If you smoke daily or weekly and it’s a part of your regular regiment on a month to month basis it’s smart to get yourself organized. If you need to cross the threshold of beginner smoker to advanced smoker let us key you in on some of the essential tools. We see a lot of good people come in and out of the shop on a daily basis but not every one has a convenient strategy to make smoking easy and clean.
There are several main categories of smoking devices but a few of the most basic are easily broken down:
- Chillum or “One Hitter”
- Hand pipe
- Papers or Wraps
Keeping Things Chill
It’s best to choose the tool for your day that is most suited to the environments you’ll find yourself in. Chillums & straight shooters are best for one to two people depending on the size of the tobacco bowl your chillum has come with. Straight shooters easily fit in your pocket and are among the most discreet of smoking devices. You can pick up a glass, metal ceramic chillum. When I’m looking at chillum I like to first take the size of the bowl I want into consideration. Once I have that narrowed down I take a look at the length and weight of the piece. I like a chillum to be able to hang easily from my lips “cigarette style” on it’s own without being too heavy or having a mouth piece that too wide. Others might enjoy a larger and heavier duty chillum that is more easily shared with friends but is still small enough to slide into your pocket.
The Hand Pipe
Hand pipes are the go to device for the average smoker. There are many styles of hand pipe and they’re made out of a lot of materials, most commonly glass, wood, ceramic & metal. By far, Metal and Glass are the most common materials and they both have their advantages and disadvantages. Metal is the most durable and will last you the longest. Many smokers will fall into becoming “glass snobs” and will complain about the taste of a metal pipe which is minimal at best and practically non-existent in a well used smoking pipe. Your metal pipe will serve you well for years as well as be easy to clean and maintain. I like to say that you’ll have a metal pipe until you lose it or give it away.
Glass pipes are a beautiful and standard tool but amateur smokers will always break a glass pipe and go through several in a year. Even old-school smokers will have an occasional drop and need to replace one of their glass pipes every year. I think it’s important to have more than one glass hand pipe so if something goes wrong everyone isn’t left staring at a broken pipe, just whip out your other beautiful glass hand pipe and we’re back on our way. You can read more about the myths surrounding single and double blown pipes. The greatest decider is likely to be the price range you’re able to afford with regards to a balance of beauty and functionality you’re looking for.
Staying On The Grind
A grinder is actually a key piece of every smokers tool box and once you get used to it you’ll wonder what you ever did without one. Personally, I think it’s a mistake to own just one grinder. Like pipes, grinders made in different sizes and with different materials serve a bit different purpose. I own several high quality grinders because I don’t like to mix my dry herbs together. I primarily use one large 4 piece (3 chamber) 90mm grinder and a smaller 2.5 inch 4 piece for sampling other herb variety. I also own several small plastic grinders, like the Medtainer style grinder. I like these because they’re cheep, small & light. I’m not keen on traveling with, misplacing or loosing my a $50-$80 grinder. I’m not happy about but OK with a $11 grinder getting misplaced or accidentally leaving it at a buddies house. Choosing the right size tool for the situation will make sure your loss doesn’t turn into a more massive financial blow.
Papers & Wraps
Everyone has a different preference with regards to papers & wraps. Rolling is an experiential art because you must get accustomed to the tactile response, the subtle feedback given to your finger tips while rolling, from a lot of tobacco and herbs. All tobacco and dry herbs are different and contain varying levels of moisture requiring them to be handled slightly differently. I’ll briefly break down what I’ve learned rolling over the years. I find wraps to be very thick and much more harsh than papers. Wraps and Cigarillos will mix with and mask the flavor as well as the naturally occurring aroma of dry herbs and tobacco. They’re very easy to roll with and with the myriad of flavors available it’s no wonder they’ve become so popular. It’s considerably easy for a novice smoker to grab a wrap and twist up a generally well composed smoke because wraps are much more durable if you come from using rolling papers. Wraps are also more appropriate for smoking in groups because of their large size. I use wraps regularly when entertaining or having good friends over.
Papers need more finesse and skill, additionally papers come in an extremely wide variety of paper thickness, length and width. Ultra-Thin papers can be difficult for amateurs to work with and even experienced rollers will struggle depending on the circumstances. If you’ve ever tried to roll a cigarette with an ultra-thin paper while dripping with sweat in the 90 degree Texas Summer, you’ll find the oils and sweat on your hands can make handling fine papers difficult and the task of rolling almost impossible. I find that any of the RAW Organics (I prefer single-wide or 11/4) are sufficiently thin but also durable in just about any condition. Choose the right papers for the job and try a variety of papers and wraps, this is the shortest route to becoming a master roller.
Those are just a few of the most essential tools. In a more exhaustive list we might also include tips, hemp wick, a “good” lighter & a rolling box or tray but these items are enough to be considered essentials. If you have anything you’d like to add or we missed something every smoker needs leave it in the comment section! Hemp wick and tips are what I consider a new-school tool that I love and really considered adding to this list.