Vapman Pure: An Extensive Review and In-depth User’s Guide
Part One: Unboxing the Vapman Pure and First Impressions
Intro: Long live the Vapman!
The Vapman is a portable wooden butane vaporizer, hand-made in a secluded valley nestled in the majestic Italian Alps. It boasts impeccable craftsmanship, ingenious design, and produces heaps of delicious vapour. Known and loved since 2005 for its efficiency and high-fidelity flavour delivery, Vapman has now returned, upgraded and dressed in gorgeous olive wood to conquer the heart of all vapers. Read this review/guide to learn everything there is to know about this tiny wooden beast.
Vapman: The return of a legendary butane vaporizer
Vapman’s story is fascinating. This is a truly unique vaporizer; it is the brainchild of René, a Swiss Mister Geppetto and genius inventor who created and launched it for the first time in 2005. That was way ahead of time, though. Back then, butane-powered dry herb vaporizers weren’t much of a thing. Vapman was therefore destined to please only a small community of enthusiastic fans. But today, the world is ready for Vapman’s grand return.
After a period of hiatus, the production passed in the hands of David and Michael, two master artisans based in South Tyrol, Italy. South Tyrol is a land of forests and mountains: there hardly is a better place where to build a vaporizer made of wood, copper, gold and, in the case of the Classic, mica (a mineral abundant in the region). It is also home to some of the most skilled woodcarvers worldwide. Vapman most recent embodiment features all the characteristics of the original, plus a couple of tweaks that further improve its already legendary efficiency.
The Pure and The Classic: two sides of the same Vapman
There are two models of Vapman, the Pure and the Classic. Both work in the same way and are almost identical, except for the Classic’s mica heat shield (mica is a naturally occurring mineral). The mica shield in the Vapman Classic covers the inner part of the wooden heartpiece, providing protection for the wood and improving its thermal properties a bit. The Pure lacks the mica layer; instead, it has a thicker wooden heartpiece that will harden through use, with heat and time.
Figure 1 - Vapman arrives in the Canary Islands
Unboxing the Vapman
The first thing you’ll notice when receiving your Vapman is the degree of care with which the packaging has been thought-out and realized. All units reach their new homes in a handy repurposable wooden box, approximately 13cm x 13cm x 6 cm. On the back of the box, there’s the company statement.
David and Michael carefully inspect each item included, then seal the box with a hand-signed sticker. The guys are putting their hearts into what they are doing while taking full responsibility for the customer’s satisfaction. Keeping such a mindful approach in a world dominated by mass-produced vaporizers is admirable.
Figure 2 - The quality seal, signed
Inside the box, wrapped in eco-friendly materials, you’ll find:
- A detailed user’s manual printed on recycled paper
- A maintenance kit with a brush/scraper tool, a loading funnel and a small Phillips screwdriver
- A Vapman-branded butane torch (shipped empty) with a large, transparent fuel tank. The torch looks solid, and comes in a handy hemp fiber bag.
- A weird-looking egg made of hemp plastic. That’s where a Vapman comes from; like a Pokemon, but way way cooler.
Figure 3 – Box content, from left to right: user guide, hemp pouch, jet lighter, mouthpieces, maintenance tools, funnel, concentrate screen, egg, unit
Inside the egg, a Vapman vaporizer. Either a Pure or a Classic Vapman, complete with its mouthpiece. Users can choose whether to purchase the Pure version, or the slightly more expensive Classic (with mica shield). The egg also contains a handy loading funnel.
Units come equipped with a Delrin (a.k.a. P.O.M.) plastic standard mouthpiece. This is not just average plastic; Delrin is a high-tech, high-quality material that is 100% safe and vapor-compatible. For a few euros more, you can upgrade to a steel, titanium or wooden mouthpiece, each with its own distinctive character.
Other upgrades available are:
- An extra-long borosilicate glass mouthpiece
- A medical grade stainless-steel screen for concentrates and microdosing
The unit itself
Pop the egg open, and out comes a Vapman. The unit itself is minute, approximately 3 cm in diameter and 5 cm high with the standard mouthpiece. It immediately strikes for the beauty of the wood’s grain, highlighted by a super-polished finish, for the impeccable craftsmanship, for the unusual appearance. This thing looks as if it came straight out of a steampunk novel. It has a stunning retro-futuristic look. It reminds me of a gentleman’s tobacco pipe, but from another dimension.
