You can't beat a classic! If something has been around for literally thousands of years and has been used in practically every corner of the world, you have to think to yourself, ‘This has gotta have something going for it.’ Dry herb pipes are one of the most common ways to enjoy dry herbs.
They’re simple to use, easy to maintain, a breeze to carry about, and they can look pretty darn cool. If you have any interest in the dry herb scene then you’ve surely come across these devices, so why not take a closer look?
Pipes are among the oldest ways to enjoy dry herbs. Evidence of pipes can be traced back thousands of years. These are truly one of the most beloved and established ways of enjoying herbal blends. However, despite this there is still a certain air of mystery surrounding them, here are some of the most common questions we’ve come across, answered.
What Can Pipes Be Made of?
One of the biggest advantages of pipes is that they can be made out of practically anything. Traditionally pipes have been made from wood, bone, or ivory. These days, however, you’re much more likely to come across pipes made out of glass.
Glass is a fantastic material. It’s cheap, easy to shape, can be stained a huge range of interesting colors, and best of all; it can be treated to be heat resistant. Glass pipes are popular because of their superior cooling and non-reactive nature which provides fantastic hits.
Metal pipes are also incredibly popular, thanks to their rugged design and great cooling abilities. Silicone and plastic pipes exist, however buyers should be careful to choose these pipes from reputable brands.
Wood pipes also exist, but they tend to be rarer collector’s pieces.
How Can A Pipe Be Lit?
At first glance, lighting a pipe is a simple affair, you just put a flame to the bowl, right? Well, there’s a bit more to it than that. First of all, you’ll want to avoid a zippo or wick-style lighter. Unlike joints or cigarettes, it's usually important to keep the flame to the bowl as you inhale.
If you do this with a wick style lighter, you’re going to inhale quite a lot of kerosene smoke, which is pretty nasty. Butane lighters or matches do the job a lot better. However, if you’re a real connoisseur, then a hemp wick might be more to your tastes. This burns clean, even, and won't taint the taste of your hits!
How Do I Pack My Pipe?
Packing a pipe properly is a bit more involved than just cramming your ground herb in there. To get the very most out of your bowl, you need to layer your pack. First, put the larger, chunkier particles from your grind across the bottom of your bowl.
This creates a stable base for you to build onto and it also helps prevent your pack from falling into the airpath. After this, you can layer up your bowl, layering up increasingly fine particles until your bowl is fully packed.
Different Types Of Pipes
You’d be forgiven for thinking that there is only one type of pipe, after all, how complicated can a tube be? Well, as you’re about to find it, it can be very complicated, indeed.
This is possibly the most basic type of pipe. It is essentially a small glass or steel cigarette. The bowl is often located at the tip of the pipe and is loaded by pushing it into some ground herb and twisting it. They get their names because they’re designed to hold roughly a single hit before they need to be refilled.
These specialist pipes are certainly stylish. They get their names from the famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. He is often portrayed thoughtfully smoking from an old fashioned tobacco pipe (we doubt that this was full of dry herb). These pipes often have a large bowl, fat belly, and long stem.
This means that they have above-average cooling and capacity. While they may not be as easy to transport as other types of pipe, they’re certainly stylish!
Spoon pipes may be the most common shape on the market today. They’re often made out of glass and are available in a huge variety of colors and finishes. They are designed with a large, top-mounted bowl, long airpath, and frequently feature a carb hole. This has become the most popular pipe shape for a reason, it’s sturdy, easy to transport, and simple to keep clean!
This brand of pipe deserves a section all to itself! The Genius pipe is an innovative metal pipe that is composed of three, magnetically connected layers. The airpath of the pipe is between two of these, each of which is studded with special dimples. These whip your hit up into a flurry of micro-vortices, purifying it and cooling it. Each hit from a genius pipe is smoother and cooler than any other pipe could hope to match!
Why Are Pipes Still Popular?
Pipes have been around for a while, a LONG while. Examples of pipes can be traced back thousands of years, and many cultures have some form of a smoking pipe. So, they’re clearly onto something if they have that kind of staying power. Think about it, how many gadgets and gizmos have you watched come and go?
So, why, after all this time are pipes still popular? Well, their simplicity is hard to beat. Other forms of dry herb consumption require users to fill them with water, learn complicated electronic controls, and all manner of busywork. A pipe is just a pipe, you pack it, you light it, and go!
Pipes are easy to carry, rugged, robust, and are among the most affordable ways to enjoy dry herb.
How to Select the Perfect Pipe For You?
At first, you may think that any old pipe will do, and if you’re only starting out then maybe it will. However, once you get a handle on this form of herb consumption you may find that you want to see if there’s a pipe that perfectly fits your particular wants.
The first thing to think about when you’re picking a pipe is what exactly you want it for. The obvious answer is, ‘smoking dry herb’, but how and where? Do you want some quick hits before bed or do you want to take it into the great outdoors, miles from civilization? Do you want to keep it all to yourself or are you the sharing type?
