Everything You Need For Razor Clam Season!
Answering all gear questions for razor clam diggers; the must-haves, the best gear for kids and adults, what you need for razor clamming at night, the best clamming tool, and so much more!
Part 3 of 6 series on How to Dig Razor Clams
- The Best Gear Set-up For Razor Clamming This Season
- All types of clamming guns
- 3 Post-clamming Must-Haves For Your Car
- Razor Clamming at Night
- Last Minute Razor Clamming?
- All about the kids!
- NEXT Article: How to Dig Razor Clams With a Shovel and a Clam Gun & Important Rules (4 of 5)
There's something so refreshing about digging razor clams. Maybe it's the fresh ocean breeze, or maybe it's allowing yourself to dig in the sand like a toddler at the beach, and having that be socially acceptable.
It doesn't take much gear to hit the beach and dig up your fair share of fresh, delicious razor clams to cook up for dinner(s), though we do strongly encourage the proper set-up if you plan to continue razor clamming, especially for safety and efficiency. Safety is our number one concern when showing a new friend or family member the lay of the land on the coast. Keeping in mind to always face the ocean in order to avoid trouble and have a blast on the beach.
Though I know I have previously stated that we have seen a few clam diggers wearing sandals instead of proper boots or waders. While that may seem like a good idea since you're at the beach (#beachlife), you don't want to mess with running after your flip-flop when the tide comes up, do you? I know I would rather throw the other one back to mother earth myself, if that ever happened to me. That is highly unlikely to happen while you're razor clamming when you dress properly for the occasion.
I've broken down everything from what we wear, to the various types of clam guns/tubes, to must-haves for clamming at night, and gear for the kids.
Table of Contents
The Best Gear Set-up For Razor Clamming This Season
Razor clamming is such a fun, easy, rewarding hobby that creates the best memories for kids and adults that will last them a life-time. Not to mention delicious fresh caught meals for days. It's a memory you can't miss out on.
Whether you are looking for a beginners guide to razor clamming gear or looking to level up your game, I've laid out the best clamming gear for men, women, teens and elders alike.
Waders make it much easier for clam diggers to dig in the surf, get dirty while your clothes remain relatively clean and dry. If you can find a pair of waders with boots that fit you well, I would go that route. My husband has that style of waders and they are genius. They are much faster to put on and get going, rather than having an extra step of placing boots on, not to mention cleaning an extra item. So, he gets off easy! As for me, I have neoprene waders and place boots over them.
I strongly encourage having waders altogether, regardless of which one you choose.
These waders have the best range of sizes and colors that I've seen. It has been quite challenging to find waders with boots attached for petite(ish) women, but I am still actively searching for another pair to share. Link here for the best priced waders that I've tried.
Neoprene or Waterproof Gloves
For the longest time I was concerned about wearing gloves, for many reasons, one being that I won't be able to feel the razor clams. Then one day my husband brought my gloves since it was an exceptionally cold day out, from that moment on, I swear by wearing neoprene gloves and have never looked back. I was able to feel the razor clams just fine, while at the same time keeping my hands from freezing and being cut up by the sand and sharp clam shells.
It's one of my best tips for ladies razor clamming while hanging on to your manicure :).
Link here for a great pair of neoprene gloves! Here is a great pair of insulated waterproof gloves at a good price.
Clam Bag/Clam Net
It's not uncommon to spot razor clammers using a bucket or another container that they're carrying around to store their razor clams, however we suggest clam bags in order to become more efficient and be safer, especially if you have children with you.
An important rule to point out is that all clam diggers must use their own bag for collecting razor clams. The direct quote from WDFW is Each digger's clams must be kept in a separate container. To avoid being fined, don't mix and match.
Keep in mind when you purchase a clam net, it will not come with a rope to tie around your waste most of the time. You will need to purchase that separately, unless you have a rope you could use at home. These can be purchased by the yard at any home improvement store, or sporting goods store.
Your harvesting tool: Clam gun or Clam shovel
Best clamming shovel
If you're going the shovel route, I highly recommend investing in a quality stainless steel shovel. This will ensure you have the best clamming shovel that will last you a very long time.