Figure 3 - A brand-new olive wood Vapman Pure unit with a shiny stainless-steel mouthpiece
As per the instruction manual, the Vapman has three main parts:
- The Mouthpiece, whether the standard, wooden, steel, glass or titanium one.
- The Middlepiece, the wooden section that incorporates the stainless-steel screen and the airholes.
- The Heartpiece, with the gold-plated copper heating chamber and its nozzles, the heat protection (wood or wood and mica) and the springs.
Figure 4 - The unit, disassembled in its three parts (heartpiece, middlepiece, mouthpiece). Next to it, some of the accessories
The parts are custom-made using the finest natural materials and fit together perfectly. The unit as a whole feels smooth, ergonomic and warm to the touch. Vapman is more than a butane vaporizer; it is one of those hard-to-find objects capable of creating a deep bond with the owner. A little bit like a musical instrument.
The heating chamber: an alchemic crucible
Vapman’s heating chamber deserves a paragraph on its own. It is a tiny, conical-shaped bowl made of gold-plated copper, with a vertical rod in the middle for enhanced heat distribution. Copper is all over the news nowadays when it comes to butane vaporizers. It excels at conducting heat, more than 20 times better than steel. Gold, on the other side, preserves all the herb’s terpenes and flavour. It looks like a very, very promising little heating chamber, but…
Figure 5 - The unit, open and with the gold-plated copper heating chamber exposed. The loading funnel is installed for easy loading
Will it perform well? Vapman’s performance on the first bowl
I’m still on the first day of my life as the owner of a Vapman Pure. Only a few hours have passed since I released Vapman from its egg, and I must have already vaped something like 25 bowls. So, by the time I’m writing these paragraphs, I’m not exactly at the first bowl anymore. And, I’m in love with this tiny vape.
Figure 6 - Fully-loaded heating chamber. It packs approximately 0.1 grams of dried ground flowers
First, I twisted the middlepiece anticlockwise to open the bowl. Loading the first bowl was weird. It was a little fiddly, but the loading funnel helped. Also, filling it required less herb than I expected; approximately 0.1 grams (that’s slightly less than a Dynavap bowl). Once loaded, I placed the middlepiece back into position and turned clockwise to lock it.
Figure 7 - The unit, closed and set for torching
For the first heat cycle, I used Vapman's proprietary butane torch. I set the flame to its minimum. The manual details the flame lengths and heating times; however, I love danger and decided to simply charge my way to the perfect cloud.
Vapman has no temperature clicks, blips, or flashing LEDs. This is going to be fun, I thought. I fired the tip of the flame right in the middle of the heartpiece, where the nipple of the copper bowl is. I torched for four seconds, stopped for three seconds, torched for four seconds more. Vapman responded with some mini-swirls of vapour from the airholes as my lips approached the steel mouthpiece. We are friends already! Then, I took a hit.
The first thing I’ve noticed during the hit, is Vapman’s smooth, unrestricted airflow. This is quite different from other conduction vaporizers I know, that offer a lot of resistance to the draw. Vapman delivers its vapor gracefully, without effort.
The first hit was fresh, smooth, super-terpy. The flavour is one-to-one with the terpene profile of the herb; Vapman’s vapour exactly tastes like if you were smelling freshly-ground bud. There might be a slight woody undertone, but it is more of a feeling than a flavour, if you know what I mean. After exhaling, the terpenes persisted in the mouth for a good while.
In the middlepiece, there are three small airholes. Their function is to cool down the vapour by sucking in cool air, far from the heating elements. I kept the airholes open at all times during my first bowl, and started playing with them only on later bowls. Vapman delivered satisfying vapour even with all the airports open.
To take the next hit, I just warmed up the bowl again. Stirring between one hit and the other is not necessary. This time, I kept the torch on the bowl for approximately four seconds, then took a hit. The flavour was still great; it didn't degrade sharply as with other vaporizers.
One Vapman bowl can last anywhere between four and six hits, depending on torching technique. On my first bowl, using a fairly aggressive torching technique, I was able to get five hits. The first two hits were super-terpy and heady, the fourth and the fifth were less tasty but noticeably packed with narcotic cannabinoids, the third hit was sort of in-between.