These are all important questions to ask yourself before you pick up a pipe. Finally, there’s also the not insignificant style factor, a good looking pipe is a pretty nice thing to own, after all.
When and where do you want it?
So, if you want something simple that you can enjoy with minimal mess and fuss, then look for a one-hitter. Whether it’s glass or metal, a one-hitter gives you the ability to quickly and easily enjoy dry herbs. If you’re looking for something a bit more robust that you can carry with you, then a solid spoon type pipe is the way to go.
A solid piece of glass has no fragile moving parts, and won't weigh you down. It also offers pretty solid cooling! If you want to have something you can share, then look for a bigger bowl, if you’re looking after numero uno, then a more narrow one will do.
It’s all about style
If a stylish pipe is important to you, then the glass is the way to go. There are thousands of glass spoon pipes out there with mesmerizing and striking colors woven into their structure. Glass may sound basic at first, but don’t forget that a simple piece of glass can be a striking, multifaceted piece of art.
If colors alone don’t do it for you, then you’ll be amazed at the range of artisan glass pieces out there. A skilled glassblower can create all kinds of strange and wonderful shapes, the retro appeal of a sherlock pipe is only scratching the surface of what a pipe can be.
Of course, let’s not forget the elegant simplicity of clean, blemish-free glass, too.
How To Use Pipes?
Just because something is simple doesn’t mean that everyone automatically understands it. There’s no shame in taking a moment to reflect and look at the ins and outs of pipes.
How Does A Pipe Work?
A pipe is at its most fundamental, a tube that allows you to pull air and smoke through it. However, as with everything, there’s a bit more to it than the bare basics imply. The most common type of pipe, the spoon shape, has four openings. The first is the airpath. This runs from the mouthpiece, through the pipe and out the far side. It’s a simple glass tunnel.
Towards the end of the pipe is the bowl. This sits on top of the design and is a shallow depression with an airpath that leads down to the main air path. This is where your herb goes, and that air path is how your hits get to your mouth. When you light your bowl and inhale, you create a vacuum, this pulls the hit down, and through the airpath.
How To Operate Pipes?
Operating a pipe is easy, and after a couple of minutes, you should have a decent handle on it. First, you pack your bowl, for this example, we’re going to presume that the pipe in question is a simple spoon with a medium-sized bowl.
Once the bowl is packed, you can put the pipe to your lips and get ready to take a hit. Put your finger over the opening at the far end of the pipe, this is called the carb hole, and you can adjust the strength of your hits by partially, or totally covering it. Hold a flame to the bowl, and inhale. The flame will be pulled into the bowl, igniting your herb and allowing you to take a hit.
For best results, try to consume your herb from one side across. This allows you to get the most out of your herb, ensuring that it is all used up before you clean out and refill the bowl.
How To Clean Pipes?
Thanks to their simple design, cleaning pipes is a straightforward and simple affair. All you'll need is some paper towels, some isopropyl alcohol, and pipe cleaners. That’s right! After years of using them for arts and crafts in grade school, you can finally use pipe cleaners for their intended purpose!
If you have a smaller pipe, it helps if you steep it in warm, soapy water for a while. This will loosen up some of the grime and make the next step a lot easier. Next, get your alcohol and some paper towels and carefully clean out the bowl, the grime should dissolve and lift away easily enough.
When the time comes to clean out the airpath, get some pipe cleaners and carefully dampen them with alcohol, put them into the pipe and gently rub them back and forth. When everything is cleared out, set your ipe down and allow it to dry. Make sure that all of the alcohol residues is gone before you next use it!
Pipes Parts & Accessories Guide
Pipes are basic pieces of kit, but there are still a few accessories on the market that can allow you to improve and augment your experience.
While carefully packing is one of the most basic ways to keep your herb from falling down into your airpath, it isn’t 100% effective. In fact, as you burn your herb you’ll find that more and more of it will fall down! So what can be done? Thankfully thin, reusable metal screens can be used to keep your airpath clear. If you find that you’re getting a lot of burnt matter in your mouth, then it might be time to invest in some screens.
Matches are fiddly and sometimes using a lighter can ruin the taste of your hits. What’s to be done? Well thankfully there’s the handy innovation of hemp wicks out there. These are specially designed to burn evenly and consistently. They stay lit in between hits, and on top of that, they don’t make you run the risk of ruining your hits!
While many pipes out there are rugged and dependable, there are some that need that little extra bit of protection. Thankfully there’s a huge range of robust and reliable cases out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re crossing continents, a decent case will keep your pipe in one piece.
Pros and Cons of Pipes
Can be fragile
Easy to clean
Low bowl size
Simple to use
There’s only so much you can do with a tube!
Who Are Pipes For?
Pipes are a tried and true method of consuming dry herbs. Whether you’re a long time herb fan or a total newbie, there should be space in your collection for a decent pipe. At the end of a long day, it can be a bit of a hassle to get out a full bong or to charge up a vaporizer. A pipe, it's just lying there, ready to go at a moment's notice!