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How to Smoke a Pipe: Guides, Methods and Tips

Apart from being a cigar aficionado, I also like to smoke a pipe occasionally. This guide will include tips for beginners who have never smoked a pipe with tobacco before or just want to know how to do it properly. Mostly, these are my observations and a few expert tips I tested myself.

How to smoke a pipe

If you have never been smoking a pipe before, the most important thing is patience. Weird sensations are ok, you just need to get used to a pipe. The more experience you have while smoking a pipe, the more pleasure it brings to you. In addition, smoking a pipe is such a thing – a lot comes with experience. Only by trying different approaches, different tobacco flavors, you will be able to fully determine what you like best. But still, there are certain basic rules related to smoking pipe tobacco.

Smoking a pipe is one of the oldest ways to use tobacco. Nowadays, most tobacco smokers forget that smoking a pipe was primarily a ritual that helped to rest and relax. You can smoke a pipe if you want to try something new and unusual. However, do not think that such a method of inhaling tobacco smoke is less harmful than cigarette smoking. 

How to smoke a pipe with tobacco: the step-by-step guide for beginners

  1. One session of smoking a pipe should last at least 20–40 minutes. Find a cozy place where you can chill when smoking. If you smoke a briar pipe, make sure you are in the fully closed area without draughts; 
  2. Always have a glass of water nearby. In such a way, you can moisturize your mouth and throat from time to time. Some smokers like to drink tea or coffee when using a pipe. I would not recommend mixing the pipe tobacco flavor with any alcohol but this is totally up to you;
  3. Do not forget to clean the pipe before and after each use. Just use a special brush to remove the ashes from the device;
  4. Three pinches of tobacco are enough to fill in a medium-sized pipe. Do not stuff it completely at first. Later I will explain why;
  5. Use matches or a special lighter to light your pipe. With matches, you need to wait for a few bits until the sulfur burns to prevent the mixture of odors. Move the source of fire over the tobacco mix in the pipe while doing long puffs via the mouthpiece;
  6. Then do small puffs with pauses. Carefully inhale the smoke and move the tongue over the palate. Do not inhale it like the cigarette smoke;
  7. If the pipe goes out, simply re-fill and light it again. Ashes should not be poured out until it interferes with the pipe fading away. This can only happen if there are many ashes inside;

Smoking a pipe in the wind: tips

How to smoke a pipe in the wind? When you are outside?  You need to understand that the normal place of the pipe is your palm. If your hands are busy and you can’t touch this device, this is a dangerous situation. The pipe may warm up, but you won’t feel it on time. 

Smoking a pipe in the wind: tips

So, the main task when you are smoking a pipe outside – you need to be able to hold the handset. Especially in the wind. Even if you don’t smoke the pipe right now, the wind can heat up the pipe and burn tobacco, pipe and your fingers or lips. 

When you are outside and the weather is windy, the pipe must be smoked “on the brakes”. Have you seen the sailors in old movies who hold their thumb on the bowl of the pipe? Some smokers even think that sailors trample tobacco with a finger. In such a way, they protect the pipe from the wind. The thumb covers the bowl from the wind. And when they make a puff, they let some air into the bowl. Follow these tips and you will be just fine when smoking a pipe outside

Smoking a pipe in the wind

But you don’t need to close the bowl with your finger in some pipes. Modern devices have special metal protective covers from the wind. But if the wind is strong, then the covers will not help, only a finger or palm covering the pipe from the wind will do. 

The temperature of the smoking pipe can be compared with the temperature of the human body. When you take the pipe, you should feel the heat similar to your body temperature. In such a way, the pipe will not provide a bitter taste. If the smoker feels a higher temperature, it is necessary to reduce the rate of smoking. If a person feels a very hot surface, he or she should cease smoking gradually by making only short puffs.

Tampering when smoking a pipe

To let the pipe smolder slowly, but without fading away, you need to tamper tobacco from time to time. With a finger, press the mixture lightly with the heel of a tamper and do short, but frequent puffs. The moment when you need to inhale the smoke is easy to catch – see when the smoke becomes very small, and the surrounding air mixes with its aroma.

Tampering when smoking a pipe

After tampering, it is necessary to tilt the device slightly and tap the bowl with your finger to discard the ashes from the inside.

How to smoke a new pipe?

A layer of soot must necessarily form on the inner walls of the pipe’s bowl, which will protect it from burning. In the process of smoking is just that gradually the walls of the tobacco chamber become covered with soot. That is why smoking an “old” pipe is easier. But if you have bought a new device and want to try it, here is what you should do: 

  1. Fill the pipe to a third of the volume of the bowl not very tightly and smoke to the end. You should do this each time within 5-7 days after buying it;
  2. Repeat all these steps with the bowl stuffed by half;
  3. Repeat all these steps with the bowl stuffed up to 2/3. And only then, you can fill and smoke a pipe fully stuffed with tobacco;

How often can you smoke the same pipe?

One pipe can be smoked no more than once a day. Between smoking, pipes should be cooled down and thoroughly aired out. Even if you smoke a pipe once a day, every day it is better to have two or more pipes and smoke them in sequence. This will make it possible for each pipe to “rest” – to cool down and dry properly.

How often can you smoke the same pipe

Why is it important to give the pipe a rest? Moisture is always released during the combustion of tobacco leaves, in particular, when tobacco burns (it’s better for it to smolder) in a pipe, moisture accumulates inside the chamber with tobacco. If the bowl does not dry sufficiently and the moisture in the pipe accumulates, the device will start to taste “sour”, begin to grunt and gurgle. In this case, forget about the pleasure of smoking a pipe. An unpleasant odor appears in the pipe, the smoke becomes moist, bitter and tasteless. And yet, while smoking, no matter what happens to you, never bite the mouthpiece of the pipe too much.

Highlights and tips about smoking pipe tobacco:

  • Do not use the pipe if it has recently fallen down;
  • Never take apart a hot or even warm pipe;
  • Let the pipe cool and make it dry before disassembling;
  • Tobacco is packaged in varying degrees of humidity. If the tobacco is very wet, then to make it easier to smoke, dry it, leaving it open.
  • To prevent the wooden polished pipe from losing its shine, you should polish it with a special paste.
  • The pipe should not burn at all. It can be slightly warm, but it can never be hot. If the outer surface burns your fingers, you need to reduce the rate of smoking or completely stop smoking;
  • If you find it difficult to hold the device in your hands, it means that it is too hot. Set it aside and put out the fire, and then try again in a few minutes;

Highlights and tips about smoking pipe tobacco


Be patient and take your time. In general, smoking a pipe will only bring real pleasure when you fully master the techniques of filling, burning, ramming and smoking. It takes time to find your favorite tobacco blends and pipes that you like. Feel free to seek advice and help. You can learn more about pipe smoking by means of numerous forums where experienced smokers share their experiences.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Kyle

    How often can you smoke the same pipe? Now this is a really good question that not many ask themselves. I know people that smoke the same pipe 3-4 times daily. They don’t realize a pipe needs a rest to dry properly.

  2. Luke

    Hey Jacob! I have recently started smoking pipes. I didn’t think I would eventually go for pipes as I am a cigar lover but here we are. If you’d ask me 5 years ago I would have said “no way!” to pipes. How time can change a man’s opinion of things! Anyway, I found your article very interesting and useful as I’ve got a lot to learn about how to smoke a pipe. Just wanted to say hi and thank you for trying to help others.

    1. Jacob Williams

      Hey, Luke! Thanks for the comment.

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