How to pack a bowl for a bong?

7 min read
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Are you just getting into the 420 lifestyle or maybe you love rolling joints and never owned your own pipe before. Whatever reason you have for not knowing how to pack a bowl, there’s no need to feel bad about it. We all started somewhere and packing a bowl is a basic skill that’s just as important as mastering the art of joint rolling. In this article we’re going to explain what a bowl is, how to pack a bowl for a bong or pipe with step-by-step instructions, how to debowl and repack a bowl of weed, plus we’ve provided links to a few of our favorite bong bowls to add some excitement to your smoking sessions. After this, you’ll be packing and smoking a bowl like a pro. Let’s get into it! 

What is a bong bowl?

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First off, before contemplating how to pack a bowl properly, it’s best to start with the basics so you understand the importance of the bowl in conjunction with the rest of the bong or pipe. The bowl is the round part of a smoking device where ground cannabis buds are placed so it can be lit and inhaled. Bowls have a hole at the bottom, which allows air and smoke to flow into the water pipe when someone inhales through the mouthpiece. There are removable bowls like those used with most bongs and some bubblers, and fixed bowls such as those in pipes that require a carb hole to control airflow. When consuming cannabis, the bowl packing process is the most important step to achieving a smooth, even burn and a great smoking experience. Bowls come in various depths and you should choose one based on if you will have a solo smoking session or a group sesh since a larger bowl will have to be emptied and repacked less often. Bowls also have female or male joints with the most common size being 14mm male which is compatible with a 14mm female joint. You’ll also come across 10mm and 18mm bowl sizes.

What is a pipe screen and do I need one?

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When explaining how to pack a bowl, many people forget to mention pipe screens. While not necessary to lighting up, pipe screens make for a more enjoyable smoke sesh. These small pieces of metal mesh are placed at the bottom of the bowl of weed prior to packing and ensure that no large pieces of dry herb get inhaled. They work wonders in dry pipes and if your bowl has a large hole. Not only do these screens prevent ash from being inhaled, but they also save flower from falling through and will keep your pipe or bong water cleaner for longer. Pipe screens are very cheap and reusable, so they’re totally worth the extra cash and are crucial to packing the perfect bowl.

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How to pack a bowl

Even if you don’t smoke cannabis using a pipe or bong, you should still know how to pack a bowl since it’s a key part of cannabis culture. Being able to pack a bowl correctly makes a huge difference in the performance of a pipe and the smoke quality. There’s absolutely nothing worse than a poorly packed bowl that keeps going out in the middle of a smoke sesh. Luckily, it’s a pretty easy process, and with a little practice, you’ll be able to pack the perfect bowl in your sleep. Gather the following supplies and follow our step-by-step guide on how to properly pack a bowl.

Required materials

  • Herb grinder
  • Flower of choice
  • Pipe or bong with a bowl
  • Lighter or hemp wick
  • Optional: Rolling tray, pipe screen, tamping tool

How to pack a bowl

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  1. Grind up the dry herb - Some novice stoners try to put a full nug into the bowl and this is a huge waste of flower since it won’t produce smoke well. Instead, choose a medium-sized nug and break it up into smaller pieces, putting it inside the top of the herb grinder. Move the top and bottom of the grinder back and forth to grind up the bud until it’s a fluffy, uniform consistency for an even smoke. Avoid over grinding into a powder as this won’t burn. If you don’t own an herb grinder just yet, please get one as soon as possible, but in the meantime, you can break the nug up with your fingers or place it into a shot glass and snip away with scissors.
  2. Pack the bowl of weed - If you want to add a pipe screen to the bottom of the bowl, now’s the time to do it. Working over a rolling tray to catch any fallen herb, pack the bowl by pinching some ground flower with one hand and placing it inside the bowl you’re holding with the other. Put a little pinch into the bowl and gently tap the herb lightly using your fingers or a tool such as the bottom of a lighter. You don’t want to pack it down too tightly or it will not allow air to flow through the bowl and pull smoke down into the water chamber or pipe. Tamping it down too tightly or overfilling the bowl can also clog up the small hole at the bottom, affecting airflow.
  3. Light up the bowl - Now that you’re done packing a bowl, it’s time to give it a taste! If you’re using a regular pipe, hold it in one hand and cover the carb hole with a finger. Light the bowl using a lighter or a lit hemp string if you don’t want the butane flavor, and always corner the bowl. Cornering a bowl is good practice amongst the 420 community and means lighting just one small side of the bowl to make the smoking material last longer and allow everyone to get a hit when sharing with a group. Once the flower ignites, remove the flame and inhale lightly to accumulate smoke within the pipe. To take your first hit, remove your finger from the carb hole and inhale through the mouthpiece to clear the pipe in one go. Lighting a bong is a very similar process. Place the packed bowl into the joint of the bong, which should be filled with water. Corner the bowl using a lighter or hemp wick and inhale gently through the mouthpiece. Use enough force for the water to bubble and smoke will start to accumulate within the main chamber. To clear it, remove the bowl from the joint and take a large, hard hit from the mouthpiece. If your bong has a fixed bowl and downstem, it should have a carb hole. Use the carb hole just like a hand pipe to clear the piece and take a rip. You’ve done it!

