11 Beginner Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Bong (plus two bonus tips)

So, you finally decided to upgrade your game by adding a bong to your arsenal of smoking devices. Good choice! A bong will significantly improve your smoking experience; it will get you super-high super-fast, while at the same time saving your lungs by cooling down, filtering and moisturizing the smoke. If you want to get flavourful, smooth clouds every time you hit the bong, follow each advice that we present you in this article.

1. Choose a borosilicate bong

Borosilicate glass is a special type of glass with a high resistance to heat stress. It is used in labs and kitchens all over the world, and it is also used to make most of the higher-end bongs and waterpipes on the market. Borosilicate glass is more expensive than soft glass; however, the investment will pay itself back in terms of superior performance, durability, and looks. Buy yourself a good borosilicate bong, take care of it, and it will serve you for a long time.     

2. Put the right amount of water in the bong

As obvious as it may sound, putting the right amount of water in your bong is one of the secrets to the perfect hit. Try this technique: put water in the bong until it reaches the downstem hole (the carb hole, if present, will be higher up), then pour a little bit of water out. Now, put the downstem in the bong and start inhaling from the mouthpiece, slowly at first, the gradually increasing the strength. If you feel some water splashing on your mouth, take out a little bit more water from the bong.

Micro adjustments

In general, the greater the amount of water in the bong, the greater the “chug”. So, if you prefer to have less chug, you’ll have to use the minimum amount of water in the bong. Add just enough water to cover the ending of the downstem, to make the bong bubble as you inhale. If the bong doesn’t produce bubbles, add a little bit more water. Read more about water levels here.

3. Use cold water and ice if you are smoking from your bong

The smoke coming from the burning herbs can be as hot as 900°C. It is thus important to cool it down as quickly as possible before it reaches your lungs. You can do this by using cold water in your bong, and adding a few cubes of ice. Some bongs are especially designed to be used with ice cubes. Remember: as the ice melts, the water level in your bong will increase.

4. Use warm water if you are vaping through your bong

Vapour from vaporizers is much cooler than the smoke coming from a burning bowl. So, you won’t have to worry too much about cooling vapour down before it reaches your lungs. As a matter of fact, you may prefer warm water in your bong when vaping. It may sound counter-intuitive, but warm water means that less vapour will condensate and stick to the bong walls without ever making it to your lungs. Another advantage of using warm water is that it is able to moisturize the harsh, dry vapour much better than cold water, for the benefit of your throat.

5. Use a hemp wick or a butane jet lighter to light up the bowl

The best way of lighting up a bong is by using a hemp wick. Second best is a jet flame lighter such as this one. Hemp is a 100% natural fiber that burns cleanly and leaves little to no contaminants; this means that you will get the purest flavour from your herbs, while at the same time protecting your lungs from nasty chemicals. In alternative, you can use a butane jet flame lighter; when you use high-quality refined butane, the only by-product of its combustion is going to be water vapour. This results in a smooth bowl from the very first hit to the last.

6. Change the water daily, and clean your bong often

While changing the water after every bowl might be an overshoot, changing the water in your bong after every session is a must. A bong with clean water looks better and hits better, whether you are using it for regular smoking or vaping. Whenever you’re not using the bong, leave it empty. This will prevent nasty bacteria and mould growths. Your lungs will be thankful.

Cleaning the bong

We like to have our bongs clean at all times. Bong are not simply stoner paraphernalia; they are beautiful expressions of human creativity – highly functional pieces of glass art capable of taking your weed to the next level. That’s why they deserve some respect…and some cleaning. Keep your bongs clean, and they’ll pay you back with the shining sparkles of borosilicate glass, and smooth hits every time. You can use a bong cleaning solution and a brush, or simply alcohol and salt.

7. Use the right type of bowl

Bong bowls come in different sizes and are optimized for different uses. Think of the function of your bong first: will you be using it for flower or concentrate? Would you like to clear the bowl in one big rip, or are you looking for a session-type bowl? Don’t pack a bowl of flower in your titanium nail, and don’t dab some precious rosin onto a traditional bowl. Choose the set up that suits your needs better, or opt for a bong that comes equipped with both the traditional bowl and the concentrates banger, such as the legendary Nautilus by Black Leaf.

8. Use the carb hole or lift up the downstem to get some air

Carb holes, sometimes referred to as “clutch”, and downstems, can be used to clear the bong in the final part of your rip. However, they can also be used in the middle of the action as a way to introduce some fresh, oxygen-rich air from outside into the bong. The air will mix with the thick smoke contained inside the bong, diluting it and reducing its temperature. You can also cover the mouthpiece of the bong with your hand in the middle of a rip to take a few breaths before finally clearing the chamber.

9. Light up only a corner of the bowl at the time

If you are sharing the bong with your friends in a session, you’ll want to smoke from a larger bowl. Large bowls are not meant to be cleared in one hit; they are meant to serve a session consisting of 4-5 hits or more. Light up only one corner of the bowl, take your hit, and then pass the bong around. Whoever comes second, will light up a different portion of the bowl, where the herbs are not burnt yet. This is also known as "cornering a bowl" or "bong bowl cornering".

10. Start small, don’t go for the biggest hits if you are new to bongs

Bong rips can be pretty intense, especially if you are using top-quality flowers; they tend to hit quite a bit faster and stronger than joint hits. This is one of the reasons why bongs are the preferred way of using cannabis among seasoned users, and one of the reasons why you should approach a bong cautiously if you are not experienced. Pack tiny bowls at the beginning, and move towards bigger bowls gradually as you build up experience and tolerance. 

11. Don’t mix your weed with tobacco

Mixing tobacco and weed is a popular way of consuming when it comes to joints (although more and more people everyday are choosing to smoke or vape pure cannabis, to avoid cigarettes’ nasty chemicals). However, mixing tobacco and weed in your bong is just gross. You’ll immediately notice the difference in smell from a bong that was used with tobacco and one without. Cigarette smoke smells bad, is tarry, contains cyanide, formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia, and a few radioactive elements among others. Cannabis smoke contains harmful chemicals too, but they are partly compensated by the beneficial effects of cannabinoids and flavourful terpens.

Pro tip 1: add some flavour to the bong water

Take your bong smoking experience to the next level by adding some flavour to the bong water. You can use some specifically-designed bong flavours, or simply add fruit peels, herbs and other substances to the water. With practice, you’ll be able to discover which flavours suit better the type of herbs you are using.

Pro tip 2: use mineral water

Tap water contains chemicals such as chlorine, as well as calcium and other minerals capable of staining the glass of your bong. A good practice to avoid inhaling chemicals while at the same time protecting your bong from sediments is to use mineral water instead of tap water. Every stoner knows that mineral water and cannabis is a match made in heaven!

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