Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Silicone has become a new heavy hitting contender in the world of smokers everywhere. The glass ceiling certainly shattered when it entered the playing field. This new material is durable, virtually unbreakable, and heat resistant up to 600° F. With this, the world has expanded for rig, bong and pipe users; allowing for easy portability and use for people who are either prone to clumsiness or impaired. It has truly become an integral part of the smoking industry.
Now through hours of research I could not find who is responsible for the invention itself, but I have imagined how it came about. Someone with a fondness for cooking, using the silicone trivet or oven mitt came upon the conclusion that silicone would be the perfect material for making a bong. Now making something out of silicone does require some finesse and knowledge, but it isn’t out of the scope of possibilities for someone at home to make. While the story is more likely that someone working for a company was given the job of making a bong out of silicone and when they found it would do the job they intended the whole industry blew up is considerably more likely, I still like to dream. Whether it was the inventive cook, or the genius at a large company, the world is a considerably more colorful place.
We are not here for me to spin you tales of invention though, we’re here to discuss a few matters. What silicone is made of, how it works, and the pros and cons therein. Let's start with a basic overview of what silicone actually is.
Silicone is a man-made material (what isn’t anymore?) that is called a polymer. Based on its chemical make-up it can be found in many forms, silicone oil, caulk, resin, and rubber. We will be sticking solely to the discussion of the rubber form after this, but who doesn’t like adding a little bit of random knowledge you can break out at any time? Silicone is found to be useful in many areas, medicinal, mechanical, industrial, cooking, and now in the smoking industry. It is stable in a wide range of temperatures, is hydrophobic, and minimally conductive along with numerous other traits.
Now we’ve already brushed over many of the pros for silicone, namely its durability and flexibility. These are considerable pros for many people and especially if you are impaired or disabled. I bring this up not only to help you or a friend/loved one make your choice but also on a personal level. My father is severely disabled and reaps many benefits from using legal herb. When it comes to me making choices of what I should get for him to improve his ability to use herb, silicone sits high on my list. With the use of only one hand, he can easily manipulate a silicone pipe without hurting himself. The strong silicone bong is also very reliable and does not easily break.
I also want to discuss the true flexibility of this material as well, and I don’t mean that you can roll it up or throw it across the room, I mean that the pieces being made are unique in design and color, and can contain glass percolators now (or can even transform in ways that would make Optimus Prime jealous) This flexibility allows you to create your own experience in multiple ways with one piece. For example a 3 in 1 bong is two styles of bong and a nectar collector, a 2 in 1 pipe is a pipe, stash container and a nectar. There are so many ways that you can create an experience that I don’t have the room to discuss them all.
Now you may be wondering, how do I clean a silicon bong? The ease of cleaning these is simple in comparison to glass as well. You can throw these things in the dishwasher after removing the resin, with no worries in regards to damage. Many people will be asking the question now “This is all great but what is the cost?” in general silicone pieces are affordable, usually more affordable than a glass piece of the same size so it won’t hurt your bank account either.
We have now reached the part where I have to discuss the cons, of which there are very few. Many people will remark on a rubbery taste for the first few times you will use it, which is a downside for sure but usually frequent use will quickly dispel this. The other downside to silicone is that it is not a thermal conductor, meaning it likes to keep heat where it is, making your hits hotter than a glass piece of similar size and make. The increase of using glass in
conjunction with silicone whether that is the use of glass percolators or even encasing a glass bong in silicone has helped to bridge this gap between silicone and glass. So in the end, I would consider this a worthy contender to join the ranks of a smoker’s collection, and it is exciting to see where the future could lead for this material. The question you must now ask yourself is whether a strong silicone bong sounds like the right type of piece for you.