Wrapping Up the Year with Some of Our Favourite Gear
Hey everyone, welcome to the special Christmas episode of Vape Talk. Lately, we’ve been using the Onyx Volcano Hybrid a whole bunch and it is just a stellar rendition of the seminal Volcano. The Volcano Hybrid heats up in only 40 seconds and it's controlled on the front by a touchscreen. The touchscreen is sleek, but we don't find it quite as tactile as the buttons on some previous models. We prefer the buttons better overall, but we don't have any problems using the touchscreen and it does feel very futuristic.
The Volcano Hybrid has a Few New Tricks
When considering the Volcano Hybrid, there's two major benefits that make it “hybrid”. The first advantage is a dual heating system that provides a mixture of conduction heating along with the primary convection heating. The second hybrid advantage is that you can use it with either a whip or with the classic balloon. We prefer the balloon overall, for sure, but the whip is a nice option to have. We’ve modified our whip so that it works directly with a water piece, and we would recommend you try that out if you haven't had the opportunity.
The Volcano Hybrid an incredible device, but if we must be nit-picky, one thing we don't love is that it has a huge loading chamber; this can be good or bad, depending on your use case. The legendary Volcano can produce some dense bags, but if you don't want to put a lot of material in the oven, you’re kind of screwed, unless you get the chamber reducer. We would recommend checking that out because it also opens the doors to use dosing capsules, which is a handy way to pre-load sessions if you’re heading out.
If you have an Android device, there's an app that lets you control all aspects of your Volcano experience directly from your phone, you can even turn it off and on, a feature that we absolutely love. If you have an iPhone, you can still do this but you're doing it through the web app, and we have a video that shows you how to use it with the VENTY; you can follow the exact same process to use it with the Volcano Hybrid. You can also create what they call “workflows” on the app and that allows you to construct and save a custom pattern for how it's going to heat up the bag. For example, you could set it so that it’s going to start heating it up at 350° for 6 seconds, and then kick it up to the max temperature hold it there for 10 seconds, and then activate the fan for 20 seconds; it really lets you customize it, and it’s fun to play around with. You probably won't end up using it in your daily routine, but you might, and it's at least cool to experiment with to try out.
The Volcano is the Established King for So Many Reasons
One of the reasons we love using the Volcano so much is that it's just incredibly easy to use. There is no technique required to use the Volcano whatsoever: fill up your chamber with flower, place it on your device, choose whether to use it with the bag or with the whip and turn it on; there's really nothing else to do and you get absolute top-quality vapour, among the best that there is. It is hard to beat the Volcano in terms of vapour quality and it's also hard to beat in relation to the smoothness of your hits, especially at higher temperatures as well. If you use the balloon, there is a significant amount of surface area, and that acts to cool your vapour down quite a bit, but if you're using it through the whip, we did find it to be a little bit harsher.
The Onyx colourway is probably our favourite overall Volcano look, maybe except for the gold variant, but the touch of a modern futuristic sense you get with the Hybrid in this matte Onyx colour is just fantastic. We wouldn't say it's the overall most efficient system, but we would say it's one of the most accurate systems. If you set your Hybrid to 400° it will extract what is available at your flower at 400° and that is it. The Volcano is going to lock onto the desired temperature, it has single degree temperature control and if you want to go to the higher temperatures with a fully loaded chamber, you can get some opaque, incredibly thick bags and they're super tasty.
We Love Ed and Ed Loves Making Killer Gear
The next product we’re hot about is Ed’s TNT MicroDosing Bowl. This is a great option for the ball or injector vape user who does necessarily want to take on the most massive bowl available or for someone who's looking to absolutely maximize the efficiency from their ball vape. Ball vapes have some powerful heat flowing through them and one of the nice things about these bowls being made from wood is that wood is a fantastic insulator, so even after a big hit you can grab the bowl directly and pull it out of your water piece; it's not going to be so hot that you can't grab it.
