Seedsman Blog
Home » How To Pack A Bowl

How To Pack A Bowl

If you’re using a pipe or a bong for your cannabis, there are some things you’ll need to know if you want a good, smooth smoke. One of these is how to pack the bowl; there are some dos and don’ts for this part of the procedure. This article will examine what works and doesn’t and explain how to pack a bowl of weed, and by the time you’re done reading, you’ll have mastered another essential component of smoking cannabis.

For beginner stoners, packing the bowl simply refers to putting your cannabis in the part of the pipe or bong designed to hold it for smoking. A correctly-packed bowl gives a better smoking experience and guarantees a good smoke sesh.

There are numerous ways to get your smoke on nowadays, from bongs, bubblers, and pipes to more advanced gear like vaporizers. An Aladdin’s cave of treasures awaits you as you weigh up the options for smoking weed. Bongs and pipes are among the most common, but if you don’t know how to pack weed into the bowl, you’ll quickly have an unpleasant experience.

Instead of a nice, smooth inhale and an even smoke, you could end up with a mouthful of foul-tasting grass. It’s good to smoke but not fabulous to eat raw. Best to leave edibles to the bakers!

First up, let’s look at the gear considerations:

Anatomy of a Pipe

Weed Pipes are pretty simple in design and easy enough to use. They’re usually spoon-shaped with a bowl at the opposite end from the mouthpiece (okay, we all know what a pipe looks like) and can be of varying lengths. The beauty of a pipe is its portability – just add weed to the bowl (aka the chamber), light it, and inhale. No faffing about with rolling papers, making filters or anything like that.

Pipes come in various styles and can be made from numerous materials like glass, silicon, borosilicate or metal.

A word of warning when choosing pipes, though – fancy-looking pipes with curved stems are a lot harder to clean.

Anatomy of a Bong

A bong looks like more of a high-falutin’ contraption. Is it a kettle? Is it a piece of science equipment? A vase? It’s actually a cool device for smoking weed though. It looks technical, and even the separate parts of the bong have more technical-sounding names.

There’s the carb – or carburettor – for a start. That sounds expensive and technical, but it’s just a small hole on the side of the bong that controls the airflow. Cover the carburettor with a finger as you light the weed in the bowl, and inhale. Once you’ve had your inhale, release your finger from the carburettor.

Then there’s the downstem. That’s the piece connecting the bowl to the base of the bong.

The base is the part of the bong you fill with water to ensure a cool, smooth inhale.

The tube is where you stick your lips to inhale the smoke.

And finally, the bowl is where you put your weed.

Like pipes, bongs come in all different shapes, sizes, and designs. They, too, can be made from various different materials.

This covers the necessary basics of the equipment. Now let’s look at how to pack a bowl!

How to Pack a Bowl: What to do

You could make the argument that the term ‘pack’ a bowl is something of a misnomer. This has connotations of stuffing as much weed as you can fit into the bowl, making for a heroic dose of marijuana you can pass around a roomful of buddies during your smoking session. The problem is that the more weed you ‘pack’ into the bowl, the more difficult it is to take a nice inhale. 

Embrace the Grind

A common mistake among newcomers to the bowl-packing community is failure to grind their weed beforehand. Yes, it’s true – some people merely take a handsome-looking bud and poke it in straight into the bowl. But you should grind it first, and there’s a right way to grind and a wrong way to grind. You should know these if you intend to pack the perfect bowl.

How To Pack A Bowl

Why not Grinding at all is bad

If you neglect to grind your weed, you won’t get a nice, even burn, making inhalation trickier. That’s bad enough on its own, but you’ll also risk wasting weed due to the uneven burn rendering your cannabis worthless before the whole bowl has been smoked. The alternative? Having to remove the bud from the bowl, turn it around and replace it in the bowl to ensure it all gets smoked. This is far from fun. 

Why Grinding too much is also bad

If you grind your weed too much, this brings problems of its own. Chief among these is the possibility, if you’re smoking a pipe, that you’ll end up with a mouthful of small pieces of ground cannabis you’ve sucked out of the bowl, up the pipe and into the mouthpiece.

If you’ve been there, you have our sympathies. If you’ve ever been drunk and put a cigarette in your mouth the wrong way (filter end out), then you’ll have half an idea how bad this tastes. But only half. Sucking back loose weed brings tears to the eyes and a lump to the throat – and that lump in your throat is probably the last thing you ate. Vomit-inducing.

How To Pack A Bowl

How Should you Grind Your Weed to Pack a Bowl?

Carefully, cautiously, and just enough to break up the bud a little bit. For these reasons, many experienced bowl-packers will tear up their buds into smaller pieces by hand rather than putting them through a grinder. That way, they retain a little more control about how shredded the weed becomes.

Your ground weed will burn smoothly and evenly and won’t get so finely ground that you end up sucking it into your mouth. This, or a couple of turns in your favourite grinder, seem like the best options to maximise the smokeability of your buds without compromising the experience.

Use the right amount of Weed

Another common mistake is to overfill the bowl with weed. We get it – it’s tempting to stuff a huge amount in there if you’re planning to get good and frazzled. But this causes problems, too. Overpacking your bowl will most likely result in a blocked airflow, meaning you’ll have a hard time getting any inhale. This will leave you and your guests red-faced, doubled over and frustrated. Even worse, your stash will get wasted, and you won’t. Therefore, pack your bowl with the right amount of weed for the number of people using it and don’t let it clog.

Here’s a quick rule of thumb:

1 person – half a bowl

2 people or more – a full bowl (to just below the brim)

Use a Screen

Use a screen to guarantee a pleasant smoking experience without the risk of sucking in weed crumbs. These are commonly made of mesh and act as a filter to stop particles from travelling up the pipe and into your mouth. Using a screen ensures a smooth, even inhale with little to no chance of debris getting through. Place the screen in the bowl before you add your weed. Alternatively, break a more sizeable bit off a nug and position it over the hole at the bottom of the bowl. This will add a degree of filtering as well as extra cannabis flavour!

If you’re using a bong and don’t have a screen, you can take a piece of tin foil, poke a few holes in it, and voila – an impromptu screen that will do the job nicely! Just make sure you use a fresh piece of tin foil. Don’t tear off a corner of the piece you left under your grill pan after cooking that bacon earlier.

Don’t Compress the Weed

Think airflow, inhalation, and burnability. Resist the temptation to stuff a large quantity of weed into your bowl and tamp it down with the pressure from a tool or a finger (eww), then add more on top. In the interests of airflow and inhalation, you want it to be relatively loose in the bowl – although not too loose – so you can smoke it easily.

How To Pack A Bowl

Empty the bowl and clean it before every pack

Seriously, be a good host. Some people smoke the bowl and then pack new weed on top of the old, burnt stuff. This is a social faux pas that deserves an almighty shunning. We’re not saying clean the entire pipe thoroughly before every new bowl, but you should ideally give it a good shake, a tap, and possibly a quick wipe around before adding a fresh pile of weed. Flavour is important, and nobody wants a foul smoke.

If using a Bong, remove the bowl to pack it

This is for safety rather than any kind of etiquette or even efficacy. A bong is a big, cumbersome device. Removing the bowl makes it easier to handle and less likely to be dropped. A shattered bong lying in pieces on the floor is the ultimate buzz kill, so remove the bowl, pack it, and then re-attach it.

Then all that’s left to do is light the weed, smoke a bowl and puff, puff, pass!

Got any tips on packing the perfect bowl? Share in the comments.

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

Duncan Mathers