The effects were surprisingly intense. During the session, I felt the terpenes and the heady buzz typical of certain cannabinoids. A few minutes after the session, I started noticing the heavily relaxing effects of CBD. Vapman’s copper heart truly is a conduction powerhouse capable of appeasing experienced users.
Emptying the bowl
Once finished, I opened the bowl to check the AVB. It looked evenly cooked, nice and brown. I used the included brush to empty it. As suggested by the manual, I cleaned the stainless-steel screen on the middlepiece with a cloth. In a breeze, the shiny golden bowl was like new and ready to roast some more herbs.
Figure 8 - The unit, right after clearing a bowl. The AVB is dark brown and evenly cooked. Notice the reclaim oozing out of the middlepiece; this is normal
After a few more bowls
Using the Vapman is super fun, and I’m finding myself loving this little butane vaporizer more and more. One thing I’ve noticed is that there’s quite a bit of reclaim seeping out from the middle piece, between the steel screen and the wood. I believe this is normal, though, and won’t affect function.
I’ll now spend some days using the Vapman to gather more insight for the upcoming review and user manual. Stay tuned to learn how Vapman handles back-to-back bowls of premium homegrown bud, concentrates and hash, how the different mouthpieces feel, how it performs through water, pros and cons, portability, stealthiness, deep cleaning and much more.
Figure 9 - Notice the similarities. Bet these two guys were both designed with the help of some brain-enhancing herbs
Part two a.k.a. 100 bowls later: everything I’ve learned about Vapman so far
Intro: a Vapman’s Wiki
Three days have passed since the unboxing, and I can count more than 100 Vapman bowls cleared, all by myself. It was a hard job, but someone had to do it. I’ve now collected enough insight to write a full-fledged Wiki, much more than just a review. So here it is, ladies and gentlemen; a complete resource on the magical Vapman vaporizer, one of my favourite things ever.
On aging well: Vapman’s ripening through a couple of days of heavy use
As mentioned on the official website, Vapman is like a living creature that evolves and matures together with its owner. It literally changes from day to day, or even from use to use. It’s almost therapeutical, as Vapman forces its owner to welcome and embrace transformation. After approximately 100 bowls, the most noticeable changes involve:
The bowl lost a little bit of its golden shine in favour of a distinctive patina caused by herbs and heat. It seems not to affect flavour or performance in any way. Like a copper skillet, the bowl seems to be getting better with each use.
The middlepiece changed colour in the proximity of the stainless-steel screen. It now shows a beautiful gradient of dark brown, red brown and light brown. The function is unaffected. You will find more information about the middlepiece in a dedicated paragraph.
The wooden heat shield
The wooden heat shield that encases the copper bowl has changed colour. It is now slightly darker in some areas due to heat. In the Vapman Pure, this process is normal and doesn’t affect the lifespan of the product or the flavour of the vapour. Vapman Classic’s mica shield prevents the wood from charring.
Figure 10 - Detail of the bowl and middlepiece after vaping approximately 100 bowls. Notice the patina on the bowl, the slight charring on the heat shield (bottom left side), the reclaim on the middlepiece
On friendship: impressions after a few days vaping with Vapman
I haven’t touched any other vaporizer in my collection since the day I received the Vapman. As you might have guessed, I love this vaporizer and I consider it one of the coolest things I own. Why is it so? These are some of the characteristics that make Vapman a very special friend:
1. It’s easy and fun to use
No clicks, no blips, just freedom; Vapman’s simplicity of use and personality puts a smile on my face each and every time I use it.
2. It feels great in the hand
Vapman’s combination of ergonomic shape and wooden construction feels amazing in the hand. Every curve, every surface is designed to be meaningful. Vapman is small enough to hide in one’s hand. As you vape along, it becomes pleasantly warm.
3. It’s gentle on the throat
Vapman is one of the smoothest vaporizers I know. I find its vapour to be significantly smoother compared to other vaporizers. This is amazing, for a vaporizer with such a short airpath.