The MicroDosing Bowl is going to work with a 14mm water piece and is tooled from the beautiful cocobolo that Ed loves to use. Each Bowl is going to look different as it's a natural wood, and the one we opened up is quite stunning. If you compare the bowl that comes with the Freight Train Pro to the MicroDosing Bowl, they are quite a bit different in size and the bowl for the Freight Train could be filled up to capacity if you so desired. The MicroDosing Bowl has a small bent screen inside the cavity, and you can push it down further if you want to try to maximize your bowl size, but we don't really know why you would since it is a micro dosing bowl, and it only takes a little bit of flower.
The Micro Dosing Bowl is not a universal bowl; it's not going to work with a MiniNail Flower Wand for example, but it does work with the Freight Train Pro, the Terp Hammer and with several other vaporizer set-ups that we tested it with. All that you need to do to operate it is to load your flower in the bowl and then hold your ball vape on top of the MicroDosing Bowl. The Bowl’s design creates a natural air tunnel that makes it possible to extract all the vapour from your MicroDosing Bowl in one hit. It's a similar experience to using a half bowl convertor with your DynaVap: you will have more, fresh loads rather than a large bowl where you're running six or seven hits through it, and it ends up being completely flavourless and the effects get diminished as well. As such, this MicroDosing Bowl from Ed’s TNT is a great option and for anyone who likes small, more efficient bowls or just isn't looking to get those big, massive hits that the ball vapes are capable of. You can still utilize all those great things about the power your ball vape has just with a much smaller load.
The New Herb Ripper has an Embarrassment of Riches
The next gadget we’re digging is the Herb Ripper, specifically the new 2023 update. This device just dropped so not many have had a chance to get their hands on it, but we have, and it … rips. The Herb Ripper is a 100% stainless-steel grinder that’s medical or food grade, whatever you prefer to call it, but it is exactly that: pure quality. One of the nice things about stainless-steel is that it doesn’t need anodizing. This is raw stainless-steel construction, meaning there’s no anodizing that can come off and mix in with your flower where you’ll end up vaping it; that’s not capable of happening in a stainless-steel grinder. A steel build also means that it's quite heavy; this bastard has some heft to it.
The Herb Ripper was already a great grinder, but they made some great changes for 2023. First, the teeth are sharper and better designed; they're super robust and won’t break on you over time, period. Currently, we have a medium grinding plate in ours and that's going to be perfect for most of your sessions, but they do have options if you want to go another route. The magnets are very strong, they hold the grinding plate securely in place; you can shake it free from its connection if you're trying to, but these are very strong magnets on the exterior of the Herb Ripper.
The Herb Ripper has a beautiful matte finish. It used to be shiny, but this finish is going to do a better job at hiding those little scratches and fingerprints over time. When you open your Ripper up, it gets kind of cool: the first thing that you notice is there's not a lot of threading. They call this design “fire hose threading” and it's easy to get on or off. When you open it up, you will find the kief catching layer. Essentially, your flower lands in the basket and then some of the kief is going to filter down through that screen and collect in the bottom like in a standard 4-piece grinder.
If you like, you can put a little bit of extra kief on your flower bowls or use it all at once if you're really into a strong hit. This plate comes out very easily. Next, there’s your flower reservoir and it comes out easily; that's where your kief is going to be saved. There's no removing or adding layers, you don't end up with a taller or a shorter grinder depending on how many layers you want to use at a time and there's no magnets, this section pops in and out easily and that's probably our favourite upgrade to this grinder, overall.
The Herb Ripper includes these two small accessories as well. The first is a guitar pick shaped tool meant for scraping the kief off your bottom layer and then you also get a little stainless-steel agitator ball. Only place this stainless-steel ball in the flower section if you're looking to get more kief than usual, if you don't want to get more kief in that bottom layer, don't put that stainless-steel ball in there because that's all it's going to do.
We really like the Herb Ripper because it's one of those “buy it once” type of elite products. Because it’s made of 100% stainless-steel, and is non-anodized, there's not that much that's possible of breaking down in this situation. The Herb Ripper comes very clean with isopropyl alcohol, but you could even put it in the dishwasher if you want.
