Recently I found myself at a crossroads. As the editor-in-chief of this online magazine, it’s been my job to learn as much as I can about the e-Cigarette. To learn all about vaping, and batteries, cartomizers, tanks, cartridges, atomizers, and everything else associated with eCigarettes. It’s been exhilarating and demanding, passionate and tiring.
I took some time to myself several days ago and reflected back to the first time I tried an e-cigarette and how I went from complete noob to someone that can strip down most of the vaping hardware I own and put it back together in the dark. It all happened so fast, and going from level to level was mostly subconscious, I just wasn’t aware. So I played back the events that led me to where I am today and decided to see how many of you traveled down this same road.
Take a few minutes to read what follows. Did you travel down a similar road? I’d love to hear about it, so feel free to comment below.
When you discover eCigarettes, especially those of you that were smokers prior to finding eCigarettes, it seems like a simple process, didn’t it. If you’re lucky the first mini-eCig you tried is good enough to get you off tobacco right away. Most likely, it took some trial and error to find the right mix of flavor, nicotine, and vapor, and lest we forget, how it feels in your hands (we are a tactile species after all). Having said that, even if you wind up trying half a dozen brands, or more, you eventually find one you like and it’s off to the races. Or so we think.
Moving On Up
If you use eCigarettes as a way to satisfy your nicotine cravings, and that’s all, then nothing much changes in your life after switching to electronic cigarettes. There are tens of thousands of people that use a Blu Cigs starter kit, order a set number of cartomizers each month, and think little of it. Those people, I’m beginning to feel, are the lucky ones.
Others, maybe including most of you and certainly myself, wind up really getting really involved with the hobby of vaping (which I’ve recently discussed). For us, starting out with a mini-eCig like Blu or South Beach (or dozens of others) is just that, “starting out”. If you really enjoy it then naturally you begin to learn more about it. The more you learn the more you want to experiment. Soon, you begin to get bored with your mini-eCig and you grow a strong desire to reach out for something better. Instead of browsing the website of your chosen brand you start using Google and begin visiting ‘vendors’ like Vape Dudes, Apollo eCigs, and others that sell a myriad amount of eCigarette products.
It doesn’t take long to start moving up the ladder. First you see a cool looking eGo and decide that “it” is what you really want. You buy it, learn to use it, stock up on atomizers, cones, cartridges and eJuice, and within a few weeks (or even days) you discover the intricacies of the so-called ‘simple eGo’.
What you thought was a singular type of larger eCigarette turns out to be much more.
The different batteries sizes, the various tanks and Clearomizers you can use, not to mention the new “variable voltage” egos you can purchase by picking up an eGo Twist or the branded Apollo eGo VV. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the new Totally Wicked eGo-C Twist we reviewed last week, that is one awesomely powerful eGo. In any case, even your first step up takes on many variations. And your new exploration in the eJuice world begins with your first eGo.
After the eGo exploration you find yourself browsing your ‘now-favorite’ vendors looking at hardware that was unimaginable to you when you were happy vaping your Blu Premium 100. The Lava Tubes, VTubes, (same device, different brands), The UK design and manufactured “Odyssey”, the ‘Darwin’ and ‘Provari’, and lately, devices like the ‘Vapage VMOD’, VMAX, and the upcoming ZMAX, hardware that you grip in your hand, providing maximum leverage for maximum vapor. (You know what I mean). These devices are exponentially more powerful than a simple 200mAh mini-eCig with a .7ML cartomizer.
You wind up moving from your favorite eGo or collection of eGos to a large battery variable voltage and you think, “Now, I’m set”. And for a while you are. Now you begin spending more time with eJuice experimentation, ordering sampler bottles from dozens of different eJuice vendors (and reading extensive reviews like the ones here in Spinfuel) in an attempt to find the one great flavor(s), with the right mix of PG/VG and nicotine strength so that vaping becomes the next best thing to sex. Maybe even better, depending on your circumstances. (I kid, I kid)
At this level in your journey you find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time browsing eCig forums, websites, and online magazines like ours (and we LOVE you for it!) and instead of just telling people you switched to eCigarettes you become an evangelist for the ‘movement’. Your knowledge of eCigarettes, your experience with different devices, and the hours and hours spent learning how this phenomenon is affecting the government, the FDA, cities and town ordinances, and even the anti-smoking crowd who refuse to see eCigarettes for what they truly are, is beginning to come together. The electronic cigarette industry has become an important aspect of your own life. It’s not an obsession; it’s a passionate hobby that provides a lot of pleasure. It’s not building model airplanes, I can you tell you that!
