Person smoking who learned how to pack a bowl

How To Pack A Bowl

Stoners far and wide use the same lingo when it comes to preparing their smoke session. If you’re smoking a joint, you’ll likely hear that you’re going to “roll one up.” But if you’re smoking your herb from a pipe or bong, you’re going to need to know how to pack a bowl. While this is a relatively simple process, there are a few key components you’ll need to know to get started.

What You’ll Need

The Herb

The very first thing you’re going to need, whether you need to know how to pack a bong or a pipe, is your herb. Generally speaking, cannabis is what is smoked from pipes and bongs. Cannabis may be marijuana flower, which can be found at dispensaries in states where marijuana is legal. Others may choose hemp flower, which can be found at online retailers.

Some people also choose to pack tobacco into pipes, and even mix tobacco into their cannabis. The choice is entirely yours. What matters next is how you grind the herb you choose to pack.

The Grinder

Grinder for cannabis to pack a bowl


While it’s true that you can grind your herb the old fashioned way, by pulling it apart with your fingers, a tool you’ll find exceptionally handy for packing a proper bowl is a grinder. Grinders not only keep your fingers clean, they grind your herb evenly. They also catch the potent kief so you can top off your bowl with a little extra punch.

When you’re loading your grinder, you’ll want to remove the stems of your flower. You want to exclusively grind and smoke the bud, not the stems. Not only do the stems contain none of cannabis’s effects, they do not burn well and make for a poor smoke experience.

Rolling Trays

When you’re just beginning to learn how to pack a bong, you don’t necessarily need a rolling tray, but stoners around the world know how valuable a rolling tray can be. A rolling tray is a dedicated clean surface to work with your herb. It will catch the little bits that inevitably fall off when you’re plucking your bud and getting ready to grind. It can also catch any flower that falls out of your grinder when it opens.

You’ll quickly learn that when you pack a bowl, your grind is loose and will fall around the bowl as you add it in. A rolling tray will catch it so you can scoop up clean herb and continue packing.

The Bowl

This list would not be complete without your bowl. The term “bowl” is often used interchangeably between silicone or glass bongs and pipes. A bong bowl is the removable piece that holds your herb and attaches to your bong. A pipe is all one piece and the bowl is not removable.

Packing Your First Bowl

Bong for learning how to pack a bowl


Now that you have the tools to make packing a bowl easy, it’s time to get to work. For the most part, you can simply add some of your grind to the bowl of your pipe or bong bowl. How much you add will determine how many hits you will get from your bowl. Keep in mind that you don’t want to overpack your bowl. This will make it harder to draw and can cause herb to clog the hole.

Once you’ve added your herb to the bowl, give it a light press to tamp it down a bit. Again, don’t press too hard, you don’t want to over-pack it. Now you’re ready to smoke.

Spark It Up

Now that you’ve learned how to pack your bong or pipe, you’re ready to spark your flame and apply it to the herb. If you’re smoking from a bong, you’ll want to make sure that the water does not go more than about half an inch higher than the downstem. Otherwise you might have to pull harder to get your smoke, plus you risk getting water in your mouthpiece and no one wants that.

Tips For A Good Smoke

If this is one of your first bowls, start slow and get a feel for how hard you want to hit. If you’ve packed a bowl in a pipe, you may find the smoke makes you cough. Choosing a pipe with a longer chamber can help give the smoke more time to cool. But if you find that smoking from a pipe is a little too harsh, you can always learn how to pack a bong instead.

Bongs filter the smoke through water, which cools the smoke and makes the experience smoother. Oftentimes, smokers find a pipe to be more convenient for quick seshes. As with all smoke experiences, the type of bowl you pack is entirely up to you.

You will also want to ensure that you dump the herb in your bowl once it is “cashed,” or has no more smoke to give. Ensure that all embers in your cashed bowl are out and discard it safely in an ashtray or down the drain. Be sure that you clean your bong or pipe regularly with a quality cleaner to ensure all the resin and residue are cleared away.

It’s About Practice

Learning how to pack a bowl does have some basic tools and techniques which we’ve covered here. But the real key to learning how to pack your perfect bowl takes one additional ingredient, and that is practice. From the moment you spark up your first bowl you will learn if you packed it too loose or too tight. You will learn if you need to add more herb or less, and you will get better at it with each bowl you pack.

Whether you’re learning how to pack a bong or the bowl of a pipe, you are crafting your own personal smoke style. Smoke King’s online smoke shop not only has all the tools you need to pack the perfect bowl, our team has the expertise you need to get all of your questions answered by the smoke professionals.

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