We’re going to do a quick demo with a virgin Herb Ripper that has never been used before, so let's go ahead and grind some flower up. In the video, you can see the consistency of grind that you can expect to get with this medium plate; put a good size piece of flower in there and try to place it to the side, not directly on the middle. It doesn't really make a significant difference, but we found that it works a little better. Close the device up and it’s grinding time; you can tell those teeth are very sharp because this is super sticky flower and it’s cycling quite freely. Grind it in a clock and counterclockwise motion and tap it; open that up and as expected, we have a nice fluffy grind on that.
Want a Finer Grind? Get the Fine Grinding Plate
When you purchase the Herb Ripper, it comes with everything that you need, but it also has a couple of optional accessories available. Rather than using this medium grinding plate we demonstrated earlier, some vapes do better with a finer grind, and Herb Ripper does offer a Fine Grinding Plate. There are two sizes of the plate, the XL that we’ve been using, but they also have it for the Classic sized grinder. The Fine Grinding Plate simply has more and smaller holes meaning that your flower must get to a smaller size before it's going to fall into the reservoir. It’s super easy to swap the plates out, the medium plate goes off simply and the fine one goes right in its place. As you can see in the video, there’s smaller holes and more of them so for that fine grind obviously the fine grinding plate is going to be a better choice.
Make the Herb Ripper a Storage Container
The other optional accessory available for the Herb Ripper is the Storage Lid. The Herb Ripper Storage Lid transforms any Classic or XL Herb Ripper from an impressive grinder to a sleek and protective, low-profile storage container. This transformation significantly increases the portability of the device, making it perfect for travel. Just grind up your flower, take the grinding section off the Herb Ripper, replace it with the storage lid and you’re off to the races.
The Lid also comes with a friction ring to prevent that stank from leaching out. With the Herb Ripper Storage Lid, you can easily turn your favourite grinder into a stylish, inconspicuous carrying case.
A Magnetic Shovel Makes Vape Loading Effortless
Finally, we have a new accessory that we use daily, the Magnetic Vape Loading Shovel. This is something that we need as often as we load our vapes and this is just a way better way to do it then fiddling around with a key or your fingers. When you have a Magnetic Vape Loading Shovel like this, it’s just way easier than any non-specific tool at your fingertips and it's a lot more hygienic, too; you don't want to get your fingers involved if you can avoid it, especially if you're sharing a session with friends.
The Shovel is available in both a brass and a titanium option, and the magnetic aspect is a lot handier than you think. For example, in our vape station, our Shovel just fastens to a piece of metal on the side of the desk. So, our tool is secured, always ready-to-go on the side of the tabletop. It’ll keep that connection upside down; it'll do it any way you want.
You can even use the Shovel for something like taking off a DynaVap cap if that's going to be a little bit easier for you. Keep in mind, whenever you have metal, just be aware that you don't want to scrape your grinder, especially if it's anodized. If you're scraping an anodized grinder hard, you might scrape that anodizing right off; with something like the Herb Ripper that doesn't really matter as much because it's stainless-steel, but in general, just scoop against the metal - try not to scrape against the metal.The scoop has a good capacity and for something like the CRAFTY which is a little bit harder to load, this just makes the whole process so much easier; we can get it loaded with exactly how much flower we want and then after we are good to go.
If you turn the Shovel around, you can use the magnetic end as a tamp to get your bowl perfectly set up right in place. It's not an expensive piece and it's the kind of thing that you're going to be using to load every vape bowl, so it is really a worthwhile purchase and one we use literally every day.
Thanks so much for checking out this special Christmas episode of Vape Talk, we hope you all have an awesome Christmas and a great holiday season with all your family and friends. Keep it green (like reefs [or reefers]) keep it sneaky (like Santa [or the weed man on the 25th]) and we'll see you next time.
Keep it green, keep it sneaky; we'll see you next time.
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