4. It’s fast and effective
Vapman is ready to deliver the first vapour after just six seconds or less. Other butane vaporizers can take up to 45 seconds to reach optimal temperature. Vapman also cools down pretty fast, making it one of the fastest-hitting conduction vaporizers. In the long run, it saves a lot of butane.
5. It stands everywhere on its own
Without thinking too much, I can just place the Vapman on any flat surface within reach. Even when it’s hot. And there it stays, without rolling away or falling.
6. It’s safe
Some butane vaporizers feature exposed metal tips that can cause severe burns if mishandled. Vapman’s heating chamber is enclosed in a heat shield that prevents accidental burns. This feature contributes to the feeling of friendliness that this device is capable of giving.
On Vapman’s heating chamber: a heart of gold
The heating chamber is Vapman’s gold-plated copper heart. It’s like a tiny golden wok for fairies’ food, or one of those leprechaun pots; in two words, pure magic. The tiny bowl does not hold a big load (less than 0.1 grams of ground bud) but extracts like a beast, thanks to a couple of clever features:
- It is made of copper. Copper is one of the best heat conductors. Nuff said.
- It is mounted on three legs. These legs are in fact air nozzles that inject directly into the heating chamber, providing added convection for even extraction.
- It is close to the mouthpiece. Vapman’s heating chamber is placed so close to the mouthpiece that you can almost hear it singing while inhaling. Seriously, you can actually hear the herbs frying and steaming out droplets of cannabinoids and terps. At the same time, the heating chamber is deeply and safely enclosed in wood.
- It recycles reclaim. I’m not sure if this is by design or serendipity, but Vapman’s heating chamber has another cool feature. Because of its shape, it condenses reclaim right behind the stainless-steel screen in the middlepiece. As a result, on the next heating cycle the reclaim will vaporize (instead of dripping down a stem and condensing, for example), adding some extra spice to each hit.
On Vapman’s middlepiece: just like a fine wine barrel
I was dubious at first, but I now see the middlepiece as one of the peculiarities that make Vapman such a special vaporizer. The middlepiece is wooden, so, as you vape, it will absorb oils and terpenes. With time, the bottom part of the middlepiece will change colour to a darker reddish-brown and will become a reclaim-powered flavour chamber. Think of wooden barrels and aging wines, for comparison.
- Ergonomic feel. Vapman’s wooden middlepiece is very nicely tapered. Many users like to manipulate the three little airholes while inhaling; to do so, they hold the Vapman by its middlepiece. The taper, therefore, feels super-natural.
Figure 11 - Color change on the middlepiece due to oils and terpenes. Notice the gentle curves of the tapered section
On olivewood and its grain: a natural wonder
Olivewood is a remarkable material. It has excellent mechanical properties: it is hard, dense, capable of withstanding heat. Aesthetically, it boasts a beautiful marbled grain with shades of yellow, light brown, brown, light green and grey. Olivewood is also capable of conditioning the vapour by making it smooth and adding a faint buttery undertone to it.
On Vapman’s learning curve: taming the wild beast
Vapman’s learning curve is more of a myth than anything else. Beginners shouldn’t feel intimidated by this vaporizer. Carefully following the instructions contained in the manual is the safest place to start; spending time with Vapman does the rest. Three or four days are enough to develop a sixth sense for vapour. Other best practices for the ultimate clouds are:
- Prepare the herbs. Use a grinder or a pair of small scissors to prepare the herbs. Vapman seems to prefer a fine grind.
- Load on top of the grinder. Troy from VapeZone420 deserves the credit for this technique. Forget the loading funnel; just load Vapman over the grinder’s weed chamber.
- Blow before you heat. Before heating, close the Vapman and blow on the bottom part to remove small particles that may combust.
- Listen to the voice. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear Vapman telling you when vapour is ready. Don’t be shy with the heat.
- Check the vapour with a puff. Gently blow in the mouthpiece after heating to check if the vapour production has reached a satisfying level. If not, heat some more.
- Play with all three holes (warning: adult content). Feel free to play around with the holes on the middlepiece to get sexier clouds.
- Clean the bowl after each use. Use the brush/scraper tool, or a tool of your choice, to swipe the bowl clean after each use. Use a cloth to clean the stainless-steel screen.
