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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Some Handy Gear for the Prospector

Hardrock miner
Photo by Norbert Schnitzler


There are several items that over the years we have found to be handy added to our exploration kit.  Probably one of the handiest and incidentally the heaviest is a steel anvil 3 inches in diameter by 1 inch thick.  This is used for a simple test for gold.  Gold is malleable and can be flattened with repeated blows with a hammer.  So-called fools gold is brittle breaking up into several fragments, and if reduced to powder turns black.  Gold will retain its true color everything else turns black or in the case of mica turns white.

A hat to shield your punkin head from the hot sun is one of the most valuable things you can have during a prospecting expedition.  A hat also keeps the rain off your head if it starts raining. A simple bill cap will help, but a broad brimmed hat like the cowboy’s wear is even better.  The best one is a hard hat to protect your head from falling objects.

Gloves are another thing you shouldn’t be without because after a day of shoveling or hammering you are likely to find that one of the things you’ve got is a good set of blisters among other things.  The best work gloves for the prospector are leather work gloves.

If you are hunting for gold anywhere there are snakes, and there are always plenty of snakes wherever there is gold you need a pair of snake proof boots.  A rattlesnake can strike so hard that even with snake boots you can still be bruised through your boots.  A snake bite can ruin your day.  If you are messing around in streams one of the most handiest things you can have is a pair of rubber boots, preferably hip boots.

One of the handiest things you can have on a prospecting expedition is a good jeweler’s 10X loup.  Why a 10X because it has a depth of field that is deep enough to bring things into focus.  Loupes larger then a magnification of 10x have a much shorter depth od field to render them virtually useless.  In the same vein a pad and pencil also comes in handy for making notes.  A surveyor’s pad works best because they have water-proof paper.  You could also include a ball point pen.

The really most handy things to have is a good handheld GPS unit.  You can set it at your base station so you will always be able to return.  It is also handy for finding other places where you have been.  Another use for one of these is using it for laying out claims.

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