Is it safe to store your bong, pipe, or weed accessories outside during the winter?

Published Nov 19, 2019 10:00 a.m. ET
iStock / RHWB Studios

A lot of tokers enjoy the experience somewhere outside of their homes, as many cannabis consumers have children, share living spaces, or don’t want to deal with the lingering smell, but now that the colder weather is here, it’s time to start considering which pieces should be stored inside of the house. Whether you have a nice little storage shed or garage or keep your stash box in your car, there are a few things you should know about the potential risks and what to do about them.

The cold isn’t inherently damaging on its own, and when it comes to most cannabis goods, it’s generally recommended to store them in a cool and dark space, but that isn’t the case with most weed accessories, as some can endure significant damage not from the cold, but from what it does to the piece in between uses and the weakness that can occur when you try to use your glass bongs or pipes after a chilly night spent outdoors.

How the cold might impact a bong, pipe, and other cannabis-related tools

If you keep pipes or bongs out in the cold, then there are a few things that you need to watch out for, and a lot of people don’t realize the risks until it’s far too late. Below are the 3 most common ways that the cold can end up damaging your bong or pipe, followed by a helpful list of tips and tricks for those who have no other choice but to store their precious collection out in the cold.

1. Water freezing in glass bongs and water pipes
One of the biggest mistakes that happen to bongs and other water-filled smoking devices is that they get left full of water, and when the liquid freezes, it expands, which can damage the glass beyond repair.

2. Exploding glass
The first scenario is likely to result in a sad walk into a room full of glass and a destroyed bong, but this next one can harm your face. It is important to note that some water pipes and bongs are actually designed to work perfectly while cold, but cheaper alternatives might not be up to the challenge.

When heat is applied to lower quality glass that is frozen, the probability of it shattering goes sky high, and even if you manage to do it several times with no issue, unless the bong or pipe is made for it, small cracks will begin to form within the glass which will eventually make the entire piece weaker and more liable to break.

3. Swollen metal
Weed accessories and some tools like weed pipes are made with metal, and while it might seem like a relatively heavy-duty material, the cold is incredibly strong and can shift and warp most kinds of metal. Now, your grinder isn’t going to shatter in your hands or face but being left outside might make chopping up some fresh herb a difficult task.

The cold makes most metals expand, so it can be hard just to open a metal grinder in lower temperatures, and the same is true for metal pipes with threaded lids. Lockboxes, storage containers, and any other functional weed accessories can be prone to this irritating issue.

Tips and tricks on outdoor bong or pipe storage

Most damage and problems that happen with outdoor bong storage can be avoided with these super helpful tips and tricks:

  • Stick with plastics and high-grade metals rather than cheaper alternatives and glass whenever possible.

  • Keep a heater handy to warm up the space before you start a smoking session with the cold gear.

  • Always empty bongs and water pipes between uses to avoid damage from expanding water.

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