10 Tips for Smart Miners: Triple Check Your Gear

Be a Smart Miner

If you have a choice between being what I call a smart miner (someone who has it together and thinks and plans ahead) or conversely a not-so-smart miner (someone who doesn’t have it together and never thinks or plans ahead), your best bet is to become the former and not the latter. Why?

Gold Panning Kits

Well for starters, smart miners tend to work more efficiently overall, are less problem-prone out in the field, and tend to get the most gold. Even if the first two qualifiers don’t grab your attention, the third one should. That’s my ever-so-humble opinion anyway.

So over the next few posts I will provide 10 tips meant to help you become one of the placer mining “elite” out there, a smart miner. Here is the very first of these tips:

Tip 1. Check, double check, and triple check your mining equipment and gear before heading out.

This is a “no brainer” right? Well….maybe. Based on my own experience over the past three decades you’d be shocked to find out just how many recreational or small-scale miners blow this most basic premise.

This rule of thumb becomes even more pronounced if you are running some sort of powered or motorized equipment (suction dredge, highbanker, trommel, drywasher, etc.). Motorized mining equipment should be cleaned, checked, and tested well in advance before you set out on any mining endeavor to ensure everything is in order and operating properly.

Make Sure You Have Everything You Need

Your checklist should also include gathering up and bringing any spare parts, belts, hoses, fuel, and the like. Ditto for all those incidental pieces of mining gear like gold pans, classifiers, 5-gallon buckets, hand tools, suction tubes, snipe tubes, and anything and everything else that you use or will find a need for when you actually get to the hard work of mining.

One of the most frustrating things in the world for any of us is to finally load up our gear, perhaps drive hundreds of miles to reach our destination, and finally arrive at our claim or mining site only to find that we left an important length of hose, or a pulley or drive belt behind. Trust me folks, I learned this lesson the hard way early on. Since that time I am downright compulsive about making sure I have everything I need before I head out the door. So should you be.

Granted we all have our moments. And as I progress ever closer to my 7th decade on this planet my memory is not always what it once was. But the way around this sort of forgetfulness is to plan ahead, draw up a thorough checklist, and then triple check your gear BEFORE you find out your high-volume gold recovery highbanking expedition has just been transformed into a flour gold panning fiesta similar in terms of finds to the old panning troughs at Knott's Berry Farm.

Like it or not, I know of what I speak. Hang tough out there till next time.

If you liked this post, you may want to read: “Gold Detector Reviews: Fisher’s ‘Gold Bug 2’”

© J.R. 2010

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com