On stuff you vape: how Vapman handles stuff
Vapman is a versatile device; it shines with flower, but handles concentrates just as well. Top-quality full-melt hash is among Vapman’s favourite foods. So, if you really care for your device, feed him often with such kind of delicacies.
- Vapman and flower is a classic. Vaping flowers is what Vapman does best.
- Kief vaporizes perfectly on the optional concentrates screen, although it can form some carbon if not pure. A good way to use kief is to sprinkle it on top of a bowl of ground bud.
- Hash and concentrates. I recommend sprinkling on top of ground bud anything below 4-star hash. Full-melt can be vaporized pure using the concentrates screen. The same applies to rosin, shatter and wax.
A massive shoutout goes to OceanView Social Club (Instagram: oceanviewcsc) for providing some of the dankest strawnana bubble hash ever. Full-melt in the Vapman is awesome!
Figure 12 - Vapman with its concentrates screen, loaded with a Strawnana bubble hash donut. Full-melt bubble hash made by OceanView Social Club
On Vapman mouthpieces: all for one, one for all
Vapman can be customised to better suit the user’s needs with five different mouthpieces. All mouthpieces share the same shape, except for the glass one, which is approximately three times longer than the other ones. The mouthpieces are available in:
1. Delrin, a.k.a. POM
“I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth”
This is the standard Vapman mouthpiece. It has a distinctive mushroom shape that may or may not appear a little odd at first, but in fact it’s a joy to use.
“First name Mister. Last name Glass.”
A classy, extra-long mouthpiece made of the finest borosilicate glass. Glass preserves all the flavours of the herbs, while the longer vapour path delivers cool, fluffy clouds.
“I am Groot”
A personal favourite. The wooden mouthpiece has a velvety, warm feel that’s just perfect for those colder winter days. With time, wood will absorb the oils from the herbs as well as the ones from your skin. Your DNA and the plant’s will be forever bonded in a unique and very personal patina!
“Ride eternal, shiny and chrome”
Steel and wood look amazing together on a Vapman. This mouthpiece is made of shiny stainless steel of the highest quality. It’s super-easy to clean, hygienic, respectful towards flavour and eternal.
“Hasta la vista, baby”
I didn’t test the titanium mouthpiece. I’d expect it to have similar properties to steel, with a slightly lower mass and a bronzish hue.
On waterpipes: how does Vapman work through a waterpiece?
Vapman works great in combination with a waterpiece. Its middlepiece fits natively a 14 mm bong; however, I recommend wrapping some Teflon tape around the part close to the mouthpiece. Doing so will prevent the wood from being scratched by the glass. Furthermore, the tape closes the airholes, allowing for milkier bong hits. I love vaping through water, and use most of my vaporizers in combination with a waterpipe. However, Vapman’s vapour is super smooth and gentle on the throat; water filtration is superfluous.
Figure 13 - Vapman ready to fire through water. Wrapped in Teflon tape for protection
On microdosing with the Vapman: grab your miniaturizing guns!
Everybody says that Vapman is excellent for microdosing, especially in combination with the concentrates screen. I guess we’ll have to trust them on this one.
On Vapman’s pros and cons: it’s honesty time
Does Vapman even have a single week point? Well, it does. It isn’t kryptonite.
- Vapman delivers amazing flavours
- Its vapour is smooth and gentle on the throat
- It’s great for flower, hash, microdosing
- It’s super-efficient and will save you a lot of herbs and butane
- The airflow is fantastic
- It’s superbly handcrafted using natural materials
- It feels great in the hand
- It is fun to use, the ritual is unique; you can even practice breathing and meditation while using it
- It doesn’t mess up tolerance
- It could be easier to load
- It can only be used with jet lighters (or its legendary heating station)
- You need decent eyes and steady hands to torch it
- You cannot really collect reclaim
- Mica protection helps if you are not very accurate with the torch
- International flights with Vapman aren’t a good idea
On others: how Vapman deals with society
Vestratto Anvil. Vestratto is designed to hit you with a full-bowl, extracted and delivered all in one go. It’s a bong-milking machine, in this sense. Vapman stands on the opposite side of the spectrum. It shines at delivering joy through a more relaxed, paced session.
Vapcap. Vapcaps tend to fully extract in three to four heating cycles, depending on the heating technique. Flavour-profile tends to degrade consistently from one hit to the other. Vapcaps fall somewhere in between the Vapman and the Anvil.
