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Saturday November 28, 2020

By Erin Hiatt


You have to admit, there’s something sort of exhilaratingly dangerous about using a handheld blowtorch to heat up your concentrate. A strong subculture of cannabis consumers love dabbing because of its near-instant effects and potency when compared to flower or other consumption methods. 

However, to dab well, you’ve got to commit to it. To do it right (and safely) you’ve got to get the standard equipment: rig, torch, nail, wand, and concentrate. But can you travel with all those dab tools? Forget it. Rigs are frequently made of glass and could end up shattered in your baggage, and traveling with a torch - especially on an airplane - is not advisable. 

What’s a dab enthusiast on-the-go to do? As technology for concentrate consumption has improved, more portable e-rig options are emerging in the marketplace, though some of them bear a hefty price tag. Is investing in a portable e-rig worth it? Here are some of the options out there. 

Puffco Peak Smart Rig

This portable e-rig has an architectural vibe with its seven-inch tall and streamlined silhouette.  Featuring four heating settings, 450, 500, 550, and 600 degrees Fahrenheit, it does lack some precision, but each temperature creates a lot of vapor, and the temperature can be easily adjusted.

This rig, which takes about 20 seconds to heat, charges up fully in about two hours and will last up to two hours, or approximately 30 dabs. The Puffco Peak Smart Rig is very user-friendly and easily controllable with the push of one button on the front of the rig. Offering temperature feedback in the form of LED light ring and a haptic response when firing, these features are a nice touch. 

These nice touches, however, cost around $400. Another expense is the ceramic bowls and chambers that will have to be replaced at some point, and at $25 bucks a pop, that’s an additional expense to consider. Also, 450 degrees being the lowest setting is decently low, but those into super low-temperature dabs might want to try before they buy.  

High Five Duo

For those that are into the very low low, take a look at the High Five Duo. With a temperature range of 350-600 degrees Fahrenheit, it is maybe the most versatile on the list. The Duo comes with both a quartz and titanium bowl, so those used to a typical e-nail or quartz bucket will feel right at home.

While it lacks some of the design-heavy aesthetics of other portable rigs, the $299 piece tag is a little easier to stomach, and the unit is a little bit sturdier for the tradeoff.  Being able to use it while charging is a nice touch for those that want to use it at home as well.

Dip Devices

While not a traditional dab rig, if you are looking for an alternate way to dab on the go (and this is without a doubt the most truly “portable” of the bunch), then check out the EVRI from Dip Devices. It’s an electric dab straw that allows you to take a quick direct pull. At $69.99 it’s also an easier entry-level device that still holds up for seasoned consumers. You can dab instantly with them, so no waiting for a nail to get up to heat either.

Dip’s other offering, the Dipper, offers a little more heft for just a little more price, but there’s a slight tradeoff of versatility. In addition to the dab attachment, the Dipper has a cup option, whereas the EVRI can adapt to use cartridges. Both make for some of the easiest on-the-go dabbing available, especially if you don’t want to tote around a whole rig.

Kandy Pens Oura

The Oura is the yin to Puffco’s yang, with its round shape and soft lines. Still priced high at $350, it does come with a lifetime guarantee, so if something happens to the device, you’re covered. Coming in both quartz and ceramic atomizer options, it heats up in a lightning-fast five seconds and has four temperature settings ranging from 620-1090 degrees Fahrenheit.

A nice aesthetic addition to the Oura is a handmade glass bulb, giving it a high-end look while still being easy to maintain and operate. Overall, the Oura offers a quality vape experience, though again, temperatures are towards the higher range. 

Carta Vape Rig V2

If you’re not in the mood to fork over big bucks for your rig, consider the Carta Vape Rig V2 that starts at $250. Consisting of the base unit, borosilicate glass, and either a quartz or titanium atomizer, the unit itself has a plastic finish and comes in two-tone black and white or monochrome.

In its default mode, the Carta features four heat settings (which tend towards the higher end), but if you connect the device via Bluetooth, you can control the rig with an app that allows for a wider range of temperatures. 

The Carta distinguishes itself from the others by including replaceable batteries, should you find yourself without charging capability, and for an extra $30 you can add a dry herb vaporizer, also unique among portable rigs. With a USB charge time that usually takes less than an hour, you’ll be good for about 30 dabs. 

Ares Electric Dab Rig

If you don't like the anxious wait of charging for the first use, the Ares Electric Dab Rig is ready to enjoy right out of the box. The heat-conducting chip is connected with a quartz atomizer for instant heating as well. Thanks to efficient energy consumption and a good battery life, you can enjoy up to 60 heated hits on a single charge.

And for portability, the double-sided black honeycomb relief design of the travel bag keeps your activities easily organized, low-key and protected from damage. At $219.99, the price of this rig is much easier to stomach compared to most other offerings on this list as well. The rig's nozzle is made of platinum-cured silicone, which is removable for easy cleaning, safer and healthier, making your vaporizer all the more special. Especially in our current age of germ-consciousness, having a cleaner mouthpiece is a big bonus. The portable 6.5 inch compact vaporizer is designed to be hidden in a pocket or backpack so you can take it with you.

The Takeaway

Are portable e-rigs worth it, or really even portable? They are definitely more compact than their larger desktop counterparts. As for portability, that may depend on how you’re traveling and how much space you’re willing to give up to take an e-rig along. Are they worth it? That’s up to you. An e-rig does offer all the smoothness and potency of regular dab rigs, though they might not be as fun as having a sesh with a tiny torch.

What are your opinions and experiences with portable dab rigs? Share in the comments!

Photo Credit: Puffco (license)


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

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