How to Pack and Smoke a BowlTeam Chameleon
If you’re a cannabis novice, the first thing you need to know is how to pack a bowl. Although this process seems pretty simple, it can be perplexing at the same time. Many stoners have found themselves inhaling subpar hits because of improperly packed pipes and bowls. So, if you want to avoid sucking down “Scooby snacks” (floating pieces of burnt weed), pay attention.
The entire internet is loaded with tips, tricks, and recommendations to pack and smoke a pipe. All articles have information in bits and pieces, so I thought of sharing my experience, including my years of tests and trials with cannabis.
What is a Bowl?
A “bowl” is the part of the pipe or bong where you pack the cannabis. If you’re new to the world of cannabis, you might not know your way around a glass bong or glass pipes. So, let’s check out the anatomy of these items to understand how to get the best hit possible.
Anatomy of a Glass Pipe
- Mouthpiece – The part where you touch your lips and inhale that sweet (and tangy) cannabis smoke. This is also where you can get bits of burnt weed if you’re not careful.
- Body or Neck – This is a hollow section of the pipe between the bowl and the mouthpiece. Before inhaling, the smoke is dragged into the chamber. For a better hit, you should fill this section with as much smoke as possible.
- Carb – This is a hole at the base of the bowl that allows you to control the airflow. As you’re filling the chamber, you put your finger or thumb over the carb. Then, when you’re ready to inhale, you’ll open the carb, letting the air flow through the pipe.
- Bowl – As we mentioned, this is the spot where the cannabis goes.
Anatomy of a Glass Bong
- Base/Reservoir/Can – This is where the water goes. You need to make sure to put enough liquid to cover the bottom of the downstem. Otherwise, you’ll be taking a dry hit.
- Downstem – Typically, a downstem is a glass ‘straw’ that goes through the side of the base and into the water.
- Pull Bowl – As with a glass pipe, the bowl is where the dry cannabis goes so that you can light it up. A Pull Bowl slides in and out of the downstem.
- Carb – This hole is at the top of the downstem, where the Pull Bowl slides into the downstem. With the Pull Bowl inserted you light the cannabis, take a pull and fill the chamber with an appropriate amount of smoke before taking a hit, slide the Pull Bowl out to clear the piece. Careful of the dreaded Overtoke (OT). OT’s can be nasty. This isn’t a race, slow and steady is the way to go until you find your perfect pull.
- Neck – Here is where the smoke collects. I prefer an ice dent in the neck. Standard ice cubes can be inserted into the mouthpiece and an ice dent keeps the ice from falling onto your downstem and breaking it. Take care here. Ice super cools your smoke and may lead to a massive OT!
- Mouthpiece – Bongs have the advantage of a large mouthpiece that makes a nice seal against your lips.
Step by Step Guide to Pack a Bowl
Once you have your dank ready, you should follow these steps to pack a pipe or bong.
- Step 1: Grind Your Green (Cannabis) – The secret to a smooth hit is having small-ish, even grind in the bowl. A grinder ensures that you don’t have any large clumps that can clog the whole system. Beware the over grind. Make sure that the pieces are not too small, or they’ll suck through or burn up too fast.
- Step 2: Pack Gently at the Bottom – Put a small layer of cannabis in the bowl and use a finger or the butt of your lighter to tamp it down gently. If you pack it too tight, you won’t get an even burn, leading to a sub par hit.
- Step 3: Pack Again – Once you have your first layer down, you should add another layer of ground cannabis. Having a thicker top layer allows a more even burn. I typically make a small mound on top and then use the bottom of my grinder to flatten it.
- Step 4: Light and enjoy! Use good bowl etiquette. Do not roast the entire crown of your bowl! Everybody in the circle deserves a green rip. Hold your lighter to the side and light a small portion, enjoy your pull and hand it off to the next person in the sesh. Even if it’s just you in the sesh! You’ll appreciate coming back for a new green hit on your next sesh.
Tips and Tricks for Packing and Smoking a Bowl
Smokers have been lighting up Chameleon Glass for decades, so we have tons of experience and insight from which to learn. Here are some OG tips for getting the most out of each hit:
- Don’t Grind Too Fine – As we mentioned, if the particles are too small, they can fall through the bowl hole, wasting cannabis.
- Keep Your Gear Clean – We’ve all seen dirty pipes and bongs before, and they’re disgusting. Not only is it bad form to give a dirty pipe to a guest (even if they’re a close friend), it can affect the smoking experience. Be sure to clean your pipe and wipe down your materials after each use if possible. Do you want to taste the old spent smoke, or the new freshies you just loaded?
- Use Borosilicate/Pyrex Glass Pipes– While this material has become the gold standard lately, not all pipes and bongs are made of borosilicate. This material does not impart it’s own taste to the cannabis like silicone, metal, wood or plastic, and it’s much easier to clean.
- Pack Just Enough – Although it’s tempting to overpack your pipe or bong, doing so can lead to burnt bits and a less than tasty hit. Instead, pack for each puff and clean the bowl out between hits. Doing this takes longer, but you’ll enjoy your cannabis so much more.
- Use a Diffuser and/or Percolator – Bongs have come a long way in recent years. A diffused downstem (slits) makes a world of difference by creating smaller air bubbles that put more surface area in contact with the cooling water. A percolator can seem redundant but it can add more cooling and smoothness.
Taking the time to pack and smoke a bowl properly ensures that you get the most out of your cannabis. While legalization has made cannabis more accessible and affordable, there’s no reason to let your nugs go to waste. Smoking cannabis is not the same as cigarettes – attention to detail matters. You can also make a better smoking experience with a Chameleon Glass Pipe!