Keep It Simple

One of the Worst Things You Can Do

Hardly a day goes by that I don’t receive an e-mail message or two from readers of “Bedrock Dreams” asking me what I recommend in terms of equipping themselves for basic gold mining endeavors. Sure, most of these folks are novices who are just starting their search for the precious yellow metal, but a good percentage already have the basics down and some experience under their belts.

As I have said before a number of times here, one of the worst things you can do when you’re under-experienced and over-zealous as a gold miner is to start throwing money around like a drunken sailor on liberty in a foreign port. Granted, the “dream merchants” will absolutely love you, but you really need a reality check before you start spending hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on gold detectors, dredges, highbankers, and the like.

I Rest My Case

Think I’m exaggerating here? Just within the past two weeks or so I’ve received a number of e-mails from “newbies” and those with some (but not enough) mining experience asking me which gold metal detector I thought they should buy or which trommel or drywasher they should put on their charge cards.

Conversely, I’ve also received a number of what I call “Sad Sack” type messages wherein the author relates his or her frustration and disgust because, after spending tons of money on fancy new machines and gear, he or she still hasn’t found any gold (or very little of it). Ladies and gentleman of the jury…I rest my case.

Listen Closely

Now I’m not writing all this to belittle or humiliate anyone, just the opposite. I want to encourage you to pursue all aspects of small-scale or recreational gold mining and find the excitement and joy in it that I have for over three decades now. There’s nothing I’d rather do anytime or anywhere, and that’s a fact.

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At the same time I want to save you some money if I can. Like someone once said, “Times is tough.” So listen and listen closely because I am about to dispense one of my rare “gems” of wisdom to you:


A 5-gallon bucket, a gold pan or two, a rock hammer, a small shovel or military “E” tool, a few small hand or crevicing tools, and maybe a backpack. That’s all you need to get some gold…and if you’re a quick learner, some good gold.

That’s it. That’s all you need. Total cost, easily (by a wide margin) under $100 USD. So put away your credit cards (unless you want to make a donation to “Bedrock Dreams”!) and save some dough.
There’s plenty of time down the road for all that other stuff…

If you liked this post, you may want to read: “Characteristics of Gold-Bearing Quartz Veins (Part 1)”

© J.R. 2011

Questions? E-mail me at


  1. Hey J.R. enjoyed the post. I've been doing this off and on since 1976. Last year we bought a Desert Fox and a Gold-N-Sand from Shokstrap. I already had a Garrett Scorpion Gold Stinger and a couple of other metal detectors. Bought another gold stinger for my nephew who does a lot of looking with me. You've got a great post, enjoy all of your articles. They are very informative and interesting.

    Len Kneale

  2. Hey Len! Thank you for the kind words of support...they are appreciated. Keep coming back, OK? J.R.


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