DIY Taking Your Hookah Camping
Ahhh, summer. It doesn’t matter what age you are, the season feeling will remain the same forever. Summer brings with it vacation time, more travel, more packing, more long car rides, airport terminals, and finding outlets to charge your phone. When you can take a break from real life there is always the exciting anticipation of what/where your new temporary home will be and what shenanigans will ensue. Whenever possible, I like to bring a hookah with me on my travels - especially when camping.
I’m”old” so “camping” has many new definitions in our current time (We’ll go over that in a minute…people still go camping though right?). Regardless, bringing a hookah along with you on your camping journey elevates things up a notch. There’s nothing quite the same as having a hookah next to a campfire at the end of the day. When you’re camping, time slows down in the best way and preparing a bowl of shisha to smoke with friends takes on a different vibe. Use this guide to help you make sure you’re prepared to smoke hookah on your next camping excursion.
The Basic Ways Of Camping & How They Affect Your Hookah Choices
There are many different ways to ‘go camping’ and how you camp makes a difference on what the best possible camping hookah setup might be for you. I’ve been camping since I was able to walk and have done so many many many times and in many many many various ways. My favorite way to bring a hookah camping is on the beach, and if you’re planning on this, check out this blog for beach-ready hookah tips. Here are the most common ways to camp inland.
Each style presents a different way of thinking when it comes to including a hookah in your gear.
Just as it sounds, camping out of your car, or very near it. You usually pull up into a parking spot, open your car door and a few feet away is where you pitch a tent, and often your site comes with a picnic table (bonus points for your hookah). This type of camping is great for bringing a hookah with you. You’re really only limited to your spare space in your car. You can bring along anything from an Oduman Micro to a Smokezilla Muto.
"Glamping" (Glamor Camping)
I’m twitching even considering including this one as a type of camping…This way of camping is luxury and all of your hookah dreams are possible. Typically you’re in an RV, a pull-behind camper, a cabin, etc.. You usually have electricity (great for a coal burner and natural coals), water connections (good news for your base and hookah cleaning), and a place to smoke a hookah with comfortable seating. Case of coals? Sure. A Kaloud Krsyalis Etheria? Bring it. You’re glamping.
The OG way. You may have to walk a little further to get to your site so a little more planning is key here. When you’re camping this way your hookah size, charcoal options, and shisha choices need a little more attention. You don’t want to be hauling around a Lavoo, Wookah, or Carbine and boxes of Three Kings or a bunch of pouches of Azure. You may also need to consider putting your shisha into a storage container to keep it from drying out.
[New Level Unlocked if this is your thing] First, you’re my new best friend. This is the best way to camp in my opinion, AND it is possible to still bring a hookah with you (trust me I’ve done it)! However, if you’ve backpacked before you are well aware that each carefully selected item you bring with you affects space and weight. Quick-light coals are your friend here, and ultra-compact hookahs like the INVI Nano are exactly what you need.
Camping Friendly Hookah Sizes
If you’re “glamping” then it’s open season for you. Skip ahead. For those tent campers and car campers you should consider your hookah sizes. We’ll get to backpacking in a minute.
A hookah that is anywhere from 12” to 28” in height can be taken car camping with success. The KM Mini Classic is right in between those sizes and the KM Mini Beast is right at the end of that spectrum. There are also many other options from Amira/BYO, Starbuzz, and Golden Desert within this size range. When you’re taking a hookah tent or car camping just be sure to consider your available space and how far you’re going to have to move it around.
One of the best hookah brands for portability and camping purposes is MYA Saray. They have so many great options from 8” to 14” with an incredible build quality. The MYA QT comes with a metal carrying cage and the MYA Bambino has a small, lightweight box to keep all of your pieces in one spot. Smaller models like the Chikita, Chico, and Minionette are also great.
The ultimate, compact, camp-ready award goes to hookahs like the Sheeshaya Hazard, VIP Acrylic, INVI Nano, and Oduman Micro. These hookah models break down completely for easy transport, storage, and perform just as well as any larger hookahs. The VIP Acrylic has a non-glass base so no worries about breakage. The INVI Nano comes in two versions: aluminum for a lighter weight option and stainless steel for more durability. Both the INVI Nano and the Oduman Micro also come with their own padded travel bags that can hold all of your bits and pieces. If you’re going camping backpacking style then the Nano and the Micro are the best options.
