How to hit a bong

How to Hit a Bong: Avoid Looking Silly If It's Your First Time

Posted by VITAE GLASS on

So you've decided to hit a bong for the first time? Congrats on taking the plunge into the world of water pipes! Smoking weed from a bong can be an incredibly smooth and enjoyable experience, but if you've never used one before, the process might seem a bit intimidating.

Don't worry though - with a little know-how, you'll be ripping bongs like a pro without coughing.

But to avoid a coughing fit we must first understand what causes them, which is lack of filtration. But how do we accomplish better filtration for our bong? We'll cover that in more detail later.

In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about how to smoke a bong properly. We'll cover why using a bong is awesome, how to prepare your bong for the best smoking session, the step-by-step process of how to hit a bong, and some helpful accessories to enhance your bong rips.

By the end, you'll be equipped with all the knowledge necessary to confidently light up that bowl and take a smooth, milky bong hit without looking like a total noob. Let's dive in!

Preparing Your Bong

Before enjoying a smooth bong rip, you must prepare your bong properly. This involves choosing the right bong, filling it with the right amount of water, and grinding and packing your cannabis into the bowls.

Choosing the Right Bong

The type of bong you choose will determine the water level needed for the best hits. Bongs come in various shapes, sizes, and designs, with some having multiple chambers and percolators to provide additional filtration and cooling [1].

Filling the Bong with Water

The ideal water level will depend on the type of bong and the size you are using, but a general rule of thumb is to fill the base until the downstem is submerged about 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) in water [2]. You want all the slits in your downstem to be covered in water. This is the most important part of how to fill a bong.

If your bong has additional chambers or percolators, you must also fill these percs with water. The optimal water level for percolators varies depending on the design, but generally, you should fill them until the water covers all the slits or holes in the percolator.

Once you have filled your bong with water, test the water level to ensure you get the best possible hits. Place your mouth on the mouthpiece and draw air through the bong without lighting it. You should hear a bubbling sound as the air passes through the water, kind of like when you used to blow air through a straw into a drink as a kid.

Grinding and Packing the Cannabis

Grinding weed for bong

To prepare cannabis for smoking, use a grinder to crush the dry herb into a texture that is ideal for consumption. By grinding the cannabis, you achieve a uniform and steady burn, which enhances the flavor and potency when it is smoked [3].

If you can use a metal weed grinder with blades, rather than teeth, as this will slice your herb. The sliced herb is fluffier and the trichomes are more intact than ripping your weeb buds apart.

Take hold of the bong bowl with one hand while grasping the ground cannabis in your other hand. Gently insert the ground cannabis into the bowl of the bong, being cautious not to spill any of it outside the bowl.

To ensure proper airflow and combustion, evenly distribute the ground cannabis in the bowl by adding larger pieces at the bottom of the bowl. On top of that place the smaller frostier bud and lightly press down with your thumb.

It is important to avoid overpacking, as this can hinder airflow and make it challenging to draw smoke.

By following these steps for preparing your bong, you'll be well on your way to enjoying a smooth and satisfying smoking experience. Remember to always use fresh, clean water and properly grind and pack your cannabis for optimal results.

How to Hit a Bong

Girl hitting a bong in the park

Now that your bong is packed and ready to go, it's time to light up and take a hit. Place your mouth on the mouthpiece, forming a tight seal with your lips. If you have a bong filter you can insert this into the bong mouthpiece .

Use a lighter, or better hemp wick if you have, to ignite a corner of the bowl while simultaneously inhaling slowly. This will draw the smoke up through the downstem and into the water chamber where it's filtered and cooled.

As the smoke fills the chamber, continue to inhale steadily. Once you've reached your desired amount of smoke, remove the bowl from the downstem and inhale the remaining smoke in the chamber [4]. This is known as "clearing the bong."

If it's your first time learning how to hit a bong, there is a good chance you will cough. If you do, expect your high to be more intense as your brain lacks oxygen.

1st: Lighting the Bowl

When lighting the bowl, hold the flame to the edge of the packed cannabis rather than directly in the center. This allows for a more even burn and prevents the entire bowl from being consumed in one hit.

Rotate the bowl as you light it to ensure all the cannabis is evenly heated. If you're using a hemp wick, light the wick first and then use it to ignite the bowl for a cleaner, butane-free hit.

2nd: Inhaling the Smoke

As mentioned earlier, start with a slow and steady inhale to draw the smoke into the chamber. Once the chamber is filled to your liking, remove the bowl and inhale the remaining smoke in one swift motion.

Don't feel pressured to take massive hits if you're a beginner. It's better to take smaller, more manageable hits until you build up a tolerance and get used to the sensation.

3rd: Tips to Avoid Coughing

To avoid coughing, your hit should be slow and steady, if you can use a percolator bong, use ice water in the chamber, and take a drink of cold water before smoking.

1. Take smaller hits: Taking smaller hits can help prevent overwhelming your lungs and triggering a coughing fit.

2. Use ice: Adding ice to your bong's ice catcher or directly into the water chamber can cool down the smoke, making it less harsh on your throat and lungs [12].

3. Stay hydrated: Drinking water before, during, and after your smoking session can help keep your throat lubricated and reduce irritation [11] .

4. Exhale completely: After taking a hit, make sure to exhale fully before taking another breath. This helps clear any remaining smoke from your lungs.

With practice and by following these tips, you'll soon be taking smooth, enjoyable hits from your bong like a pro. Just remember to always start slow, listen to your body, and never feel pressured by friends to take larger hits than you're comfortable with.

Why Use a Bong?

Smoking a bong

Using a bong offers several advantages over other smoking methods that make for a smoother, more enjoyable experience. The water in the bong provides a moisturizing effect, cooling the smoke before it reaches your lungs [15].

