot, do don't worry about the price.
Whether this is your first time panning for gold or if you've been doing it for decades, you'll need to bring along something to store your gold in; otherwise, you could be left trying to stash your finds in a pocket, which isn't recommended. Unless you expect to be hauling out some major-sized gold nuggets, some small glass vials will usually work best for storing gold in. After you identify the flakes or nuggets in your pan, you can pick them up and place them in a water-filled vial to see the rewards of your labor.
Other Gold Panning Equipment You Should Consider...
As stated above, the bare minimum equipment requirements for gold panning are a pan and something like a vial to store your find in. After getting your feet in the door and gaining some experience with the hobby, you may want to consider bringing along some other items to help increases your chances of success and simply making the process a bit easier for you. Of course these things aren't needed for beginners, or even seasoned gold panners for that matter, but anything that helps you find more gold is a welcomed addition in my book.
So, just what other tools should you bring on a gold panning excursion? A strainer is useful for sifting through large piles of placer deposits and weeding out the large rocks. Depending on how fine the strainer is, it should allow all the gold pieces to pass through still; therefore, making your job easier by eliminating some of the large rocks. With that said, you can still get by without a strainer, as large rocks and chunks of worthless minerals can be picked out by hand.
Lets face it, some of the smaller gold flakes can be almost impossible to see using just the naked eye. If the light doesn't hit it using just the right angle, you'll likely skip over it without thinking twice. Unfortunately, this is how a lot of gold goes undiscovered by prospectors and panners. To prevent this from happening, you can bring a magnifying glass to inspect the bottom layer of your pan. After you've sifted through your graver and mineral deposits, take a magnifying glass to give it a closer inspection.
Another tool that can prove to be useful in your gold panning endevours is a pair of tweezers. Even if your optomistic about the size of your gold finds, you're likely to still come across some rather small flakes. After getting some panning experience under your belt, you'll probably notice how easy it is for these gold flakes to fall off the tip of your finger never to be seen again. A pair of tweezers, however, will allow you to secure the flakes or nuggets; therefore, reducing the chance of you loosing them.