How to debowl and repack a new bowl

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When it comes to annoying parts about smoking cannabis, aside from cleaning a smoking device, repacking bowls probably comes in as a close second. Be sure to choose the right bowl size for what you’ll be using it for to reduce the times you’ll need to debowl and repack mid session. For example, use a large, deep bowl when you’ll be passing the piece amongst a group and a smaller bowl for solo sessions since you should never leave flower in a bowl for later (it starts to taste stale). If you don’t have a debowler ashtray, empty out the ash from a finished bowl over a trash can and be sure to scrape out as much as possible so it doesn’t affect the flavor of your new bowl. Check to make sure there’s nothing blocking the hole or airpath. If using a pipe screen, don’t forget to keep it and clean it with hot water or isopropyl alcohol. Dry it completely before putting it back in the bottom of the bowl. Finally, repack a fresh bowl with ground cannabis using the steps above.

Best bong bowls

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Bowls may be an essential piece of smoking equipment, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fun too. Most bongs will come with a basic clear glass bowl, but you can easily add some personality to your glassware by swapping it out for a new one. Just be sure the joint size and type are compatible. Bowls are typically inexpensive and should be functional as much as they are eye-catching. You can find character bowls in the shape of your favorite superhero or video game character or simpler modern bowls that match any aesthetic. These are just a few of our favorites right now:

    • Zig Zag Bowl - For bongs with bowls placed in awkward positions, the Zig Zag Bowl is here to save the day! The long neck makes it easy to light and remove, plus adds extra cooling time to the setup.
    • Leaf Bowl - The Leaf Bowl shows off your love for the green goddess in the most beautiful way. The deep bowl sits on top of a thick glass leaf everyone will instantly recognize.
    • Colored Core Bowl - The Colored Core Bowl is a staple around these parts and is available in vibrant pink, green, orange, and blue to match any bong setup.
    • Pink Haida Bowl - Give your bong a fun upgrade with this design-forward bowl that’s cone-shaped and has a “tail” for easy removal.
    • Colorful Freezable Bowl - For comfortable and icy bong rips, you need the Colorful Freezable Bowl. Just pop it into the freezer and the liquid encasing the bowl will freeze and cool down each hit instantly.
    • Cactus Bowl - Available in three colors, this sleek bowl costs less than your morning coffee, but eludes a luxurious feel.
    • Honeybee Silicone Bowl - Accident prone tokers won’t need to worry with the Honeybee Silicone Bowl which is made from heat safe glass protected with a silicone skin and is compatible with 14mm or 18mm female joints.
    • Glitter Bowl - Add some sparkle to your next smoking sesh with the large Glitter Bowl meant for sharing. Blown from thick, opaque borosilicate glass mixed with teal or gold glitter, this bowl has a simple, yet unique look that will spice up any boring old piece.
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Now that you know the ins and outs of how to pack a bowl, why not get yourself a brand new borosilicate glass pipe, bong, or easy to reach bong bowl and practice the techniques you just learned? The EF420 online smoke shop has everything you need to get started as well as replacement parts and provides quick, discreet shipping right to your doorstep.

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