Smoking with a bong or water pipe offers a smooth and potent smoke sesh, allowing you to savor the flavors and effects of your favorite strains. In this article, we’re breaking down a few pro tips for properly packing and hitting a bong, as well as a few beginner-friendly pro-tips to help you get started.

How to Pack a Bong Properly 

Now that you know how a bong works, let’s get down to business. All the magic starts by packing your bong — or more literally, your bowl. Packing your bowl properly with flower is essential so you can get an even burn and reduce waste. Better yet, the art of packing also helps to maximize your flavors and effects.

Start by grinding your weed into small particles using a grinder. Small consistent pieces help to create an even burn, just take care to not grind them too small or into a powder, or else you’re looking at a harsh smoke that you might suck straight into your bong.  Alternatively, ground weed particles that are too large have trouble burning and may clog your bowl.

how to smoke a bong

After you grind your weed, pick up the bowl slide and hold it in one hand. You can add a screen to the bottom of your bowl to help prevent weed particles from getting sucked through the bong. Using your other hand, gently place the ground cannabis into the bowl. Once you have some weed in the bowl, use your fingers or a packing tool to gently press it down, ensuring it’s evenly distributed and packed together. Just take care to avoid packing too tightly, which will reduce your airflow and cause your bowl to burn unevenly.

If your bowl has a large capacity and you want to take bigger hits or sesh with multiple friends, you can add more ground-up bud on top of the first layer. Repeat the packing process to ensure an even burn. Once you’re good and packed, check for airflow by sliding the bowl into the bong and drawing air through the mouthpiece before lighting your weed. You should be able to pull from it without much resistance.

If you packed it too tight, stick a toothpick in it and fluff the weed up a bit, removing any excess. You can also “drill” a hole using the toothpick down to the hole in the bottom of the bowl to help with airflow without removing bud, just keep in mind that it may affect how evenly it burns.

How to Hit a Bong Properly

Now that your bowl is packed, you’re ready to roll. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to hit a bong the right way.

Step 1: Assemble your bong and fill it with water.

Fill bong with water
Place your downstem and bowl into your bong and fill it with water.

Start by assembling your bong. Attach the downstem to the bong along with any accessories. Then just fill the bong with enough water to submerge the downstem, but not so much that it splashes into the mouthpiece when you inhale. Remember, too much water can burp back into the downstem and soak your bowl and ruin your weed, so you should always check how it hits before sliding your bowl in.

Step 2: Attach your packed bowl to the bong. 

Slide your bowl into the downstem and give it an airflow check before lighting the bong to make sure you’re getting good airflow with the bowl itself.

Step 3: Get into position.

Hold the bong by the neck with one hand and hold your lighter in the other. If your bong has a carb, make sure you’re holding your bong in a position that allows you to cover it with your thumb, leaving the other hand free for your lighter.

Step 4: Spark up. 

smoking a bong light bowl
Light the bowl and inhale slowly at first to ensure the ground weed lights evenly. Once that’s done, you can inhale more intensely.

Bring the flame from your lighter to the cannabis in the bowl. Hold the flame just above the cannabis and draw in slowly through the mouthpiece, allowing the flame to ignite the cannabis evenly. If you’re smoking with friends, corner the bowl by only applying the flame to a small portion of it, leaving fresh greens for everyone in your rotation. As you inhale, the smoke will be drawn into the chamber through the downstem and water, cooling and filtering it.

Step 5: Inhale evenly. 

As the cannabis burns, inhale gently but steadily through the mouthpiece to help ensure a slow and even burn. When your lungs are at about half capacity, it’s time to clear the bong.

Step 6: Clear the bong.

how to hit a bong clearing the bong
Hit the bong to completely clear out the smoke from the chamber.

If your bong has a carb, release it when the chamber is filled with enough smoke to clear it. If you’re using a bong without a carb, set the lighter down and use your free hand to pull the bowl slide out of the bong to clear it. Inhale deeply to draw the rest of the smoke into your lungs.

Step 7: Repeat or pass. 

If you’re by yourself, go through these steps again until you’re good and stoned. If you’re with friends, make sure to pass it after your hit so that everyone gets a turn.

Accessories for expanding the functionality of your bong 

Since bongs are so customizable, there are a lot of features you can look for to improve your smoke sesh. Alternatively, some accessories are sold separately. Here’s a brief rundown of what they look like.

