Affordable vacations: Used military surplus tents and a gold hunting adventure

March 20, 2018

When you are looking for uses for your military surplus tents and used military equipment, consider how fun, exciting, and profitable a free or inexpensive gold mining adventure could be. Since the gold rush, Americans have been making their way to the west in order to try their hand at discovering the rich veins and nuggets of pure gold which still decorate those hills. The areas accessible by camper and wheelchair have already been picked clean and gone over like a horse carcass at a buzzard convention; but the real nuggets lie just out of sight, ten to twenty miles from the road, and can only be accessed by ATV, pack mule, or horse.

There are plenty of public areas out west filled with gold flakes and nuggets, easily accessible, but off of the main path. A 17 x 17 used army surplus tent offers perfect shelter from the night and elements as you set out on your quest for gold, and it is easily carried to those locations as well. Though slightly more expensive, my favorite is the 12 x18 used military kitchen tent. This tent offers separate rooms, one of which is perfectly ventilated to accommodate a portable cookstove. All supplies should fit nicely on an ATV or pack horse for optimum camping pleasure in remote locations. Most western states have parks that accommodate both tent camping and gold panning. Many of these can be found here:


Auburn State Recreation Area – You can search for gold on two forks of the American River.

Columbia State Historic Park - Various fee panning opportunities, some free some not.

Himalaya Tourmaline Mine - You may dig for multi-colored tourmaline crystals.

Keyesville Recreational Mining Area – You may pan, sluice, dredge and dry wash for gold.

Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park - Gold panning along Humbug Creek.

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park - Gold panning along the American River.

South Yuba River State Park Project - "Hands and pans" only.


Baker Ranger District - Gold panning.

Cow Creek Recreational Gold Panning Area - Gold panning.

Edson Creek & Sixes River - Gold panning and sluicing.

Hobo Camp Campground - Gold panning.

Lund Park Campground - Gold panning on Brice Creek.

Medford District BLM - Gold panning and suction dredging in the Medford area.

Quartzville Recreational Mining Corridor - Gold panning mining near Salem.

Rouge River - "Hands and pans" only gold panning along the Rouge River.

Sharp’s Creek Recreation Area - Panning, dredging, and more.

Spectrum Sunstone Mine - Dig for the official gemstone of Oregon.

Wherever you decide to pitch your tent, remember there are thousands of ounces of unfound gold lying in the rivers and streams of this great country, waiting for you to come and claim them. Load your surplus tent, used army backpack, and cookstove today, and get ready for the adventure of your life. “Go west young man, haven’t you been told?...”

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