This is some of the prospecting equipment that we recommend if you are interested in finding gold. There is a TON of different types of mining equipment on the market; some of it is good and some are gimmicks. The equipment listed below is the good stuff, which has gained a loyal following in the prospecting community as quality gear that will find gold.
Click on the picture of the items for information and pricing from Amazon.com
The Fisher Gold Bug Pro is relatively new to the market, but it is gaining a reputation as an excellent detector for finding gold nuggets. It has the ability to detect very small nuggets as well as sizable nuggets at good depth. It also does an EXCELLENT job handling hot rocks and also has a very reliable discrimination, which helps to reduce the amount of time spend digging junk. This also has one one of the shortest learning curves of any detector on the market, and within a short time most folks will have a good understanding of how to use this machine. This is a great machine for kids and beginners as well as more experienced detectorists. (Check out this video I made finding a gold nugget with the Gold Bug Pro.
The Fisher Gold Bug 2 is without a doubt one of the best detectors on the market for detecting small gold. Its high operating frequency makes it extremely sensitive to even the smallest specks of gold. We at Gold Rush Nuggets know dozens of highly skilled metal detectorists (many of whom make a living from gold prospecting) and there is almost complete consensus that the GB2 with the smaller 6 1/2" coil is as good as it gets when hunting for small gold with a metal detector. Of course, it also has the capability of finding larger nuggets at depth. Because of it's extreme sensitivity, it can take some time to learn how to operate, and in some situations it can have a difficult time operating smoothly in extremely mineralized ground. Still, if you are looking for one of the best gold detectors on the market, you can't go wrong with the GB2.
A basic gold pan kit like this one from Garrett belongs in the arsenal of any gold prospector. It doesn't matter whether you are just starting out or you operate a multimillion dollar gold mine, a gold pan is a must have item. A simple kit like this one also includes a classifier, snuffer bottle, magnifying glass, and glass vials to hold your gold.
Keene sluice boxes have a great reputation for capturing fine gold. This sluice is small enough that it is easy to transport, and is easy to use from setup to clean-out. A simple sluice box like the Keene A51 is a great way to step up to a nice piece of equipment that will help you process more material without breaking the bank.
The Desert Fox Automatic Panner works wonders separating fine gold from black sands and concentrates. It can be used as a gold pan when prospecting while out in the field, but where the Desert Fox really shines is at processing concentrates after a long day of prospecting. Once set up properly, all you have to do is add in the concentrates and it does all the work of separating out even the finest particles of gold. Allows anyone to be an experienced gold panner, and ensures that you aren't losing valuable gold by manually panning. Lots of prospectors choose to set this up at home and save up their concentrates throughout the summer season, and then process their cons in the winter. Really a slick piece of mining equipment.
The Blue Bowl is another really popular piece of equipment designed to separate your fine gold from black sands and other heavy concentrates. After a long day of dredging, highbanking, or sluicing, the Blue Bowl does the final step of extracting your gold. A very economically priced piece of equipment and a favorite among many experienced prospectors.
This may seem like a simple tool, but these scoops are extra handy for prospecting. They are just the right size and shape for digging gravel out of the creek bed to fill up a gold pan. They also work great for isolating targets found with a metal detector since they are plastic and won't set off a detector. They're cheap, so buy a couple as you will definitely lose one every once in a while. (Spray paint the handle bright orange to reduce your chances of leaving it behind)
Beginning nugget shooters often overlook the importance of a quality mining pick. While the brand isn't necessarily critical, the important features include one pointed edge for chiseling tough ground, and a nice wide edge on the other side for scooping material out of a hole. Another must-have feature which will increase target recovery dramatically is a strong magnet to pick up iron and other trash objects. If your metal detecting for gold nuggets, you are going to dig a LOT of holes, so paying a bit extra for a good pick is worth every penny.
The Garrett AT Gold is another metal detector fairly new to the market, but it is getting excellent reviews. It is especially good at finding small gold nuggets that other detectors will often miss. Most detectors on the market are designed to find coins in a park, and are not able to handle heavily mineralized ground to locate gold nuggets. Gold detectors specifically designed for gold like the Garrett AT Gold will outperform the vast majority of these multi-use detectors on the market.
Every prospector needs a good digital scale to weigh their gold discoveries. I have found that even inexpensive scales like this one are very accurate and will do a fine job of weighing your gold nuggets. In fact, I've got several cheap little scales like this one that are generally just as accurate as my scale that cost several hundred dollars.
Sunray Pro Gold's are awesome headphones to compliment any quality gold metal detector. Gold nuggets don't usually give off a strong signal, so you need to be able to hear the subtle whisper of those deep nuggets. Don't make the mistake of buying a high end detector and then using a pair of cheap, cheesy headphones. Spend a few extra bucks on a good pair; they will pay for themselves many times over with the extra gold that you find.