It doesn't take a lot of equipment or expensive tools to start panning for gold. Everything you need could fit into a backpack, which makes it easy to get to remote locations for panning. One of the most essential tools that you need is a gold pan, also called a riffle pan. You can buy these in kits that include other small tools you need to collect and store the gold you find. Here is some more information about the supplies you need for gold panning and how you use a riffle pan.
Gold Panning Supplies to Take with You
If you plan to pan for gold in state or national parks, then find out in advance what kind of equipment you can bring in. You may be limited to just a gold pan and things like tweezers and vials. You can't go wrong by starting with a basic gold pan since you can use one of these anywhere. Choosing a riffle pan made of plastic is a good idea since it is lightweight and travels easily on your back or in a bag. Also, if the pan is light, then you may not tire as easily as you go through the panning motions.
Some gold panning kits come with two sizes of gold pans as well as a sieve. A sieve can be useful, although it isn't necessary. The sieve has large holes in it, and it fits in the riffle pan. You fill the pan with dirt and rocks from a stream and then lift out the sieve, and it pulls up large rocks and gravel with it. This speeds up the process of panning, but you can also just pick out the big rocks by hand if you don't want to pack a sieve.
Other important supplies you need include vials or jars to hold gold if you find it. The gold pieces you're likely to find will be very small, so you want a container with a lid to hold them securely. You may also want tweezers to pick the gold out of the soil. Some tweezers have a magnifying glass attached, which makes it easier to tell gold from light-colored sand.
Technique for Using the Riffle Pan
Learning to use a riffle pan takes patience and practice. This form of panning for gold works on the principle that gold is heavier than water and sand, so the gold sinks to the bottom of the pan while the sand and other light debris float to the top. To use the pan, you scoop soil and rocks into it with your hands or a small shovel. Then, you submerge the pan slightly so lightweight soil and sand rise to the top and float away. You'll have to pick out big rocks and break up big chunks of soil, or they'll fall to the bottom and hide the gold.
Eventually, all that's left in the pan are small heavy particles on the bottom that might include gold. This is where a magnifying glass comes in handy so you can examine the debris on the bottom carefully. If you find gold, grasp it with tweezers and place it in a vial.
Recreational gold panning is an interesting hobby that combines outdoor activity with relaxing in nature's beauty. If you're lucky and find a gold hot spot, you may even find gold panning to be a profitable hobby. Best of all, a plastic riffle pan is inexpensive, so it's a hobby you can start even if you don't have much money to spend on supplies.
Check out other recreational gold panning equipment you may need today.