Learn How to Pan for Gold and What You Need to Get Started

Klondike Klinkers Gold Panning Kit

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Learn How to Pan for Gold and What You Need to Get Started

Panning for gold is a great way to get into the outdoors and have fun with the whole family. Do you live in a state that is known for GOLD? Chances are you do since gold is just about everywhere. With that being said, don’t think you are going to head out and strike it rich, it takes many long hours of research to map out a good plan before hitting a creek or stream to find gold. Yes, those creeks and streams you see when you are out camping may contain gold and all you need is a gold pan to do it! In directing you absolutely to the facts, you will probably not find enough gold to pay for a trip but the entertainment you will get from it, will be worthwhile.

What You Need to Get Started

A gold pan

A catch tub

A glass vial

A digital pocket scale

A snuffer bottle

A classifier or sifter

** This counts for Pay dirt as well as outdoor prospecting/ gold panning


The most important thing to remember when buying pay dirt is to set yourself up, for success! Get a digital scale so that you know what you get for gold. The easiest thing you can overlook is estimating the gold weight in the pan. A digital scale with tell you what you have right away.

Gold pans

There many different pans available, metal, plastic, all the different styles. Gold pans are relatively inexpensive as an investment. We personally recommend the 8-10 inch plastic dual riffle gold pan, either blue or green because the gold shows great in them to start off with. An 8 inch dual riffle pan will have ½ inch rifles and 1/8 inch riffles, these are like steps (gold traps) that allow the gold to settle to the bottom so it does not leave the pan. Gold is approximately 18 times as heavy to its equal portion of water in terms of density. This means gold will settle to the bottom of a gold pan and allow you to slowly pull away the lighter material in the pan, like black sand, blond sand, and rocks.

Preparing Your Gold Pan

In the manufacturing process of gold pans, mold release and plastics generally have some form of oil to aid in the process. Have you ever seen what oil does with water, it floats and leaves a rainbow look in the sunlight. Gold believe it or not, can and will float on water because it is hydrophobic! This means it will repel or not mix well with water. A good example of this takes place when you wax your car, the water slides off since the wax repels water. Now how do we beat this effect? Get the oils off the pan and scratch the pan up. Take your pan fill it with gravel, add water and put a drop of dish soap in it. Turn it side to side repeatedly to scratch and wash the oil from the pan. Once it is good and scratched up the gold has more places to get stuck on, much like sand paper tread on wet wood steps. Better traction on non-slick surfaces!

Why Classifying is so Important

Imagine you are looking for a needle in a haystack (the gold is the needle) if you sort the hay quickly the needle is easier to find. In terms of gravels, gold is heavy but not as heavy as that 2 inch rock. If you screen the material from say ½ inch to ¼ inch you can quickly see if there are any nuggets in the material left on the 1/2inch screen. Anything smaller will fall through the screen and gold will be the heaviest of that material. Classify as small as you can and always pan what is sitting on the top of the screen looking for pickers and gold nuggets. When you get to the smallest screen you have, the gold is now the heaviest thing in the pan and there is much less material to have to work through (your hay stack just got that much smaller). TIP a drop of dawn or jet dry in your water will break the surface tension of the water allowing gold to stay at the bottom!

Snuffer bottles

You cannot always pick the gold up easily with your fingers, matter of fact most of the gold you find will be very fine! A snuffer bottle is a plastic bottle with a screw on lid with a pointed top cut off to fit a straw. The purpose for this is to squeeze the bottle and suck the gold up with the straw. The gold will say at the bottom till we flip it over to suck up more gold. Since we tip the bottle over the gold will naturally settle to the bottom with gravity. Here is the important part; the straw does not touch the bottom so the gold will stay in the end of the bottle till you flip it right side up. If you want the water out to get more suction, (or if it is full) turn it right side up and gently squeeze it over a pan and the water comes out, and the gold stays at the bottom! TIP to get the gold out of the snuffer bottle, with it right side up as it is sitting on a table. Pull the straw out of the snuffer bottle tip and put a gold vial over the tip of the bottle and flip them both to allow vial to fill with water. Shake the gold out of the snuffer bottle into the vial over a gold pan. If the there is no water in the vial it will create an air gap and stop the gold from going in the vial easily.

