As the cannabis industry and community grow and mature, so do the ways we enjoy a smoke session. The taboos of prohibition continue to waver, and perhaps no item has had a second life quite like the good old bong.
What was once hidden in the back corner of closets by dirty clothes and boxes is now finding a new pride and artistic renaissance. They're more than kitsch psychedelic glassware — as I interject with a Seinfeldian "Not that there's anything wrong with that." The glasswork has turned into something found in the Chihuly Garden (and with the according price tag).
But also borne out of this normalization has been the proliferation of what constitutes as a bong. Perhaps nothing fulfills the idea of American exceptionalism quite like the ways people create household bongs or even bongs in a pinch. While traditional bongs are heralded for their ornate beauty, all you really need is a chamber, downstem and bowl.
And even if you have a bong, modifying the experience beyond adding ice cubes or a different liquid is at times important so you don't end up just going through the motions of gripping and ripping.
In fact, often it comes down to the materials tokers desire to use. Plastics, metals and food are often the go-to's for many, with each having their pros and cons. Here are some of my favorite revampings and improvisations of the idea of the bong.
NOTE: This list does not include gravity bongs because I like you and you deserve better. Also, all of this makes me miss SoBe's glass packaging even more.
The Honey Boo-Boo (for recycling)
Chances are you've seen the honey bear in grocery store aisles and brought them home to grace your cupboards. Emptying the bear of its honey gives the perfect chamber as you can use its spout hat as a mouthpiece to boot. It worked for Brad Pitt's character Floyd in True Romance. Plus there's such a satisfying feeling to load a bowl that nestles perfectly into the sweet bear's plastic gut.
The Gas Mask (for revamping)
An idea pushed further into the limelight on Workaholics, the modified gas mask is surely the agro tool to show that you're not here for simple games. Granted, you're going to want to use a traditional bong in pairing with the mask, but it's hardly a traditional hit. Breathing in one of those puppies isn't necessarily easy and gives a new notion to "here for a good time, not for a long time" in that mask. All you need is a trip to the army surplus store, some tape and a bong you don't mind getting a new look.
The Fruit Bong (for repurposing)
Seemingly as a right of passage, every novice has had to dip their toes with the temporary apple pipe. It's the easiest quick fix for when you're out of papers or without a conventional pipe. The idea gets extrapolated, using a bigger array of produce than most fruit salads. Most iterations I've seen in person or online consist of a few different shaped fruits or veggies, with a hollowed out pineapple or watermelon serving as the main chamber. You can have a couple apples serve as both your mouthpiece and bowl, with something like a carrot serving as the stem into your previously mentioned chamber. A great throwaway hitter and definitely an unforgettable party centerpiece to boot. ♦