Our clam shovels were handed down to us from our grandparents. They wanted to invest in quality products, and boy did they ever. We claim them as the best clamming shovels (The Claminator Shovel) since they have stood the test of time, and hard sand for over 30 years.
We use them on a regular basis and they continue to look new with no sign of breaking down on us anytime soon. We've heard of many people breaking their shovels after a dig or halfway through the razor clam season, so invest in the best clamming shovel from the beginning. A clamming shovel can double as a tool to get out of the sand if you are ever stuck and have no other shovel. The shovel that we've had for decades is The Claminator Shovel.
Proper care for clamming shovels: To keep your wooden shovel handle from drying out be sure to wax it after each use. We like to use Howard Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish.
All types of clamming guns
Choosing the best razor clam gun depends on a few elements; budget, personal preference, size, color, and ease of use. Clam diggers or clam tubes, as many like to call them, have a wide variety of colors and features to choose from. You're able to be much more creative and customize it to your needs, with this tool.
There are various types of clam guns to choose from:
PVC Clam gun - Typically $15 in-store. This clam gun is the most budget* friendly option for a razor clam gun. I would suggest this option for clam diggers that will not be continuing the sport long-term, and are visiting or trying it out. Our experience with the PVC gun was extremely positive, to our shock. Being that we purchased this item for ¼ of the price of a typical clam gun, we weren't expecting much.
Here is our honest review of a PVC clam gun: It's much lighter than other clam guns, making this more suitable for young clam diggers, and elders alike. Though We haven't tested the longevity of it, we can guess that multiple seasons of digging into the sand won't be ideal - but short-term it's perfect.
Common clam gun - Price ranges from $50-90. This style is the most common gun used by razor clam diggers. They come in a variety of colors and sizes to choose from, and they're not too hard on your wallet, making these clam guns the most popular choice for razor clam season.
The Clam Halk - Price is about $170. This Washington state made product has been around for quite a long time.
The Claminator Gun - Price is about $180. This is a high quality stainless steel gun with an attached air tube to make razor digging easier. This clam gun comes in ranges of sizes making it easy to get a custom fit.
3 Post-clamming Must-Haves For Your Car
Keeping your vehicle as clean as possible might not be on everyone's most important things to remember about razor clamming season list, but it sure is a lot easier to get these 3 products in your car than it is to clean it from sand. This set-up has come from a lot of learned lessons, and we sure love it.
We go over our car set-up for clamming in detail in POST-CLAMMING. So, we will keep it brief and outline the basic must-have list for your car, here.
1. 5-gallon bucket. This is to place your razor clam bags in. A single 5 gallon bucket can hold about 4 peoples' limits.
2. Waterproof bag or garbage bag. Both are good options, so bring what you have at home. If you have a big Ikea bag, those work phenomenally. If you don't, bring a couple garbage bags. The garbage bags create one less step at the end of the day, as they're easy to throw away after removing your gear.
The intention with this step is to place all your waders, wet clothes, hats, gloves, etc. directly in the bag to keep your vehicle as clean as possible.
3. Towel. If you have a big enough storage bin to fit all the other gear, such as your shovel or clam guns, then this is most ideal. If not, a great alternative is laying a big towel in the trunk of the car to place your shovels and clam guns on.
Razor Clamming at Night
Razor clamming at night is next level. It really is. From the rain, the wind, to it being absolutely pitch black, it's much more challenging than morning digs.
The conditions make it less appealing, however on a weekday you can almost have the entire beach to yourself! We have seen an incredible amount of people razor clamming on weekend digs, even with the worst weather possible.
This tends to happen towards the beginning of the clamming season in Washington state, which starts back up in the fall.
So, what makes razor clamming at night a success? Having the right gear for the job! Trust us, it will be a night and day difference for you and your loved one to know you are equipped for the conditions.
4 Products You Must Have For Razor Clamming at Night
These are products we use and recommend for night clamming:
These are a must in order to identify your vehicle. There are hundreds of cars parked near one another on a busy clamming day, and you will lose track of where you've parked. The most common time you see these lights used are for night clamming.
