Packing and Enjoying Your Hookah




Thinking about buying a hookah? Already have a hookah and it's just sitting in the corner collecting dust? Time to pick one up or bring yours out and enjoy it!


Step 1: The Hookah

There are lots of different kinds out there. Egyptian, Syrian, Modern, etc etc and come in a large range of sizes. From 12" to 42", from one hose to multiple. Doesn't really matter what kind you have or get. I personally enjoy the larger ones because I feel inhaling off them is nicer and I use mine lots, so why not make it a bit flashy. There are also different kinds of bowl and hoses. I've never found any real difference in the performance of those items. Now onto what you're going to need besides the hookah.

Step 2: Things You Need Besides the Hookah

You are going to need, shisha, coals, aluminium foil, and a lighter.

Shisha (the stuff you smoke) is mainly maid up of virgin tobacco, fruit pulp, molassas, honey and i'm sure a few other variations from brand to brand. It is relatively low in nicotine and tar and find smoking it more nice and smoother than cigarette tobacco.

Coals also come from a multitude of manufacterers. You can get pressed ones like I have or all natural like some of the "pros" like to use. Check out the internet for what people think is good (I use 3 Kings)

Aluminum foil... pretty basic. I just use the same roll i use for stuff in the kitchen. You can get pre-cut circular hookah foils but they are more expensive.

Any old lighter will do, I just happen to have a torch lighter I keep around.

Step 3: Packing Your Bowl and Getting It Ready

So it's time to get everything ready for smoking. You have your nice clean bowl and it's time to bring out the shisha. I keep mine in the freezer as I believe it keeps it fresher and you can keep it around longer. It doesn't freeze in the freezer. So pull out some shisha and crumble it up and very lightly pack it into the bowl (we need hot air to come down and through it). I only pack mine 2/3 full, you can fill it more but it might be to close to the heat source and also when you are done, you will find unburned shisha... so why would you want to waist it. You then get yourself a square piece of foil and tightly put it over the top of the bowl. Make sure it is air tight.

Step 4: Filling Up the Water Vase

Not as simple as it sounds. I've heard of people putting all sorts of different liquids in the bottom from juice to alcohol. Remember that whatever liquid is in it will be getting ashes and such in it, so don't drink it afterwards. I just stick with nice cold water. I fill it up so that when you put the top part on, the down tube is about an inch under the water. If you have a bunch more it becomes harder to inhale.

Step 5: Prepairing for Lighting and Lighting the Coal

You can now put your bowl on top of your hookah. Be sure to make sure it's seated down firmly so there is no air leaks. You there take whatever sharp instrument you have laying around and poke holes in the top. Make it a circle pattern and make sure it's not larger that the diameter of your coals. I always put the coal on the bowl upside down. You then light the piece of charcoal. It will spark and smoke and I usually leave it for a minute so there is some good heat in it. You can tell when it's warmed up a bit by the white around the edges. You can now flip the coal so it seals better on the foil and start to inhale and enjoy your hookah.

Step 6: Enjoy It.

Depending on how often you are inhaling from it or how many people you have smoking will vary the amount of smoking time. I usually say it will take an hour to smoke your bowl of shisha. So enjoy it and smoke it if ya got it!



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    19 Discussions


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Less harmful, yes. Non-harmful? There's still combustion happening, which means carcinogens are still being formed.

    From 7 years of hookah repair and smoking as well of study of culture it is iimportant to not burn coals ontop of the foil. Burn seperatly in the tray or in a coal holder. Very nice instructable.


    7 years ago on Step 5

    what i do is take a tooth pick or needle and poke holes all the way around, not to many or big. then i take the coal and light it off the hookah and i put it on the sides not center because if u put it on the center right away the smoke time doesnt last that long. but if u run the sides first it last alot longer, i used 1 bowl with my 8 hose hookah for 4 hours while doing this. it also depends on the size of ur bowl, if its small it wont last as long, i got one that is about 2 1/2 inches and its pretty deep. i cant promise it will work with all bowls

    A stove is also a quick way to light a coal, as long as you don't mind cleaning it after.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    just a warning... DO NOT USE BBQ BRIQUETTES THEY WILL MAKE YOU SICK! use only charcoal made for hookah smoking.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    few things - the tobacco also contains glycerin typically (or some other similar things) i believe to help it burn evenly. also in my experience some shops sell large boxes of briquette style charcoal (think BBQ) that come in carrot sized logs. you need to break them up of course to fit on the bowl but they burn nicer IMHO. warning - not self lighting! i tried making some before but had no glycerin - so it didn't burn that well.... so is anyone gonna step up and write an instructable on homemade hookah tobacky?

    3 replies

    that would be pretty intense if someone grew their own tobacco, used fruit that they grew and picked up the other ingredients. I bet there are recipes out there for it though


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    molasses (sp?) is the stuff I've always heard referred to, not glycerin. Perhaps molasses is mainly glycerin, I don't know.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    as a strange side not if you lose your down tube that goes into the water (or had it missing from your set like me) a jack in the box straw fits perfectly in most hookahs. for some reason the ones from other restraunts dont. i guess jack in the box was made for smokers of all herbage

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    What do you use to flip the coal? I've never heard of doing it that way before, and it seems like a good way to get a more even burn from cheaper coals.

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    usually when you buy a hookah they give you a pair of tongs. so that's what I use with mine. i guess you could use a pair of needle nose pliers if need be. I've also seen people use scissors before. but when the coal flips out then it tends to burn whatever it lands on

    You can use your fingers if your quick about it, charcoal is rather porous and as such is a fairly poor heat conductor. On a side note its probably a bad idea to test your hotcrap juggling skills for the first time while in side.