How to pack a pipe with tobacco?

How to pack a pipe with tobacco?

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03 12 2020
Crucial step before smoking, packing your pipe requires some skills. We will tell you in this blog article all the secrets to properly pack your pipe, so that you will become a master in the field...

Packing a pipe is the action that consists to fill the bowl of your pipe with tobacco. There are as many ways to pack a pipe as smokers. Each have their own tip to perfectly master the art of pipe packing...

Before anything else, you will obviously have to make sure that nothing in your pipe could clog it (for example, check if there are no ashes or tobacco left in the bowl). Let us remind you that smoking a clean pipe will allow you to fully enjoy the flavors of your tobacco! In the same way, it is important to know that a well packed pipe will garanty a pleasant tasting and prevent your pipe from going out.

You can now take your tobacco pouch, take a little bit of tobacco, and separate the strands. To do so, the easiest way is usually to put a few pinches of tobacco on a table before putting it in your pipe. If you realize that your tobacco is too humid, leave it to rest in the open air for at least fifteen minutes so that it will dry a little bit (obviously, this will depend on the tobacco that you smoke, some being more humid than others).

The classical way to pack a pipe:

The following method is the one recommended by the team of La Pipe Rit. According to us, it is the easiest and the most efficient.

Start by taking a little amount of tobacco and let it fall in the bowl, without pressing it. Continue to do so, pinches by pinches, until the tobacco chamber is filled up to its top. Once filled, you will use your pipe tamper to pack the surface of the tobacco. You will have to moderately press, because if you press too much, combustion of the tobacco will be difficult. Indeed, tobacco may clog the hole drilled to let smoke go through (at the bottom of the tobacco chamber).

Packing my pipe

Using a pipe tamper

Your bowl is now filled with tobacco. At this moment (and before lighting your pipe up), we advise you to try the pipe draft. If no air can come through (or with great difficulty), this means that you went too hard when packing your pipe. The best thing to do will unfortunately be to empty the bowl... but not to the point where you have to start all over again! You can eventually try to aerate your tobacco by using the pin of your pipe tamper (if it has one, of course).

If air goes through too easily (meaning that you feel no resistance at all), this means that, on the contrary, you did not pack enough. Take your pipe tamper and press harder on the tobacco. It is all a matter of feeling, but we sometimes say the following comparison: "the ideal pipe draft should be similar to the feeling of drinking through a straw."

Of course, if your pipe is new, do not forget to build up a cake inside first. You will have to be careful not to fill it completely with tobacco for the first few uses. We invite you to consult our blog article "A well caked pipe" to know all our tips about the break-in process of a pipe.

Bastien, La Pipe Rit

As you will have understand, the necessary dexterity for packing a pipe comes with experience... You will therefore need time before being able to fully master this technique. Packing a pipe is not that difficult, but if you are a beginner, you have to know that you will need several tries before it naturally becomes a mechanical habit. It is important not to get discouraged, practice makes perfect.

A pinch of pipe tobacco

Putting a pinch of tobacco in the bowl of my pipe

Lighting up your pipe, a step just as important:

Now grab your pipe lighter or matches (preferably long ones so that you will not burn your fingers). We also remind you not to use a storm lighter that may burn your pipes, or a Zippo, that might leave an unpleasant taste to your tobacco.

Ignite all the surface of the tobacco, doing a circular movement with your lighter/match. You will then see that the tobacco will kind of "swell". It is absolutely normal. Do not hesitate to slightly press on your tobacco with your pipe tamper once again. Doing so, you will equalize the surface of the tobacco, mixing the incandescent strands with the others. You may have to use your pipe lighter a second time. Approach the flame to the bowl once again, inhaling at the same time. Et voilà! Your pipe is properly lighted up! You can now enjoy your tobacco.

You will just have to find the right rhythm by softly and regularly inhaling to keep the pipe lit. You do not have to worry about igniting your pipe again when smoking. This even happens to the most experimented smokers!

Claire, La Pipe Rit

How to smoke a pipe

The "Franck" method: another way to pack your pipe

This alternative method allows to pack your pipe without using any pipe tamper. Popularized by a certain Mr Achim Franck (German smoker), this second technique is very popular in the United States of America. Even if we advise you to use the classical technique as presented above, it seems interesting to explain you another way to pack your pipe.

As in the classical method, start by taking tobacco and let it fall in the bowl until it is full. Once at the top of the bowl, the idea here is to take a good pinch of tobacco and put it over the tobacco already in the bowl. You now have to press this big tobacco pinch in the bowl with an alternative movement between your two thumbs, letting the pipe turn on itself, so that the tobacco at the edge of the bowl will be brought back in the middle of the bowl. If you put too much tobacco or if a few big strands try to escape, do not hesitate to remove some. Repeat the operation until you are a few millimetres short under the top of the bowl. The more the pipe will be filled, the more you will feel like you have to press on the tobacco. Be careful though not to pack too much with your fingers: tobacco must always "bounce" a little bit. Try the pipe draft as described in the classical method, and if everyhting seems OK, light your pipe up as explained above.

As mentioned in the introduction, there are many techinques to pack a pipe. To finish this article, here is another method that involves to fill the bowl with the pipe upside-down. To do so, put some tobacco in the palm of your hand. Turn your pipe upside down over the tobacco (so that the top of the bowl touches the palm of your hand), and then do a circular movement with the pipe. By doing so, it will look like the pipe gets filled by itself. Once finished, put the pipe in the right position, remove the few strands that try to escape, and slightly press on the surface of the tobacco with your thumb. Et voilà!

Bastien, La Pipe Rit

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