Gold Scale, Tray, and Tips

Buying a gold scale is the most important thing you can do, gold is money and you need to know what you have or got for buying and or selling. With gold scales you get what you pay for, look for a “pocket scale” with 0.00 minimum, and .001 accuracy, that measures in ounces, grams, grains, if you need one that weights pounds, call me! I thought you would like that one! TIP on drying your gold a metal scale tray with pointed corners helps direct gold into a vial for safe keeping. They also are metal and if you use an electric candle warmer (mini hot plate) the gold will dry faster. Caution, it will be hot! We also recommend a vial funnel; they are mini funnels that fit into your vial so when you dump the gold into the vial it does not spill as easy. Do this over white paper so you can easily see anything that spills or you can do this over a gold pan just in case any gold gets free.

What to Consider with Pay Dirt

So you want to order dirt in a bag containing gold, so you can cure your gold fever at home, learn to pan, or get a gold panning kit for when you go camping?

Here are the basics:

Pay Dirt is an entertainment product, much like buying a board game online! The seller is not only selling the gold but covering the cost of shipping, packaging, tax, fees, labor, customer service, and the GOLD. LOOK FOR minimum gold amounts and calculate what you get for your money with any retailer, just consider the other expenses involved with sale to your hands. Since when did that old board game you can take out whenever you want, like pay dirt if you save it, ever put some good old yellow chunky Gold in your hands? Or leave you with something you can resell for real money after you are done with it?

Gold is worth real money! The best part is the markets go up and down, save it till you want to sell it (when the market goes up).

How to Pan For GOLD!

With a seasoned gold pan (washed of oils and scuffed up) take your sifted or classified material and place about 1/8 cup (small amount until you are comfortable with more) and place it in a gold pan. Step two is to create a panning tub (a big gold pan or small tote you can fit your pan in will work) fill it with water leaving enough room to account for splash and so when you’re done you can carry it) add a drop or two of dish soap (avoid scented ones, they have oil in them) or jet dry (the rinse aid for a dish washer). This will break the surface tension of the water helping the gold sink to the bottom.

In that panning tub you can pan your pay dirt or material knowing if any gold comes out of your pan it is in that bin. You can always go in after it later. Tip the pan a little allowing water to come in the gold pan and cover your material. Agitate it by making short side to side movements. You are shaking the gold to the bottom of the pan. Essentially liquefying the material and creating a space for the gold to drop down into, so it reaches the bottom.

At about a 45 degree angle, dip the pan and pull it out at the same angle. You will see material (the light stuff) leave the pan. After a few dips in the tub, you must repeat the liquefying step, shake the pan so the gold settles to the bottom again. Repeat this process till you have only gold and black sand in the pan. There is now much less material in the pan and black sand is heavy. Here is how you get that gold out of it by back panning!

Back Panning

With very little water in the pan and the material left in the pan, shake it to the top of the pan (the edge farthest away from you) hold the pan at 9 o’clock or 3 o’clock depending on if you are left handed or right handed, with the top of the pan at a slight upward angle. Now tap the top of the pan. This makes the gold drop down and walks it right towards your tapping hand. That little bit of water in the pan is there to slowly wash away the black sand a little at a time. Tip it forward then back slowly, watch the sand come toward you to the bottom of the pan. At this point if you have a second snuffer bottle it is easy to remove the black sand so it does not get back into the remaining gold/ black sand you worked to remove. Repeat all these steps till you have all the black sand out and suck up that gold, YOU HAVE EARNED IT! You will get better with time and it will become second nature to you!

Thank you for reading this Blog, I hope it helps, everyone has to learn somewhere. We will try to get a video out on gold panning soon!


Klondike Klinkers Panning Kits are Available in the Pay Dirt Tab!

Final Notes

When you get your first panning kit from Klondike Klinkers, you have the satisfaction of knowing there is gold in the dirt, and you have just about everything you need for the creek (may be get a shovel and buckets, possibly a bigger classifier). Gold prospecting is fun for the whole family; it invites you into nature and gives you something to do. One client wrote us explaining how the kids are glued to the television, games, phones, that pan and first bag of pay dirt will get the phone out of their hands when camping or at home and get them looking for gold. That is right camping with no technology, just good old fashion campfires, s’mores, and stories of the day’s adventure in the creek! It’s a bonding experience to heal the heart and bring the family together. Please remember to pick up any trash; let’s keep those creeks and streams clean for future generations, most importantly HAVE FUN!

Here is the link to our Panning Kits:

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