  • Ashcatcher: An ashcatcher is an additional attachment that fits between the bowl and the downstem. Usually sold separately, they helps trap ash and debris, keeping the bong cleaner and providing smoother hits. Normally they fill with water for extra filtration and cooling.
  • Percolator: A percolator is a type of water chamber built into a bong. Some percolators can be sold separately and act as attachments, though. These intricate structures often provide bubble action that further filters and cools your smoke, creating a smoother and more flavorful experience. While you can enjoy a basic bong without percolators, you’ll usually find two or more percs in bongs specifically designed for flower.
  • Ice Catch: Some bongs come with built-in ice catches or notches that allow you to add ice cubes to the chamber and neck. Cold smoke is less harsh on the throat and provides a refreshing sensation. Just keep in mind that they will increase the water level in your bong as they melt, so remove ice cubes after each sesh to keep your bud safe.
  • Additional Water Chambers: Some bongs have multiple water chambers, which enhance the filtration process, leading to even smoother hits. Additional water chambers are normally built into larger bongs, though ash catchers and percolators that are sold separately usually also contain water, thus making them additional water chambers.

Pro tips for the best bong hits

  • Try to grind your weed to a medium consistency for optimal burning and airflow. Weed that’s too finely ground burns quickly and gets sucked into your bong, while pieces that are too large tend to clog your airflow and go out while you’re smoking them.
  • Make sure you have the right amount of water in your bong. Covering the downstem is a good rule of thumb. Using too much water can soak your weed or splash your mouth, while not using enough can sign you up for really harsh, unpleasant hits.
  • Pack the bowl evenly to ensure an even burn. Packing too loose can be wasteful, while packing too tightly can make it impossible to get a good hit.
  • If you’re smoking with friends, corner the bowl so that everyone gets a fresh, green hit.
  • Inhale slowly and steadily to control the intensity of the hit and avoid coughing. A slow inhale also helps you make sure your igniting your weed evenly.
  • Try to clear the chamber in one hit. Smoke leftover in the bong when you fail to clear it gets stale and tastes terrible. If you can’t clear your bong, blow the rest of the smoke out by removing the bowl and blowing through the downstem before passing it to the next person.
  • Experiment with ice or cold water to enjoy a smoother and cooler smoking experience.
  • Change your bong water after every sesh, and make sure to deep clean it with salt and isopropyl alcohol regularly. Resin buildup of floating scoobs can make your fresh hits taste bad.

Anatomy of a Bong

A bong, also known as a water pipe, is a smoking apparatus designed to cool and filter weed smoke to help amplify your flavors. They’re self-contained, but there are a lot of different parts that play a role in how the bong functions. Here’s the rundown:

Bong Anatomy


The mouthpiece is the top opening through which you inhale the smoke. It is designed to fit comfortably around your lips and create a proper seal to prevent smoke from escaping and increase airflow for bigger, better hits.


The neck is the elongated tube that connects the mouthpiece to the main chamber of the bong. It allows the smoke to travel from the bowl to the chamber, where it cools down in the water before traveling up the neck and through the mouthpiece, reaching your lungs.

Water Chamber:

The water chamber is the main body of the bong that holds water. This is where the smoke accumulates after you begin inhaling, and is crucial for cooling down and filtering the smoke.


The carb, short for carburetor, is a small hole on the side of the bong’s chamber. When you cover the carb with your finger while inhaling, it prevents air from entering the bong, allowing the smoke to build up in the chamber. Releasing the carb increases airflow to help you clear the chamber, enabling you to take a fresh hit. Not all bongs have a carb, though. In most cases, the bowl slide itself acts as a carb, and you’ll pull it out of the downstem to clear the bong.


The downstem is a tube that extends into the water in the bong’s base. It serves as a conduit for the smoke to pass from the bowl into the water, where it undergoes cooling and filtration.


The bowl is where you pack your weed. It is usually detachable from the downstem and has a small hole at the bottom, allowing smoke to pass through and into the bong’s system.

To sum it up, mastering the art of packing and hitting a bong requires an understanding of its anatomy and the correct technique. With the right water level, proper packing, slow inhalation, and regular bong cleaning, you can experience the full potential of your favorite strains and enjoy a smoother and more enjoyable sesh. Accessories like ashcatchers, percolators, and ice catches can elevate your bong sessions to new heights. If you’ve been weary of smoking from water pipes in the past it’s time to get out there and get started now that you know how to smoke like a pro.

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Ben Walker writes for Stoner Things, covering the cannabis culture from a unique perspective. He doesn't just offer insights into the world of weed, but also provides hands-on reviews and tutorials for the latest products. With a decade of experience spanning cultivation and market trends, Ben advocates for informed and responsible cannabis use. His work goes beyond navigating the ever-changing cannabis landscape; it's about education and community development done right, coming from a place of knowledge and respect. If you want to stay up-to-date with cannabis trends and learn from an experienced guide, Ben's work is an invaluable resource.


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