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Hookah Bowls - Size Matters

by Wade Hill February 26, 2018 0 Comments

Hookah Bowls - Size Matters

Hookah bowls are something that we've talked a lot about here, discussing good workhorse bowls, the best HookahJohn Bowls, Alpaca bowls, and so on. As someone who considers himself an avid bowl collector, I've seen a lot of different bowl styles come and go, some good, some not so good. Something that has changed a lot over the past year or two is size - bowls have started reaching this ultimate point of shallowness, after having years of things like the Harmony bowl dominating the market. While largely in part due to the dark leaf craze of the last two and a half years, it's something that's been a gradual change over time. Smokers have come to want more efficiency, and so bowl manufacturers have listened. But it got me thinking - are bowls a one size fit all thing? Or are specialized bowls better?
The One Size Fits All Bowl
 
There are a few things to think about in this argument. First off, what does it mean to have a one size fit all bowl? Simply put, it's a bowl that can use everything, and use it all well. It maximizes every tobacco out there, and does so efficiently. While there are some brands that smoke well with an HMD, there are arguably more that are better for pure foil sessions, and being able to accommodate both is a feat all to it's self. But on top of that, you have to also think about how many different packing styles there are. Tangiers takes a extra dense, Ugly takes a fluff, Trifecta a semi- dense - every brand works best with their own specific packs. And each of those packs is going to work best in it's own style of bowl as well. This makes finding the one size fits all bowl a hard thing to find, let alone to find a quality version of.
While even this boils down to personal opinion and preference, the general one size fits all bowl that comes to mind is the Mason Onyx bowl - it's a shallow bowl, meant for HMD, but still works (well) with foil. The Onyx bowl works well with just about everything, however it does have some short comings. It takes quite a bit of tobacco if it's used with foil, in tandem with something like Tangiers. However, there's no real way that this can be fixed, because the bowl has to be at least 3.5 inches in diameter to be an HMD fit. While sure, you could say "make the bowl shallower", it simply wouldn't work with an HMD at that point - it would be too shallow, and there wouldn't be any room to pack. Basically, you start running into different kinds of roadblocks, in any way you try to change or improve on the bowl, and that's because that bowl is as efficient as it possibly could be - that said, it doesn't work well for absolutely everything out there. And that's because I think that specialized bowls are the way to go. 
The Min/Max Mentality
We talked a little bit about it already, but different brands require different packs - there's no question there. So, wouldn't it make sense to have specific bowls for specific brands? As I've said already, I'm an avid bowl collector, I'm well over 60+ bowls now, so it goes without saying that I've tried a lot of different bowl styles. That said, I have a regular rotation that I use. In that rotation, every bowl has a specific purpose. If I want a dark leaf smoke, like Tangiers or Black Lava, I'll use something like the 80ft80, or the Alien Flashback. If I want something that uses a fluff pack, like Ugly, I'll use an 80ft, or a Predator bowl. If I want to use an HMD, the Onyx is my go to. And the great thing about doing it this way is that I'm maximizing my efficiency with each specific pack by using a bowl that suits it, as well as minimizing the tobacco wasted (as a result of being efficient). 
This is very much a min/max mentality, but just hear me out on it. Take the 80ft80 - extremely shallow bowl. Absolutely stellar for Tangiers, or Black Lava. Things that pack dense, and don't need a ton of heat. But what about something like Ugly? It's not going to work as well. The bowl is simply to shallow to allow for an efficient fluff pack. Is there anything wrong with that? Not at all. The bowl was meant to serve a purpose, and it serves it well. If I want to smoke Ugly, I'll just throw it in the new HJ Unika bowl, since that bowl works best for that kind of smoke. 
Overall?
Now, this whole ramble comes with an asterisk behind it. This is one way to smoke, but it's not the way to smoke. I'm not trying to say, by any means, that everyone should have five bowl or so to choose from, it's not (generally) going to make your sessions worlds better - the only thing that can make your sessions better is your packing style. While a variety of bowls to choose from absolutely can help with packing, you can make any bowl work for any tobacco, provided you pack it properly. For those who don't want to live the min/max lifestyle, I wholeheartedly recommend workhorse bowls - bowls that work great across multiple different brands, a general one size fits all bowl, that is a little bit easier to obtain than an Onyx bowl. But more importantly, what do you think? Do you like the idea of minimizing your waste, and maximizing your efficiency? Or are you more of a one size fits all kind of person? Let me know in those comments below! As always, thank you so much for reading, and happy smokes!  


Wade Hill
Wade Hill

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