Don't Forget Any Hookah Supplies
This is where things can go sideways real fast. Packing a portable hookah kit can almost feel like packing for another person but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Mentally go through your checklist as if you were making a hookah at your house.
- Your hookah & a bowl
- Foil or an HMD
- Something to poke holes into your foil (pro-move if you have a dedicated foil poker)
- A hookah hose (washable for the win, always, or you can take some disposable ones to not mess up your good ones)
- Charcoal and plenty of it just in case. You’ll most likely be taking along quick-lighting charcoal, but if you know you will be without electricity and you plan on having a campfire you can light natural hookah charcoal in your firepit. Don’t forget a lighter for your quicklights.
These are your basic essentials for a hookah setup. You have some leeway for extras if you’re car camping, tent camping, or glamping; but if you’re backpacking this would be the bare minimum.
Bring Extra Hookah Supplies When You Can
First things first: WATER. Please make sure you have enough water to stay hydrated for one, but when you’re smoking hookah it is even more vital that you have plenty of water or sports drinks on hand. Not all campsites will have readily available water so be sure to bring extra; and keep in mind having a supply for cleaning.
If you plan on bringing several different flavors of shisha with you, having shisha storage containers really makes a difference. They keep your shisha protected from drying out, getting humid, or dirty - plus they’re just a bonus to have at your house for shisha storage. Having a few extra rolls of quicklighting charcoal is also a good thing to have.
Grommets, grommets, grommets and foil, foil, foil. Did I mention grommets and foil? Don’t just bring one bowl grommet and one hose grommet, bring a few. But, if you find that your grommets have mysteriously gotten up and walked away on a hike of their own, you can use the “Paper Towel Trick”.
If you’re not using an HMD, and you don’t plan on some creative campfire-foil-meals, then also remember to bring some foil with you for your bowls. The Amira Pre-Punched packs are perfect for in-house and on-the-go hookah sessions. A foil poker isn’t a bad idea to have on hand either.
Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty bonuses. Having one hookah hose on hand is a gamble when you’re taking a hookah on a travel journey. If you lose it, break it, or rip it you’re pretty much out of luck [Don’t be that person inhaling straight from the hose port]. Disposable hookah hoses like the ones from Al Fakher are inexpensive enough to have a few on hand and they are very handy for hookah travels. There are also other washable hookah hoses that don’t cost much if you want to bring something a little more beefy with you [and keep at home]. The Shisha House Ripper hose and the Amira/BYO Wand are fantastic hookah hoses that also travel well.
Lastly, hookah wind covers. Oh, the songs I can belch about hookah wind covers! They’re such a versatile hookah accessory and, I’ve said it many times, if you don’t have one get one. If you have one and have the space, bring it with you. They help block drafts from hitting your hookah coals and they can prolong the life of those last little bits of coal on your bowl.
Know The Rules & Follow Them
Alrighty, putting my papa hat on for this last point because it’s important and something to not forget. Much like how I explained in our Hookah On The Beach blog, you should understand, acknowledge, and follow any rules for where you’ll be camping. I’ll keep it shorter this time.
- If you are camping within a state or national park ask for or obtain information about any regulations for smoking within the area. Hookah counts as smoking just the same as anything else.
- If you’re staying on private property ask the owner about what they allow.
The main point here is to be respectful of the space you’re in. You’re lighting up hot pieces of charcoal and you’re smoking from a device a lot of people are not familiar with. If you’re uncertain if you can smoke a hookah at your campsite, just ask.
I know we left it on a serious note but camping with a hookah is so fulfilling. It doesn’t matter if you only have to take a few steps from your car to set up your tent, back in your RV, unpack your bags in a cabin bunk, or hike a mile or two - you’re camping! That’s the important thing. Having a hookah along for the ride is a bonus and not unobtainable. Make sure you have all of your supplies, be safe, stay hydrated, and let us know how your camping trip turned out!