How to Pack a Bowl: The Complete Guide

How to Pack a Bowl: The Complete Guide

How to Pack a Bowl

Improper packing of a bowl can lead to bad hits, wasted cannabis, and an overall subpar smoking experience. In less than 5 minutes, this article can transform any beginner smoker into an expert in packing bowls.

This article will discuss basic terminology, materials, airflow and best practices for packing bowls like a true cannabis connoisseur. Carefully read the steps and the quick tips to enjoy perfectly packed bowls for the rest of your life!

What is a Bowl?

A bowl is the part of a pipe or bong in which cannabis is packed into. A bowl can be made of different materials and can vary in shape but they all serve the same purpose: to hold your herbs while you light them up.

Types of Bowls

The bottom of the bowl will lead to the main chamber or your pipe or bong. This is where the smoke travels before reaching your lungs. The main chamber is also the part of your smoking device where the ash will accumulate.

A bowl in a pipe will usually have a carb hole next to in order to properly control the size of your hits. Covering the carb hole allows for smoke to build in the chamber while releasing it allows for maximum airflow which will pull the smoke into your lungs.

Bong bowls are made from glass or metal. A bowl in a bong typically does not have a carb hole but it is usually removable. To control the airflow in a bong, simply remove the bowl after the smoke has accumulated.

Some bongs that don't have easily removeable bowls may have a carb hole on the side of the main chamber. Is it important to check the specifics of your bong before smoking. If all this sounds complicated, don't worry! We will break down the exact steps shortly!

What you need to Pack a Bowl

"If I only had an hour to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe." -Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln understood the importance of proper tools and preparation, and so should you. Having the right tools to pack a bowl is 75% of the work.

Here are the basic supplies you will need to pack a bowl:

  • Cannabis Buds

  • Grinder (Preferably with a Kief Catcher)

  • A bong or pipe

  • A Lighter, Torch or Hemp Wick

  • Tamping Tool (something to pack it down)

Tools to pack a bowl

How to Pack a Bowl - Step by Step

Now that we understand what a bowl is and what are the supplies needed to pack one, we are ready to move onto the meat of this article. The steps on how to pack a bowl.

  1. Choose Your Strain

Sativa vs Indica strains for packing a bowl

The very first step to a perfect bowl and an amazing smoke session is to choose a strain that is right for the occasion. The right strain is determined by the time of day, your personal preference, and what activities you will be enjoying while high.

If you are looking to relax and unwind, choose and indica dominant strain with a powerful body effect. If you want a daytime high to ride your skateboard around the neighborhood, consider smoking a sativa.

Every strain is different, so finding the ones that are right for you will take some trial and error. The best way to do this is to use a strain journal and keep track of your experiences.

  1. Grind the Weed

Once, you have selected the perfect strain for the occasion, it is time to break up your nugs. The perfect bowl requires very small pieces of cannabis to ensure an even burn.

Start by removing the stems from your bud and placing the medium sized nugs into your grinder. Then twist and twist and twist. Unlike when rolling a blunt, there is no such thing as "too small." Your buds should end up finely grinded.

Grinded weed ready to pack into a bowl

Tip: Grinding your buds down this small will cause a lot of the trichomes and THC to fall off, that is why we recommend using a grinder with a Kief Catcher

  1. Pack the Bowl

Now that you have perfectly grinded cannabis, it is time to pack the perfect bowl. Packing a bowl properly takes practice, so don't be discouraged if you don't the exact amount on the first try.

Start by getting a big nug and place it as the first thing in the bowl. This will prevent the finely grounded weed from falling into the chamber. Once the base is set, grab a pinch of the smaller pieces and place it into the bowl.

Pack the herb lightly using your fingers or a packing tool. You want to make sure the bowl is tightly packed but not too tight that the airflow is restricted. It will take some practice to get the perfect pack.

Tip: Pack your bowl over a tray or a clean surface to ensure that any spilled weed is easily recovered.

