Gold panning isn’t as simple as buying a shovel and heading out into the woods. As we’ve discussed, it requires identifying rocks and determining their value.
Even if you do everything right, there’s no guarantee you’ll come home with gold. Still, most people consider gold panning fun enough to be worthwhile. After all, what will you do when you’re not panning for gold?
Gold panning can be fun and rewarding, but it is important to consider whether it is worth it before you start. Here are a few factors to consider:
- Time and effort: Gold panning requires a significant amount of time and effort, as you will need to search for gold-bearing areas, collect and process materials, and pan for gold. Gold panning may not be worth it if you are unprepared to commit to these activities.
- Cost: Gold panning can also be a costly hobby, as you must purchase equipment such as a gold pan, sluice box, and other tools. You may also need to pay to access gold-bearing areas or processing materials.
- Location: The availability of gold-bearing areas will also determine whether gold panning is worth it. In some areas, there may be little or no gold found, while in others, there may be ample gold-bearing deposits.
- Expectations: It’s important to have realistic expectations regarding gold panning. While it is possible to find gold, it is not always easy, and it may take a lot of time and effort to find significant amounts of gold.
Whether gold panning is worth depends on your interests, goals, and circumstances. Gold panning can be a fun and rewarding hobby if you enjoy the outdoors and are willing to invest time and effort. However, if you want a quick or easy way to make money, gold panning may not be the best choice.
Is Gold Panning Worth It?
Gold panning could be it if you’re interested in starting a hobby. You’ll find gold in many places, including streams, rivers, lakes, hillsides, and underground. So, while other hobbies may require specific equipment, gold panning doesn’t necessarily need anything special.
You can start on a pretty low budget. You only need a bucket, some pans, a rocker (to shake the dirt from the pans), water, a flashlight, and maybe a shovel. If you don’t have one already, you should also consider investing in a metal detector or gold panner to focus on only finding gold without worrying about identifying it first.
Once you’ve got all those items together, things get tricky. The real test of your skill is determining whether a particular rock is worth mining. The answer to this question depends largely on your own experience and knowledge. However, there are some general guidelines that you can follow to help you decide.
One thing to remember with gold panning is that the more expensive the gold, the less likely it is to be found. This is especially true for small nuggets under 4 millimeters in size. While there is a chance that you’ll pull out a few large pieces, the odds of doing so aren’t very high. What about larger nuggets — those over 4mm in size? Well, they’re somewhat more common but still rare.
Of course, trying it is the best way to tell if a rock contains gold. If you’re confident that the rock is gold-bearing, you can dig it out of the ground, melt it down and see if you can spot any gold particles. If the rock is too big to go through the hole, you can break it into smaller pieces and then try using a finer screen again.
Another trick you can use is putting the rock in a pan of water. If the rock has gold, it will sink to the bottom with any gold particles. Looking closely, you’ll probably notice that the rock looks like gravel. That means the rock is made mostly of silica, an oxide.
When exposed to oxygen, gold reacts with oxygen to form the metallic element called gold. Hence, the gold particles are usually trapped inside the rock material.
You Can Earn Decent Money From Gold Panning
While gold panning is certainly fun, you’ll unlikely earn much money unless you’re extremely good at finding gold. You might not earn much more than a few hundred dollars monthly.
You can expect to spend a lot of time on the activity. Most people who enjoy gold panning do so because they love being outside and want to learn something new. After all, there are plenty of other outdoor activities that you could do instead of spending time looking for gold.
But even if you don’t make any money off of gold panning, you’ll still be able to justify the cost by enjoying the process. It’s also easy enough that you could take your kids along and introduce them to nature at the same time.
The Gold Panning Entry Cost Is Low
When you start thinking about gold panning, it seems like a great way to spend a day hiking around the countryside. However, you’ll quickly discover that gold panning isn’t cheap.
Considering the cost of getting started with this hobby would be best. Buying the necessary tools will set you back $50 to $100 or more. Then, you’ll need to buy food and drink to sustain yourself while you work. The minimum amount of supplies you’ll need daily is about $25.
Finally, since you won’t earn any money while learning the ropes, you must pay for gas and tolls to travel between locations. This can add up to several hundred dollars for every trip.
After adding these costs, you’ll probably spend between $1,000 and $2,000 on a single gold panning trip. And that doesn’t include the cost of your vehicle, typically over $10,000.
This Activity Could Present Some Dangers
As you might imagine, gold panning can lead to danger if you’re careless. For instance, you could easily hurt yourself by hitting your head on a rock while panning for gold. Or perhaps you’ll slip on a wet surface while walking through puddles.
On top of that, you could damage your property if you happen to mine on private land. In addition, you should never leave your equipment unattended while panning for gold. This is particularly important if you plan to stay overnight since you’ll need to protect your vehicle from thieves.
Finally, remember that gold panning is illegal in many states, so follow local laws. Many areas have laws against mining for gold, though the penalties are generally minor. Other state governments only allow gold panning for recreational purposes.
Gold Panning Is Not Worth In These Cases
Gold panning is worth the effort if you enjoy the outdoors and want to learn something new. It’s also a great weekend to spend with friends and family. However, gold panning isn’t a good idea if you plan to make a career. The sport is enjoyable, but it’s not profitable enough to justify the initial investment.
Still, if you’re ready to try gold panning, check out our articles on becoming a better gold panner and choose the right type of gold pan.