A good gold panning kit is a great way to get started if you’ve been looking to pan for gold and a nice upgrade if you’ve already been panning gold for awhile. You can certainly buy one item at a time, but it’s probably better to just get a complete kit since the gold panning equipment you need will most likely be included in a set. Most deluxe gold panning kits will come with the basics such as a gold pan, a snuffer bottle, a glass vial or two, a display cup, a jeweler’s loupe and a good book on gold panning such as The Weekend Gold Miner, Recreational Gold Prospecting for Fun and Profit or Gold Prospector’s Handbook. You should be able to find a kit at your local or online gold panning supply store.
If you’re buying a gold panning kit for your family or planning on panning for gold with more than a few people at a time, you might want to seriously considering buying at least a couple of gold pans or a kit that comes with a multiple pans. You can get these kits with pans in different colors in case you want to have a different pan for each family member. Another good idea is to get a kit that already includes different sizes. Garrett makes a good kit with both a 10 and a 14 inch pan. You can choose from their deluxe gold pan kit or the more basic panning set.
Any gold panning kit gold you’d use for prospecting will always start with a nice, quality gold pan. There are some different shapes and a few different sizes for gold pans, but traditionally most gold prospectors will choose a round pan that is 14 inches in diameter (or a smaller 10″ gold pan for children or small hands). You can still buy a steel gold pan, but almost all kits now will have a plastic gold pan in blue, green, black or red. Black or green are usually the most popular colors as they allow you to see the flakes of gold on the bottom of the pan better.
Another item you’ll usually find in a good or deluxe gold panning kit will be a gold snuffer bottle (sometimes called a sucker bottle). This little plastic bottle is used to suck the gold up out of the pan. It can also be used to squirt the black sand out of the way, and is also handy to store your gold while you’re out panning for gold in the water. The snuffer bottle will usually have a siphon tube on it so the gold you have in the bottle will not come out.
After you’ve done all the hard work of panning the gold out of the stream, you’ll want to keep your gold in a handy little glass vial. These come in a few different sizes, measured in drams, and are perfect for displaying (or showing off) the gold that you’ve found while out panning. If you find a nice, big or particularly pretty gold nugget you can put it in a display cup. These usually have a foam insert to keep the nugget in place.
Some gold panning kits will also come with a gold classifier. These are round, plastic pans with square holes in the bottom to help you remove the larger rocks before you begin panning. This will help you be more efficient while you pan for gold since you can rinse the smaller rocks and sand into the pan while screening off the rocks larger than about a 1/2 inch.