Back when I was working with bands and touring these here fine United States, one of the biggest concerns was smell. Not so much the rich aromas of a dozen sweaty men with questionable bathing schedules and hygiene habits rolling across endless miles of highways in a submarine with wheels (although that was a situation I wouldn’t recommend for those with sensitive honkers). Rather, there was the concern about the smell of weed—not only the fantastic scent it has in fresh flower form, an issue easily addressed with numerous turkey bags or false bottom cans and bottles of condiments and beverages, but the unmistakable smell that comes from smoking a bong, joint, or pipe.
Despite my many creative efforts to hide the telltale lingering odor, I didn’t always succeed. I once checked out of a hotel in Austin where the manager made a point to show me a 3 am report made by security the night prior that had my room number circled with the word “WEED” next to it in red Sharpie, underlined three times. My comment to the clerk—“Could I get a copy of that suitable for framing?”—was met with a scowl.
It’s not only in states where cannabis consumption is illegal that wafting smoke is an issue. Even in states with regulated adult-use programs, there are plenty of places where it’s illegal to light up. And as the brain trust in Oregon’s capital refuses to take any legitimate action toward establishing social consumption spaces, that leaves cannabis consumers with hardly any legal places to smoke.
While I normally suggest that readers do their best to walk the straight and narrow, in this case? Naw. Illegal doesn’t mean immoral, and selling cannabis and collecting the tax money while punishing the consumer for, you know, actually consuming what they just purchased is what I define as immoral. Thank goodness an Oregon-designed product has hit the market that allows scofflaws and rule breakers the opportunity to puff in peace.
Meet the Smoke Trap (smoketrap.com), which promises to eliminate any evidence that you have been partaking of pakalolo.
The device is a massive upgrade from the evergreen trick of attaching a Bounce dryer sheet to the end of a cardboard paper towel tube with a rubber band and exhaling through the tube as way to disguise the scent of cannabis smoke. I can attest to mixed results with this method, but a consistent issue was the unwieldy nature of having to hold and use a 12-inch tube every time I took a hit.
The Smoke Trap is based around that same basic idea but, as the Portland-based company’s website touts, has refined this manner of stealthiness. It starts with a vastly more economic design, with the device the shape and size of a stick of deodorant. It measures a mere 3.5 inches tall, 2.5 inches across, and less than 1.25 inches wide, housed in a curved silver body with a black rubber mouthpiece.
You blow your hit into the mouthpiece, which is wide and tall enough to completely cover your mouth. The smoke passes through a “dual-action HEPA and carbon filter,” and then through the perforated-holed bottom of the unit. The site states the filter can handle about 150 hits before needing replacement. The Smoke Trap costs about $20, and the filter is $12.
For heavier smokers in search of discretion, this may not be cost-effective, but for those with low-to-moderate usage, or those who can justify the cost as the price for serenity from prying noses, it could be a sound investment. Although, as the site points out, if you’re using it with a blunt or joint, the Smoke Trap can’t negate all the smoke even you’re not taking a hit. For maximum smell containment, they recommend single-hit-sized bowls in a pipe or bong which are fully consumed and exhaled in one deep puff.
My review unit worked as promised. I blew hits from joints and bongs through it, along with the smoke from a hash rosin hit, and neither saw nor smelled anything once the smoke had passed through the filter.
The device is small enough to fit into a jeans pocket, and will travel well with me the next time I venture outside the borders of Pacific Wonderland to those strange places where cannabis isn’t viewed with as much favor.