9 Simple Steps to Pack a Tobacco Pipe for Beginners | How to Pack a Tobacco Pipe

9 Simple Steps to Pack a Tobacco Pipe for Beginners 

Before you can even start thinking of packing the tobacco into your pipe, it is vital to first prepare it properly.  All kinds of tobacco are different; for example, if you are using loose cut tobacco, you may not need to do much since it can quickly get dozen through the pipe bowl, but if you chose some other type of tobacco, it may require extra preparation like rubbing it between your palm to ensure that it is smooth.

However, packing your pipe is not as difficult as most smokers perceive it to be, but this depends on the individual. This article seeks to give you a simplified process of packing your pipe correctly, clearing up any confusion or uncertainty that you may have.

Materials Needed

The process of packing your tobacco needs a few simple materials They are:

  •       Your pipe
  •       Your tobacco of choice
  •       A pipe tamper or pipe nail
  •       A lighter for lighting the tobacco
  •       A pipe cleaner to ensure there are no leftovers in the pipe

Tips Before Packing Your Pipe

The first tip is that you should consider investing in a pipe tamper tool or pipe nail for packing the tobacco into place. Although you can just use your finger, using a tool will pack the tobacco more firmly and efficiently. The tool will also be useful when re-lighting the tobacco that is already hot, to ensure that you do not burn your fingers.

The next tip is to make sure that your pipe is broken into before using it for the first time. This has to do with a layer in your bowl that is known as the “bowl cake,” which is essentially a coating of carbonized tobacco that protects the wood of your pipe from burning. To build up a layer of “bowl cake,” you can start with a quarter-full bowl, then work up to half-full, and so on until you can smoke a fully packed bowl.

Tip #3 is that most of the fresh tobacco that you buy is usually humid, and it is essential to give it some time to dry out before packing it. Tobacco that is too wet may not pack or smoke correctly, so it is imperative that it is dried to the perfect moisture level.

The Packing Procedure

There are different methods of packing a tobacco pipe, but this method explained here works best for the majority of pipes and tobacco.

  1.  Check your pipe for abstractions -  You must first ensure that your pipe is free from any obstruction and leftovers from the last smoke. This can be achieved by running a pipe cleaner through the stem and removing any leftover tobacco residue that you see. You can then blow through the pipe to remove any other substance that may have been left after the cleaning. It is advised that you do this over an ashtray or a trashcan to avoid blowing and spewing the ash and dottle all over.
  2.  Prepare your tobacco - Next, you should prepare your tobacco and make sure it is ready for smoking. This can be achieved by gently placing your tobacco on a flat surface and crushing any clumps in it, and checking if the amount of moisture is right. If the tobacco is too moisturized, you can leave it to dry a bit, and then you can proceed.
  3.  Lightly fill your pipe bowl with tobacco-   Lightly fill your pipe bowl with the tobacco until it is fully packed to the top. Do not pinch the loose tobacco as you perform the operation since this is going to create crumps that you had earlier tried to eliminate.
  4. Tamp the tobacco in your bowl- Now, you can take your pipe tamper or pipe nail and compress the tobacco in the bowl.  If the bowl has straight sides, you can squeeze it until the bowl appears half filled. If you are using a tapered bowl, you should aim to reach about two-thirds full. The tobacco in the bowl should be consistently soft and spongy.
  5. Take a test draw-You should now test the packed tobacco by putting the pipe in your lip and taking a test draw. If you feel any resistance, you should remove all the tobacco and start over again.
  6.  Fill your bowl with tobacco-  After a successful test, you can now fill your bowl until a small amount protrudes outside, and then return any extra tobacco for future use.
  7.  Continue packing bowl to the top- The next step you need to do is pack the added tobacco in the bowl until it is even, up to the top level of the bowl. Since you had already filled your bowl part way, you will need more pressure to be able to achieve this higher level. The tobacco should still feel soft and spongy despite the force applied.
  8. Final test draw-   Then take another test drawing by putting the pipe in your lips, and there should be a very minimal resistance this time. If there is massive resistance, you should start over again.
  9. Light your tobacco-If all these steps have successfully been achieved means that your tobacco is ready for smoking, and you can proceed to light it and enjoy your smoke. 

Common Pipe Packing Issues

There are some difficulties that even experienced pipe smokers may face.

The Pipe’s Draw Is Too Hard

This is a common problem that you are likely to encounter when packing your pipe. If the draw is stiff, you may have filled your tobacco too hard. If you face this challenge, you should consider taking your pipe apart and checking the stem and draft hole since you may have blocked it.  If it is blocked, it means there is no air that is passing, so you will not be able to smoke properly.

 The Pipe Keeps Going Out

There are several reasons that may lead to your pipe getting extinguished midway through your smoking session. This may be caused by your smoking technique, but the most common cause is usually inconsistent packing of the pipe. Be sure to properly pack your tobacco with a tamper, until it is soft and spongy, but firmly pressed into the pipe bowl. Your pipe may go out a few times while you are smoking, as that is normal and does not necessarily mean there is a problem with the packing.  You can just re-light your pipe and continue enjoying your smoke. However, if your pipe is frequently going out, you may have improperly packed your pipe and should re-pack it.