Bongs and Other Water Pipes


Bongs and Other Water Pipes



Bongs (aka “water pipes”) come in every imaginable shape and size. Generally made from glass, acrylic, bamboo, or ceramic, they range from fairly inexpensive to incredibly pricey. You will easily find a bong style to match your specific needs and price range.



If you haven’t ever purchased a bong, (Figure 3.1) listen carefully: bongs are illegal! Head shops carry “water pipes,” or sometimes, “incense burners.” Use the appropriate terminology or you may get the boot. (And don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.)



This should come as no surprise to anyone who smokes bud: you shouldn’t ever exhale through your bong. If you do exhale into your bong, you’re going to end up with wet weed and pissed off friends. This may sound silly, but novice pot smokers do this all the time. If you need a breather during your hit, either cover the top of the chamber (Figure 3.2) with the palm of your hand (to keep in the smoke), or breathe through your nose.



A “carb” prevents or permits outside air pressure into the chamber of your bong while simultaneously pushing the smoke into your lungs.  The “correct” way to use a carb is as follows:

Fill the chamber.  Fill the chamber with as much smoke as you think you can inhale.

Take a breather.  Catch your breath before you take your hit making sure to keep the carb covered.

Take the hit.  Let go of the carb and suck the smoke into your lungs in one smooth hit…coughing is acceptable on occasion.  If you do not finish your “load” in one hit, make sure to clear the chamber of “stale” smoke before you pass the bong.

Most advanced smokers will fill the chamber beyond its capacity to hold smoke.  They will then exhale the extra smoke and take in the chamber-smoke on their next inhalation.



Make sure your bong is filled (with water) to the appropriate level before you let anybody smoke from it. If the chamber is too full, you’re going to get bong water on your lips every time you take a hit. (Bong water tastes nasty!) Also, when you fill the bong too high, you run the risk of having water rise up the stem and soak your weed.


Not enough water is also a problem. The water’s surface should be at least one inch above the bottom of the stem to prevent harsher hits.



When the water gets murky, it begins to stink, and will negatively alter the taste of your bud. Also, if you keep the water fresh, you won’t have to clean your bong as often. If you own a small bong, you may want to change the water after every session. For larger bongs, once every month or two should be fine.



When you are packing the bowls for a “session” (two or more people gathered for the purpose of getting high), be mindful of how much weed to load for each person.


Here are some things to consider:

How much does this person normally smoke? You don’t want to pack more than somebody can “snap” (finish completely) in 2 or 3 hits.

Is it good weed or dirt? If the weed is really good, you’re not going to need much to get you high.

How many people are waiting for their turn? You may want to pack smaller bowls if the bong is taking too long to get around the circle.

How long does it need to last? If you’re running low on weed, or your weed has to last for a while, don’t pack huge bowls.

Is this weed from someone else’s stash? If you’re loading weed from someone else’s bag, don’t take the largest buds.



I hope you’re paying attention, because this is very important: unless you enjoy looking like a fool and a loser, don’t ever knock a bong over! This may sound harsh, but it’s a most heinous party foul to spill, or worse, shatter a bong. The spilt water can stink up a place for hours, even days. Furthermore, bong water may stain if spilled on carpet. I can only suggest that, no matter how high you get, you keep an eye out for any bong that might be underfoot.



When smoking from a bong, make sure to “snap” (finish completely) your bong load. When clearing the smoke in the chamber, suck the ash into the bong, you will hear a “snap” as the last of the ash is sucked from the bowl into the water. Usually, this can be accomplished with lung power alone, but keep a “poker” (any device used to clear a smoking utensil of ash and resin) handy just in case. (See “making a poker”)

Exceptions to this rule can be made for deep glass or metal bowls. Bongs of this type may be cornered, as you might with a pipe. However, even in these cases, the last person to get a good hit should snap the bowl. Also, make sure to finish in a timely manner. Some people have the nasty habit of telling long-winded stories when they’re holding the bong.  So, snap it and pass it.



Bubblers are a newer creation that utilize aspects of both pipes and bongs. They are usually about the size of a large glass pipe, however they draw smoke into their “bubble” and filter the smoke through water  like a bong.

If you are in the market for a portable smoking utensil that will hit ultra-smooth, you might want to consider this handy device.




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