Hand Tools

I'm open to suggestions here. I haven't really sourced gold prospecting hand tools online too much, but I'll include some links below nonetheless.

As far as prospecting tools go, some of what you need depends on how you're prospecting, but one thing to always keep in mind is that you'll have to carry all of your equipment to and from your diggings, so you may want to reconsider that 5' steel pry bar. I have. Mine now stays at home most trips...

The essential tool, whether you're metal detecting, panning, sluicing, running a highbanker, etc is something to dig with. Be it a garden trowel, a #2 shovel, a small pick or a sharp stick, you'll generally need something more than just your finger nails to dig with. There are a lot of options with all of these (especially the stick), but some things to consider are size, weight, material and effectiveness for the job at hand.

Take garden trowels as an example. Obviously you want one that fits in your pack and isn't made out of material from a white dwarf star, but seriously, a metal trowel is obviously bad when metal detecting as you can't use it to pass material over your coil, while a plastic trowel may break while digging hardpack river gravels and any trowel that doesn't offer a good scoop will lose material (and potentially gold) as you dig from the bottom of a flowing stream. There are some tough plastic scoops on the market designed for metal detecting and some seriously scooped trowels available that might be just right for digging a stream bottom, as well as large sturdy steel trowels and small folding shovels that do well for hardpack and feeding your equipment, but long story short, pick a tool that'll work well for you and the type of moning you're up to.

Many of the tools you may want are readily available at the hardware store or garden center (or in your garage). Here are a few online that look like they'd also do a pretty good job. BTW, they're links to where you can buy 'em online.

Vaughan Bear Claw Nail Puller Pry Bar — 11 3/4in. LengthThis looks like a perfect little crevice tool/digger for getting into tight cracks or busting up hardpack, and at 11 3/4" should be easy to pack. You can buy tools specifically designed for crevicing, but most aren't much more than a little cat's paw like this one. Heck, a bent screwdriver will work.

I use a little pry bar and large steel trowel a lot when I'm out. The pry bar is good for breaking up material, scraping out cracks and loosening up stones that are wedged in tight and the trowel is good for scooping everything into my classifier, feeding my sluice or highbanker, etc.

I have a little folding shovel I got among my holiday booty last year and it's pretty handy for when I want a bit more than my large trowel, but less than a full sized shovel. Any time I'm going to hike in a bit, smaller is often better.

Look around, but honestly, start in your garage. Chances are, you've already got all the prospecting hand tools you need. Just keep in mind what type of prospecting you expect to do and take what you need. No sense carrying a dredge to a dry stream bed or a full sized shovel to scrape out cracks in bedrock. Pack out your trash, fill in your holes and good luck!


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