What Are One-Hitter Pipes and How Do You Use Them to Smoke Weed?
Get familiar with one of the oldest, most reliable tools for cannabis consumption: the one-hitter (aka the "chillum" or "bat").
Published on September 12, 2019

The robust array of gear available for cannabis consumers continues to grow with each success of the reform movement. For every state that has pivoted to permit medical or recreational pot sales, eager innovators (and their mostly corporate backers) have grown ever more determined to build a better bread box… filled with weed.

In addition to more “standard” consumption tools, such as rolling papers, bongs, and rudimentary edibles, we now have vaporizers and other gadgets that require a power source to get you high. There are cannabis cookbooks with nuanced details on infusion, terpene flavor blends, and potency. Some have referred to the last few years of cannabis reform as the “Wild West era” for the industry, but sometimes it can feel more like a Sharper Image press release than organic, authentic progress.

At the complete opposite end of the spectrum is one of the oldest, most reliable devices for cannabis consumption: the one-hitter.


What Is a One-Hitter? 

In essence, a one-hitter — also known as a “chillum” or “bat” — is any pipe that can be packed and cleared in a single hit. Often, one-hitters are sold as hollow glass tubes with a bowl on one end and a mouthpiece on the other. Technically, those distinctions may be fairly arbitrary, as the only essential requirement is that you can inhale on one end while lighting the flower on the opposite.

Most one-hitters don’t bother with a carb (the little hole found on the sides of bowls and pipes that you cover when lighting the flower) as the quantity of cannabis used renders it unnecessary. One-hitters are available commercially in glass, wood, ceramic, metal and other materials, and they range in appearance from elegant and elaborate to more rudimentary designs that highlight discretion. Many designs attempt to disguise the one-hitter as a cigarette.

Gallery —  Bootleg Bongs:

Why Should I Use a One-Hitter? 

There are no simple answers at the back of the book when it comes to one’s preferred method of consumption. Tokers who require a substantial dose of THC will likely be unsatisfied with the process of continually repacking a chillum. But if the goal is to travel freely without feeling encumbered by having a big vaporizer or pipe in your jacket, one-hitters are definitely a solid option.

Whether your chillum is painted to resemble a Marlboro or not, there’s no denying that one-hitters are less obvious than the constant stream of smoke you’ll get from a joint or blunt. Thanks to their shape and size, chillums are also more discreet than the unmistakable outline of a pipe or pipe pouch. 

One-hitters are ideal for when supplies are running low. Instead of cramming a bunch of flower into a pipe or bong and hoping for the best, a one-hitter is a practical avenue for making the most of your leftover stash. 

Finally, maybe you just don’t want to get that high! One-hitters are wonderful in situations where a joint or bong rip might be too much. If a single hit is all you fancy, a chillum is a great addition to any stash box.


How to Use a One-Hitter 

  1. Fill the bowl-end of your chillum with cannabis. You don’t want the flower to be so thick that is fails to burn evenly, but you also shouldn’t grind your pot too finely or it may fall out when you turn your one-hitter horizontal to light up. 
  2. With the mouth-end pressed against your lips, light the bowl and take a long, measured inhalation. Ideally, you want to burn everything you packed without allowing it to disintegrate to the point where you risk inhaling it. 
  3. Hold in your hit and let it out as you see fit. To clean your one-hitter, it often takes nothing more than gently tapping the bowl-end of the chillum or using a paper towel to wipe it. 

Follow Zack Ruskin on Twitter

Zack Ruskin
Zack Ruskin is a cannabis and culture journalist living in San Francisco. Follow him on Twitter: @zackruskin.
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