The Ultimate Trip
Now that you’ve learned the vaping lingo, joined a forum or three, and you have a drawer full of vaping devices, a couple of dozen bottles of eJuice in various states of fullness (or emptiness if that’s your view of the world), not to mention plenty of cartomizers, both low resistance and standard resistance, cartridges, with and without polyfill materials, and tanks, both dual coil cartomizer tanks and single coil, loads of Clearomizers as well, where do we go from here?
As full bon-a-fide member of the vaping community you begin to look at all the ‘noobs’ happily vaping away on their Blu’s or 777’s or Halo’s, or whatever they found that got them off tobacco, and you shake your head a little, muttering to yourself, “You don’t know what you’re missing”.
But, this is a journey we all must take at our own pace. Introduce a stainless steel Apollo VTube to someone who has been vaping a mini-eCig for a couple of weeks and they’ll run back to tobacco cigarettes if they think that this is where it all leads.
So where do we go from here? Really?
While we await new breakthroughs in the eCig industry we keep ourselves busy with experimenting with various eJuice flavors, perhaps even daring to try it ourselves by picking up a DIY starter pack at Totally Wicked so you can try your hand at making the ultimate RY4.
For the past couple of months I’ve been experimenting with different Clearomizers. From the inexpensive 510-compatible plastic tubes with simple wicks, to the larger CE4’s that can be refilled many times with a decent amount of eJuice. Clearomizers, for me anyway, provide more vapor, and more flavor, than a cartomizer. They’re also more expensive, but they last longer so it out works out in the end. All the while though I still maintain several Texas Tuff Tanks, all filled with my favorite eJuice so I can change at a moments notice.
There are only so many devices you can collect, so many bottles of eJuice your budget will allow, but feeling the urge to keep moving is real. For me that urge to keep moving played out in a completely unexpected way. All these past many months has led me to explore the atomizer.
Atomizers are the most vital part of the eCigarette experience. In every cartomizer there is an atomizer. In every tank there is an atomizer (well, in the cartomizer that makes up the heart of the tank). Vaping hardware without an atomizer is like an atomic bomb without the detonator. There’s no explosion L
The atomizer can be extremely simple, even disposable (cartomizers are the best example of this), and they can be extremely complex. The latest ‘big thing’ in atomizers are being billed as “Rebuildable” or “Reparable” (RA) atomizers. These puppies are atomizers you can take a part to replace the worn out wicks, or replace them with custom wicks, or adjust the ohms, and so on. Complicated.
If you decide to take your vaping hobby into the area of complex RA’s you need to know even more about ‘ohms’ than you thought you might because with a rebuildable, or reparable atomizer you have the option to customize your wicks and adjust the ohms that it can output. You’ll need to learn what a seasoned wick is and why it matters… You’re climbing the next hill and it is an exhilarating climb. I’m still climbing this hill, and the progress is slower than I expected.
I traveled the path that I laid out above, and like I said in the beginning, today I came to a crossroad. I found myself looking at a cool atomizer the great people at Mountain Oak Vapors sent to me and I wondered, “Is this really where I want to go?”
The atomizer, the Phoenix RA, is supposed to be a really wicked atomizer. You could, I suppose, use it right out the box with its factory settings, or you could challenge yourself and build a custom wick to really maximize your flavor and vapor with a specific ohm. It’s an amazing piece of hardware, and I can’t wait to dive in and learn all about it, but there is a tiny part of my brain that keeps me in check. I haven’t yet taken it part. When I do I’ll tell you all about it.
This was the path I took. What was yours?