I suggest purchasing 2-4 to place on your dash in order to quickly identify your vehicle amongst others that will have 1-2 lights. This pack is perfect, as it has 3 lights for $24.99 (prices vary).
Another reason to put flashing lights into your vehicle is so that you don't get your direction turned around while you're out in the pitch black of night. This is especially true if there are little to no other clam diggers on the beach, not only does it make it easier to find your car, but it also makes it easier to know which way the ocean is, and which way the shore is.
You will absolutely need a hands-free light source that is easily transportable from one clam dig to the next. Being "easily transportable makes it the safest and best option for all who enjoy razor clamming at night. One option is a headlamp, this is most commonly used and an easy way to watch the water as well as your next dig. Along with a headlamp, you can amplify the hands-free lighting by attaching a light kit to your clam gun.
This LED Energizer Headlamp comes in a 2-pack and has 7 light modes, currently listed for $18 (prices vary).
3. Clam bag.
A clam bag around your waist is a must in our family. The main reason for this is to be 100% hands-free, for many reasons than we can count. To point out a few - You don't want to be caught chasing your bucket of razor clams when a big wave comes along, or have to move yet another item with you to every clam hole, or back and forth from your vehicle. Another reason we love having a clam bag is because we have young children with us. Their safety is our number one priority, so being hands-free is extremely important in that regard.
Click here for a clam bag from Amazon. These are a great option as they come with a waist strap attached.
Click here for a clam bag from Bass Pro. This is one we use regularly (picture above). Please note that you will need to supply your own rope to tie around your waist.
4. A cooler.
Coming home after a night dig to clean razor clams doesn't entirely make us as happy as a clam. Thanks to a cooler, there's a super easy solution. Having a cooler on hand is especially handy if you prefer not to stink up your fridge. For more information on this, visit our article about what to do Post-clamming, You Dug Razor Clams, Now What?.
5. Neoprene gloves.
I talk in more detail about wearing gloves above in "The Best Gear Set-up For Razor Clamming this Season". To summarize, it's a great option to keep your hands a bit cleaner.
Last Minute Razor Clamming?
Here are items you can find around your house to hit the beach with! This is the ultimate list of what you need to razor clam as a beginner.
Grab these belongings,
- Your Fishing, Shellfish, or Razor Clamming License. Purchased from most sporting goods stores or through your state's department of fish and wildlife's website.
- Tall Boots. Whether you have rain boots or outdoor boots, you will need these over running shoes. The tide comes up quite often, which would immediately wet your shoes.
- Long Pants. Weatherproof pants would be preferable, but any will do. We wouldn't recommend shorts, but those are a great option to layer under your pants. This way you can easily remove your pants prior to getting in your vehicle.
- Rain Jacket. Because of the regular rain on the coast, this is a great item to have on you while clamming. It's also easily removed prior to getting back into your vehicle, so you come out a little drier.
- Towel. If you don't have waders to bring razor clamming, you will need a towel to sit on in your car.
- Bucket. If you don't have a net, many use a bucket instead. It's another option for a razor clam holder at the end of the day!
All About The Kids!
Whether your kids will be digging, spotting razor clams for your next dig, or soaking up the ocean air, it's so fun to include them in this fruitful tradition.
We strongly endorse families safely enjoying activities together, and what better place than the coast? We also believe in including our kids in our activities and hobbies. It's so rewarding to watch our toddler understand what razor clams are, how we dig them, and when I cook up a dish with them; they learn so fast.
It's a special moment for our toddler, and us, when we walk inside the kitchen after a razor clam dig with a 5 gallon bucket or a cooler, he automatically screams Clams. It's so sweet, and a memory that we will keep close to us forever.
What To Do With Kids While Clamming?
There are a few options for your kiddos during a razor clam dig. Most of the time when we go razor clamming we like to include our kids. This varies depending on the time of day, the weather, and how the kids are doing. For the most part, we adjust our plan slightly and head to the beach! Here are options to confidently include your kids at the next dig.
