Hookah, and everything about hookah, is something that can be talked about and debated endlessly. Ask anyone in the online communities, and they'll tell you just how serious people take their hookah hobby. Many of the main points of interest seem to be things like hookah stems, bowls, coals, shisha, hoses, and so on and so forth. However, there are many things that go into making a hookah session that never seem to get much love. Things that everyone needs, but no one ever talks about. Tongs, coal caddies, pokers, and wind covers are all things that culminate into a great hookah session, and yet there's never any debated, or even a serious market for many of these things. Today, we're going to talk a little bit about some of these products - what makes them good, what can make them bad, and some of my personal favorites.
TongsSahara Smoke Gladiator Tongs
Tongs are something that literally every hookah smoker has to own, though it's probably one of the most boring parts of any session, for most people. It seems that the vast majority of smokers will never upgrade their tongs, and that's perfectly fine. The standard little alligator tongs that come with everyone's first hookah are perfectly fine. However, there's definitely more to tongs, and certain things can help improve your tongs. For example, longer tongs ensure that it's harder to burn yourself when handling coal, as they'll be farther away from you. Shika Jumbo tongs are a great example of this, and they're one of the tongs that I myself use on a daily basis. Another great feature that tongs can have is a pointed tip. What this does is allows for a more precise grab, and means that you can pick up and move even the tiniest of coal. The Sahara Smoke Gladiator tongs are the best example of this, and are another tong that I find myself using on a daily basis.
Coal caddies are something that many smokers can get away without even owning, however I feel that they're a great addition to any smokers arsenal. Coal caddies essentially mean that you can light your coal elsewhere than where you bowl is at. This is a fairly simple concept, however there are a few things that can make a coal caddie great, instead of just meh. The first thing is that they must be bottom heavy, and designed well enough that it won't tip over easily. I cannot express to you how frustrating it is to set a coal caddie down for it to fall over on its own accord seconds later, and it's something that's burned many a carpet for me. The second thing is that a coal caddie has to have enough space to fit many coals into it. One of the main purposes that I find myself using a caddie for is when I have multiple hookahs ready, and I need to take multiple coals to my multiple bowls, and for that I need a caddie large enough to fit more than three coals (because some caddies actually only fit that many). Caddies are a vastly underutilized tool, but they're something that can make your life just a pinch easier, day by day.
As time has progressed, hookah has changed, as most things do. As coals have changed over time, so has the way that we use them. When I started smoking, wind covers were a must-have accessory for any session, and they were something that I found myself using on a daily basis. Since the innovation of the Kaloud Lotus, the utilization of the wind cover has diminished over time. However, if you're someone who finds themselves loving to smoke with foil, a wind cover is a must-have. Wind covers not only can keep your coals hot in the wind, but they also can help heat up your bowl a little bit more than usual. Wind covers help trap in the heat from coals, and can help elongate the life of your session. I can't help but wonder if the design of wind covers didn't help the Lotus's design, but that's a topic for a different time. Wind covers really just need to do one particular thing - fit your bowl. Something that many wind covers seem to struggle with is actually fitting over bowls, as they're either too short or not wide enough. So, as such, make sure that when you pick up a wind cover, it's tall enough to fit over your bowl, like a Shika wind cover, for example.
Something that every smoker at some point or another has to do is poke holes in foil. I don't care if you're the HMD Jesus, you had to poke a foil bowl before. If you didn't, maybe you should rethink your life choices. It's important to remember where hookah has come from, and packing a good foil bowl is a skill that every smoker should be able to do, no questions asked. When poking holes in your foil, there are many different tools that you can use. Many people stick to a plain old toothpick, some use a thumbtack, some will even use a pencil. However, I think there's something to be said for having a dedicated foil poker. While it's not a "must-have" by any means, pokers have a few added benefits. The main feature is that they're made sharp, so that it's easier to poke the holes themselves. If you're using a dull surface to poke your holes, it's going to require more force to puncture the aluminum, and will likely pull your foil down because of that.
What do you think? Are any of these accessories "must-have" buys, or are they just little things that can help make your life easier? Are there any accessories that I didn't cover? What did I miss? Let me know in the comments below! The main point of my articles isn't to just throw my opinions out there, I'm here to share knowledge, and to start a conversation. What do you think? Let's talk about it! As always guys, thank you so much for reading, and happy smokes!