Most long-time stoners have stories about their favorite pieces: the spoon pipe they stole from their older sister, the bong that symbolized their college experience, maybe even the apple or soda bottle pipe they had to use when they were young and desperate.
It’s a pretty good bet, though, that they also had a one-hitter — and that it was their constant companion back in the day.
Many people start with a one-hitter (although they may have called it a chillum, a taster, or a bat). Even though they only hold a single hit’s worth of flower, these weed pipes are so small they’re the easiest piece to hide from parents, teachers, or straight-edge friends.
If you’ve never been able to get a satisfying hit from a chillum, or if you never realized that a convenient one-hit pipe existed, here’s the resource you need.
What Is a One-Hitter?
There’s no definitive description or picture of a one-hitter. Chillums are usually made from glass or metal, but you can also find them made from clay, acrylic, or even wood. They can be found in all styles and shapes; most are slim and cone-shaped with a narrow bowl. But there are exceptions there as well; some are designed to look like a tobacco cigarette (sneaky, right?).
Some one-hitters are part of a set called a dugout. It’s a small box with two compartments, one for the chillum and one for weed.
What all of these small pieces have in common is that they all hold about 25 milligrams of herb, just the right amount for a single hit.
Why Would You Use a One-Hitter?
We’ve already mentioned one of the big advantages to a chillum: it’s discreet. You can take it out, light it, take a hit, and put it back almost before anyone even notices. A one-hitter easily fits into a pocket or small purse; even most dugouts are small enough to be tucked away out of sight.
That’s not the only reason to have a chillum, though.
Reasons to use a one-hitter include:
A) Less odor
When you spark up, the weed is immediately used up and the smoke goes into your lungs, not into the air where it will smell up the room.
There’s no need to fuss with joints, rolling papers, or larger pieces.
There’s no temptation to smoke up your stash if you’re running low or to keep hitting the pipe if you only wanted a taste. A one-hitter is also perfect for micro-dosing.
Actually, it’s the opposite of sharing. You don’t have to worry about casual acquaintances or strangers walking up to you and asking for a hit. You can just say “Sorry, it’s a one-hitter.”
OK, that last one was sort of tongue-in-cheek, but you get the picture. When one hit is enough, a chillum is perfect.
How to Pack Your One-Hitter
You’d think packing a pipe that’s only able to hold one hit’s worth of weed would be easy.
It is, sort of. But you have to pay attention to detail. A piece as small as a chillum can easily get clogged.
1. Grind your flower
Because of a one-hitter’s size, there’s not as much room for error as there is when packing a pipe. Be sure to grind the weed evenly, and not too finely. If it’s not even, there won’t be decent airflow. If it’s too fine, the herb will burn up so fast that you’ll get very little smoke.
2. Pack the bowl
The technique is slightly different for regular one-hitters and dugouts.
- One-hitter: Take the bowl end of the pipe and gently push it into the ground weed (don’t ram it in, or the weed can get stuck in the bottom). Twist the one-hitter back and forth to make sure the flower is securely packed into the bowl, and that the bowl is full. Some people just spread the weed out on a flat surface to pack the chillum, while others put it into a small container to make the process a little easier.
- Dugout: Fill the weed chamber with your ground flower and gently push the bowl end of the pipe into the chamber, twisting it to pack the weed completely.
Here are a couple of pro tips. First, the flower has to be packed firmly inside the bowl. Since you’re filling it “horizontally” but smoking it “vertically,” it’s easy for the weed to fall out if it’s not packed firmly. Second, “firmly” doesn’t mean “as many herbs stuffed into the bowl as possible.” If it’s packed too tightly, poor airflow will mean a poor hit.
Whether you’re using a simple one-hitter or a dugout, you might be tempted to try to squish a small bud into the bowl instead of bothering with a grinder. However, the bowl is too small to allow any nug to burn properly, and that will make the smoke uneven and rough. You’ll be much happier if you take the time to grind the herb first.
3. Light Up and Smoke
You probably don’t need much advice for this one.
4. Clean the bowl
This is even more important with a one-hitter than it is with any other type of piece because the chillum can clog so easily — and even if it doesn’t clog, it’s more likely to retain a burnt taste from the debris of your last hit.
Many dugouts come complete with a poker or cleaning tool, which makes cleaning them out a breeze. If you don’t have a tool, a pipe cleaner works fine. No tool? For the time being, you can gently tap the bowl against a hard surface to get the ash out and blow through the mouthpiece to ensure there’s good airflow. And when you get a chance, clean out the resin more completely. Resin builds up quickly in a one-hitter.
If you’ll be trying a chillum for the first time, you’ll be amazed at how convenient it is. Just be sure that it’s not the only piece you have with you if you want to share. Packing and repacking a one-hitter isn’t the most sociable way to smoke up.
How To Pack A One-Hitter With Weed Properly FAQ
Q: What’s the best material for a one-hitter?
A: If you’re not clumsy, glass. It provides the smoothest and cleanest taste, but needless to say, it can break easily. (You may be able to find a glass chillum that’s wrapped in another material to protect the pipe.) Metal won’t break, but some people think it affects the flavor of their weed. Wood chillums may look cool, but good luck cleaning them.
Q: Are there any “premium” one-hitter models?
A: Yes. If you pay a little more you can buy a chillum with a “self-ashing” feature that lets you click a button to release the debris from your last hit. It’s a cool option if you can find it. There are also a few models that have inner “cooling chambers,” if you think it’s worth spending extra money on a piece you only use to deliver a single hit.