Pro Tip: Once the bowl has been packed with the finely ground weed, sprinkle some kief on top to double the amount of THC in your bowl.

Kief for packing a bowl
  1. Smoke

Once you have your perfectly packed bowl, it is time to begin the smoking session. Place your lips on the mouthpiece and start by taking a test drag to ensure the airflow is optimal. Then take your lighter or hemp wick over the bowl and begin inhaling gently. (You only need to light the bowl for 1-2 seconds, so don't overdo it.)

Once the smoke has filled the chamber, release the carb cap or bowl and inhale all the smoke. You have now successfully take the perfect hit.

  1. Ash Your Bowl

Once all of the herb has been burnt, it is time to empty your bowl. Turn your bowl upside down and gently tap it to get the ash to fall out. If the ash is sticky, use a tool to scrape it out.

  1. Clean your Piece

Cleaning your pipe/bowl regularly is the most neglected step when it comes to maintaining a high quality smoke sesh. A dirty piece will restrict the airflow as well as have a negative effect on the flavor of your hits. If you are a daily user make sure to clean your pieces at least once per week. We have a full guide on how to clean a glass piece.

A good rule of thumb is to clean your pieces every 3-4 sessions or any time you see a build-up of black material or resin. This will preserve the taste and quality of your herbs.

Common Questions about Packing Bowls

How Much Weed Does It Take to Pack a Bowl?

The exact amount of weed it takes to pack a bowl will depend on the size of the bong bowl. Start by grinding anywhere from .2-.5 grams into the bowl. Those who are more experienced may be able to pack a whole gram into the bowl.

Note: One hitters will require a smaller amount of weed, while some bowls can be large enough to fit an entire eighth (3.5 grams). Make sure to experiment with your specific bowl to find the amount that is right for you.

How do I Pack a Bowl if I don't have a Grinder?

If you don't have a grinder, it is not the end of the world. Simply hand-grind your weed as small as you can. It make take a while, but the smaller the buds, the more even smoke. You can also explore alternative DIY grinders such as sharp scissors.

What is "Cornering" a Bowl?

"Cornering" a bowl means only lighting a small section of the bowl. Cornering bowls is proper smoking etiquette when smoking in a large group. When only a small section of the bowl is burnt, that ensures everyone in the session will get some green in their hit. Cornering is especially important when someone else is smoking you out.

Note: If you are planning on finishing the bowl in one hit, then it is ok not to corner the bowl. But don't be that guy that takes a micro hit from the center of the bowl.

Cornering can be done with both pipes and bongs. To corner a bowl, simply hover the flame over the corner of the bowl rather than the center. Inhale with a slow yet consistent breath and try burn deeply into the bowl rather than just the surface.

What is a "Cheeried" Bowl?

A cheeried bowl is a bowl that stays lit over time instead of needing to be relit for every hit. This is achieved when you have a tightly packed bowl and a strong lighter. If the bowl is cheeried, make sure you let others in the sesh know so they can hit it without wasting too much bud.

How do I know When to Repack my Bowl?

It is time to repack the bowl once all of the THC has been consumed. A bowl that is completely finished will be reduced to gray/white ash and will have no more green or brown in it. Use a tool to clean out the burnt weed from your bowl and repeat the steps to packing a bowl of weed.

If you are a high budget stoner, repack your bowls once all the green is gone to ensure a great taste in every hit.

How to Tight Should I pack the Bowl?

The bowl should be packed as tightly as possible while not restricting any airflow. Use your finger or a packing tool to push down the herbs into the bowl and place more weed on top.

Take a test drag out of your bong/pipe. If you have any difficulty pulling, use your tool to take out all of the cannabis from the bowl and try again.

Note: If your bong/pipe always has restricted airflow, it is time for a deep cleaning.

Daniel Branca

Daniel Branca is a blogger and journalist specializing in cannabis, vaping and health. He has 7 years of experience in the industry and is commited to providing accurate and up-to-date information. On his off days, he likes to read, workout, and light bowls.

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