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There's no question about it: we're living in the Golden Age of Cannabis. Whether you're a THC fan or stick on the CBD side of things, you've got an overwhelming array of infused edibles, creams, tinctures, and even bath products to choose from these days. Where the market has been much slower to catch up, though, is in paraphernalia: the bowls, pipes, and other assorted hardware we use to make the most of our plant medicine.
Case in point, a brand new dispensary opened up just a few blocks from me – and while they had enough weed products to keep me busy through next year, when I asked to buy a pipe I was met with blank stares. I was told (quite snarkily, I might add) to "maybe check out a smoke shop instead," a suggestion that just doesn't add up to me. All this product and nothing to smoke it with… has the reign of edibles really made the old ways obsolete?
Not if you ask Vessel, the very stylish brand behind some of the most aesthetically pleasing vape and dry-herb accessories you could ask for. By using premium materials and finishes, Vessel brings the cutting-edge design and engineering sensibilities that have permeated the rest of cannabis culture to humble products like the grinder or the one-hitter. There's nothing wrong with nostalgia for the Bic lighter and apple bong days, but let's face it: anything worth doing is worth doing in style.
STYLE MEETS SUBSTANCES
Since its inception in 2018, Vessel has drawn heavily on founder James Choe's decades of experience working in the athletics industry. Having designed sports products, where performance was always the highest concern, Choe understood that it wasn't enough for Vessel's accessories to look good: they'd have to fire on all cylinders. It made perfect sense, then, to enter a niche like vape batteries, one hitters and batteries – products that in the past have always been cheap and flimsily made.
Vessel's alternatives by contrast, though they may cost more upfront, have the sturdy construction that guarantees longer use and lower long-term cost. The user experience is clearly at the forefront of every design: take the Carbon lighter ($45) for example, with its angled flame port that allows you to use it right side up or upside down (and emerge from either scenario unscathed). That same product also has high-precision trigger ignition and adjustable temperatures for its candle flame.
That's a lot of bonus features in one lighter, but it's representative of the entire Vessel experience. These products are sleek and minimalist but packed with hidden surprises – like the Ash ashtray, which opens up to reveal storage space for lighters and pieces alike. Ready to try my hand at some of the brand’s accessories, I added three of the most iconic products to my cart and anxiously awaited the opportunity to add a little style to my stash.
TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK
Though I spent a wonderful few years as a vape pen aficionado, lately I've found more pleasure in grinding my own product and lighting up. Call me old-school, but as such I ordered myself Vessel's Helix one-hitter, Air chillum pipe, Ember ashtray, and the aforementioned Carbon light. They're pieces that complement each other beautifully, with the Air's straightforward tube design at one end of the spectrum and the Helix's more complicated construction at the other.
The Helix ($65) takes its name from the double helix strands of pure, non-toxic brass that make up its internal structure, a twisty form of geometry that lengthens the path your smoke takes by 250%. This allows more time for filtration and cooling, delivering smoke that's genuinely smooth and won't leave you hacking up a lung. From my very first use, the difference was astonishing: the $10 bowl I'd been using for far too long often hit harsh or let errant pieces of herb pull through. The Helix was unquestionably a level up, a smoking experience that kept getting smoother over time as natural residues began to form yet another smoke filter. Plus, as someone that's shattered one too many glass bowls even while stone-cold sober, I was as impressed with the brass's durability as I was with its sophistication.
The Air ($25 per 3-pack) keeps it simple with no bells and whistles, just a slightly tapered shape and three beautifully-colored finishes to choose from. I went with the Emerald, and while I'll admit it felt like a bit of a comedown after the Helix's premium engineering, the two serve very different purposes. A chillum pipe like Air, essentially an open tube with no carb hole for controlling airflower, is designed for micro-dosing as it were: quick hits on the go that provide a subtle lift. Small, simple and discreet is the name of the game, and the Air is very much all three, a perfect companion for any picnics and beach days you've got lined up. It requires more frequent cleaning than the other model, but lucky for us Vessel includes a brush specifically designed for the Air. Now I've got no one but myself to blame when I forget to give it a scrub!
Lastly, the Ember became my very first ashtray. Despite my not-so-infrequent cannabis consumption, to me the ashtray has always been synonymous with cigarettes, and thus very much not a fixture in my home. Yet the Ember is a gorgeously crafted piece of concrete that – while it might not be hiding what it is – looks good enough to display proudly on any table or surface. It's the perfect size for cradling both the Helix and the Ash, and the cork foot pad protects my furniture from any nicks and scratches. While it might not have the same surprise contraptions as the Ash that I described above, there's real pleasure in the Ember's understated chic. It couldn't look more at home in my little bungalow.
All of the Vessel products, in fact, slipped right into my life and my routines while unmistakably giving my smoke sessions a level up. Now when I'm off to an outdoor concert, instead of trying to calculate edible dosage and timing, I throw the Air in my pocket and I'm good to go. Helix is by my side on movie nights, only getting smoother and more pleasant to hit as time goes on, with Carbon on standby for any relighting. And with tons of other cases, customizable kits, and the wide world of vapes available on the Vessel site, you can rest assured this won't be my last purchase. It's rare to find products that look this good but work even better – and that's a win worth celebrating.
FIVE MORE REASONS TO LOVE VESSEL
- As mentioned, vape fans have an embarrassment of riches to choose from, with five different lines of stunningly designed batteries each with a unique shape and profile.
- With a rewards program that gives $10 off for every 100 points earned, you'll be thrilled to learn you can earn your first 100 just by creating an account, and an additional 50 points for your first purchase.
- Vessel has such a firm grasp on design that it’s launched a BRXNDLAB division to help fledgling cannabis brands differentiate themselves through aesthetics and attention to detail.
- Vessel's in-house blog covers everything from the pros and cons of using different products to ideas for healthy stoner snacks.
- Vessel is always releasing limited edition products with bold, one-of-a-kind looks, like these Vista batteries in black and gold.