Sticky Brick. Sticky Brick are hard to compare with Vapman, since they are 100% convection. They share with Vapman the warm feel of wooden vaporizers.
On Vapman maintenance: taking care of a good friend
Vapman is a low-maintenance vaporizer. Apart from cleaning the bowl and the screen after each bowl, it doesn’t not need much attention. However, once every couple of months or so, or anytime you feel like the airflow is restricted, you might want to do a deeper cleaning.
What you’ll need
- Vapman’s maintenance kit (brush/scraper, screwdriver)
- Paper towels
- A small jar
- Some high-proof alcohol (pure ethanol if you want to collect reclaim)
- A qtip
- A needle
- A pipe-cleaner
What to do
First of all, separate mouthpiece, middlepiece and heartpiece. Keep the wooden parts away from water and alcohol. Then:
- Drop the mouthpiece in alcohol. Soak for two-three minutes, then remove and clean with a pipe cleaner. Then, rinse under running water and dry. This doesn’t apply to the wooden mouthpiece.
- Disassemble the stainless-steel screen. Use the included screwdriver (the screwdriver works on all Vapman’s screws) and unscrew the two screws that hold the screen in place. Throw screws and screen in alcohol, let them soak for a while, then rinse and dry.
- Airholes and nozzles. Use a needle to remove debris from the airholes on the middlepiece and the nozzles on the bowl.
- (Optional) Soak the middlepiece in acetone. Let it soak overnight, then let it dry completely the next day. Acetone won’t harm wood and will evaporate completely. You can do the same thing with the wooden mouthpiece.
- (Optional) Clean the bowl. Use a damp qtip to remove carbon deposits by gently rubbing the bowl with it. Use the brush/scraping tool to gently scrape off debris. It’s easier to clean the bowl when warm, so make sure you vape some herb before starting.
- Concentrates. If you are using the concentrates screen, clean it after every use with alcohol and running water for best results. Dry well before use.
- Reassemble everything. Reassemble with care, making sure to not overtighten the screws that hold the stainless-steel screen. Leave them half-a-turn unscrewed.
On outdoor use: Vapman out into the wild
Compared to other butane vaporizers, I found Vapman to be a better performer in the open air. The bowl heats up quickly and vapour production is consistent. Wind can affect the heating to some extent; for better performance, point the torch in the direction of the wind, not against it.
On Vapman’s discreetness: freedom begins when you have nothing to hide
When it comes to vaping in public, we all have our secret ninja techniques. Vapman is stealthy and classy enough to be used in public without looking overly suspicious. It can be easily concealed in the palm of the hand, and the heating ritual is quick and discreet. Use at own risk, though.
On making the most of your device: Vapman tips and tricks
Here’s a couple of tips and tricks I came up with in these first days of use. I’d like to share them with the community, hoping that they’ll help you make the most of your Vapman.
Foam in the egg
Memory foam earplugs are a low-cost, high-return tweak for the Vapman egg. Just cut a slice from an earplug and place it in the centre point on the inside of the top-half of the egg. This way, the Vapman fits nice and snug in it with no rattling.
Give it a puff
To check if the vapour production satisfies you, gently blow close to the mouthpiece after heating. You’ll see swirls of vapour coming out from the nozzles. See if the vapour is dense enough and adjust the heating accordingly.
Wrap in Teflon tape to use with waterpipes
If you don’t have a waterpiece adapter and would like to use the Vapman through water, wrap the top part of the middlepiece (close to the mouthpiece) with two or three rounds of Teflon tape. This way, you’ll protect the wood and close the airholes temporarily for denser vapour. You can also poke the Teflon with a toothpick if you wish to have some of the airholes open.
Collect the reclaim from the glass stem
Vapman likes keeping some reclaim for himself; however, the glass mouthpiece condenses quite a lot of it through regular use. Use the reclaim to make stem milk, reclaim capsules, or even dabs.
Vapman’s golden rule: tip to tip for perfect hit
Aim the lighter right at the lower point of the heating chamber; that’s all you need to do to roast the herbs evenly.
Figure 14 - A little slice of foam pressed in the top-half of the egg