1. Walk close and spot your next digs.
When it's a beautiful morning tide our toddler enjoys running around the beach with us. As long as we stay away from the water he's able to be close to us and spot our next dig; which is such a fun way to involve young kids in this rewarding hobby.
We have a kiddo that's disabled, a toddler and a baby, so we know a thing or two about enjoying our hobbies with our kids. Even when our hobbies aren't completely ideal for every kiddo, we still involve them in one way or another. Our go-to, and an absolute must-have for our family, in order to enjoy all our outdoor hobbies, is this wagon!
I can't tell you enough how amazing this wagon has been for us being able to travel, run around the coast, etc. It's the best beach wagon for our family to enjoy our outdoor hobbies in any weather condition, and best of all, we use it as our everyday stroller as well. This is not only the best beach wagon but notably the best kid and baby product we've ever invested in.
We recently traveled to Alaska, and kid you not, every single day that we took our kids on various adventures, we were asked about this wagon. It's so versatile, yet it compacts smaller than a stroller that typically only fits one child. We purchased the rain cover for it, which allowed us to take our kids outside, even in bad weather conditions. This is our #1 secret to enjoying hobbies with our kids. We should nickname it The Beach-Mobile!
A few things to note about this wagon,
- It has push and pull handles.
- There is a built-in basket for all our extra gear, water bottles, etc.
- Comes with a built-in cooler bag.
- It has a cover, to protect the kids from light rain and the sun (which comes with the wagon).
- Rain cover option! We opted to purchase this to keep our kids dry and happy when we are enjoying the outdoors.
- Has seat belts (2).
- Very versatile. Can be used from baby stage up to about 8 years old.
- Fits our daughter's on-the-go tomato chair, for her disability. Which has been such a blessing!
The only downside is that like most wagons, it's not going to be the most comfortable for kids, as there isn't much cushion. I would suggest bringing a blanket to sit on if this is a concern.
Send this beach wagon to someone you think would benefit from this wagon!
We often use a baby carrier to hold the baby while we dig. This has been a great option for us if our other kids are in the wagon. He is still able to move around freely since the baby carrier is nice and snug.
4. Kids can try razor clamming!
This is as exciting for kids as it is for adults. Trying it out for themselves will create a whole new memory that will last a lifetime. I'm sure they will have a much higher appreciation for that clam come dinner time :).
If your kids are ready to razor clam dig, then consider the following gear for them.
A Complete Guide to Kid's Gear For Razor Clamming
- Do kids need a License?
Check with your state if a license is required. In WA state, if a child is younger than 15 they are not required to hold a license.
- PVC Clam gun.
This is a great option for kids as they're very light. I have linked one that we have, and my honest feedback is above (in the Best Clam Gun section), in case you are interested. if you prefer to purchase online rather than in store. Note that not every store will carry these.
- Rain suit, or waders.
This is completely up to you which one you opt for, but they will absolutely need something besides tennis shoes or sandals. We have our toddler mainly in rain boots if it's a sunny day, and full rain suit if it's raining. You can also opt for waders depending on their age. We recently switched his rain boots for these kids waterproof outdoor boots, and they have been phenomenal so far!
These waders range from size ⅔ toddler to 12/13 big kid.
This is essential for kids while razor clamming. It's often cold and windy and their ears will need protection. Thank us when they don't complain about their ears being cold :).
- Neoprene or garden Gloves.
Digging in the sand often feels like digging in a drawer full of sandpaper, except it's wet and cold. Kids never seem to mind a fun mess, however, to make this amazing memory you're making together that much better, bring them a pair of gloves for easy clean-up. You simply remove their gloves after the beach, and their hands are free of sand! Sand is pretty clingy, especially when wet.
Grab a jacket if you go the waders or rain boots route. Keeping kids bundled up and warm is essential. Needless to say, they can take off a jacket if need be, but we always bring one along, as it's typically windy on the coast.
When is this ever the wrong decision? If your kids will be running around the beach, they may not need a snack right away, but you will be so thankful to have brought it for them to enjoy in the car on your way back home. It sure is a must for us, especially keeping the kiddos in the wagon happy.
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