This helps alleviate the dryness and irritation that can come from smoking, making each hit feel less harsh on your throat and lungs.

The cooling effect of the water is perhaps the most important benefit of using a bong. As the smoke bubbles through the water, it undergoes a significant temperature drop, resulting in a much cooler and gentler hit [13].

This is especially noticeable when compared to smoking joints or weed pipes, where the hot smoke can burn your throat.

Bongs also provide excellent filtration benefits. The water traps particulate matter like ash that would otherwise end up in your mouth. A 2012 study found that water pipes filter out more water-soluble toxins, such as cytotoxins, which can impair immune cells [7].

While bongs don't completely eliminate all harmful substances, the best bongs reduce the amount of tar and ash you inhale compared to other smoking methods.

Moisturizing Effect

The water in a bong adds moisture to the smoke, preventing it from being too dry and harsh on your throat and lungs. This moisturizing effect can help alleviate symptoms like coughing and cottonmouth that often accompany smoking [11].

Cooling Effect

Allowing the smoke to pass through water significantly cools down its temperature, resulting in hits that are much easier on your throat and lungs [14]. The cooling capacity can be further enhanced by using ice-cold water or adding ice cubes to the bong [12]. This is why many smokers find bong hits to be incredibly smooth compared to other methods.

Filtration Benefits

Bongs provide a level of filtration that you don't get with joints or dry pipes. The water traps ash and other particulate matter that normally end up in your mouth and lungs. Percolators can offer additional filtration by diffusing the smoke into smaller bubbles as it passes through the water. While not eliminating all toxins, a bong's filtration provides cleaner, smoother hits.

Using Accessories

Using the right accessories can take your bong smoking experience to the next level. Percolators and ash catchers are all great tools to enhance your bong rips and make them smoother, cleaner, and more enjoyable.


Percolators, or "percs," are essential accessories for any serious bong enthusiast. These contraptions sit within your bong and help to cool down the smoke by forcing it to filter through the water multiple times [37]. The more percolation, the smoother and cooler the hit will be.

There are many types of percolators, each with unique benefits. Some popular options include:

  • Tree percs: Easily one of the most common types, featuring a central "trunk" with multiple "branches" for excellent smoke diffusion.

  • Honeycomb percs: Flat discs filled with tiny holes, providing great filtration without adding drag. Easy to stack and clean.

  • Inline percs: Simple horizontal tubes with slits, often used in stemless bongs. Work well in combination with other percs.

  • Matrix percs: Cylindrical shape filled with slits and holes for maximum smoke diffusion.

The smoothest percolators typically offer the most diffusion (tiny bubbles), via multiple stages of percolation using a double perc, and are kept clean for optimal performance.

Ash Catchers

Ash catchers are another staple accessory that acts as a barrier between your bowl and water pipe. They trap debris to keep your bong significantly cleaner, while also adding an extra element of diffusion for even smoother hits [41].

To use an ash catcher:

1. Carefully attach it to your bong's joint, ensuring a proper and secure fit.

2. Fill the ash catcher with just enough water to touch the bottom of the perc. Too much water will overflow into your piece.

3. Light your bowl while inhaling, allowing the smoke to filter through the ash catcher before entering the bong.

4. Regularly clean your ash catcher to prevent clogs and maintain optimal performance.

Hemp Wick

Use a hemp wick instead of a lighter or matches for a cleaner, more natural way to light your bowl. Hemp wick is made from hemp fibers coated in beeswax, which burns slowly and steadily without producing any harmful chemicals [43].

Benefits of using hemp wick include:

  • No exposure to butane or other chemicals found in lighters

  • Lower temperature burn that preserves the flavor of your herb

  • More precise lighting and corner hits to conserve your stash

  • Environmentally friendly and cost-effective in the long run

By incorporating percolators, ash catchers, and hemp wick into your bong smoking routine, you'll enjoy cooler, smoother, and cleaner hits every time. Experiment with different accessories to find the perfect setup that elevates your smoking experience to new heights.

You're Now a Bong Smoking Pro

Hitting a bong for the first time may seem intimidating, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can enjoy a smooth and satisfying smoking experience.

By understanding the benefits of using a bong, properly preparing your bong with the optimal water level and well-ground cannabis, and mastering the technique of lighting and inhaling, you'll be able to confidently take your first bong rip without looking like a novice.

As you embark on your bong smoking journey, remember to start slow, listen to your body, and never feel pressured to take larger hits than you're comfortable with.

For a smoother, durable, and healthier bong experience, consider trying out VITAE Glass modular bongs designed especially for daily and busy smokers. With practice and the right tools, you'll soon be enjoying the full benefits of smoking from a bong like a seasoned pro.


How do I set up a bong for the first time?

To set up your bong, start by gently pressing down on the bowl of weed with your thumb until it compacts slightly and springs back when you release. This helps to even out the surface and keeps the weed from scattering. Next, insert the bowl into the top of the stem. Now, you're ready for your first hit.

What type of bong should I choose as a beginner?

If you're new to using a bong, opt for one with a narrower pipe. This design makes the smoke intake less intense and more manageable for beginners.  Modular bongs are easier to clean which is great for beginner smokers.

What should I be aware of before using a bong for the first time?

Before you take your first hit, here are a few key points to remember:

  • Ensure that the smoke is visibly flowing up the chamber. If not, adjust your bowl and check that your herb is properly ignited.

  • As a beginner, only fill your lungs to less than half capacity on your first inhale to avoid overwhelming yourself.

  • Never exhale back into the bong, as this will cause backwash and risk spillage of hot cherried cannabis embers.

  • It's also advisable not to hold the smoke in your lungs for too long; exhale a few seconds after inhaling.

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