In some ways, the bubbler feels almost outdated. With personalized vaporizers and gourmet pre-rolls readily available, the need for padded cases to protect glassware and ziplock bags full of rubbing alcohol to fight resin demons is downright passé. Perhaps the truth is not that bubblers as devices have run their course, but rather that the way we smoke cannabis has evolved to more accurately reflect our modern age.
Carrying a bubbler on your way to a concert or lugging it around while wandering at a house party has little appeal. Bubblers are for broken coffee tables and will burn throughout the third season of Family man on DVD while eating leftover pizza. In short: Bubblers for me was inextricably linked to high school and the lazy Saturdays of doing nothing and school day breaks to get into a bowl. Then I spent some time with Helix’s Basic Bubbler.
Impeccably simple in its design, Grav Labs Helix Classic Bubbler takes the bubbler add-on and permanently melts it into a powerful piece of glass.
For those unfamiliar with Grav Labs and their Helix line, the main draw is a chamber built on Bernoulli’s “Principle of Airflow in a Venturi Shape”. Don’t worry if those words feel overwhelming. In effect, the concept boils down to a wide base in the airflow chamber that tapers to a point, allowing cold air to rotate with the incoming hot smoke. Together, the two create a venturi shape, cooling the smoke and creating a wonderfully cool and smooth hit.
After experimenting with how much water to use – the Helix has a notch for the recommended water level, but I like to live dangerously – I put a pinch of flour in the bowl and let it spin. One thing about bubblers that takes me back to high school is the brutal coughing fits they can sometimes encourage. Taking in such a large amount of smoke can make your throat burn, but with the Helix, the smoke is much cooler (and thus infinitely more enjoyable).
There is little criticism of the Helix given its simplicity and defined purpose of use. Of course I chose not to drop my unit on the floor to test the strength of the glass, but as with all glassware there is always the risk of breaking your precious cargo.
Another minor drawback is that you may smoke too much. I know.
Okay, I’ll wait for you to stop laughing. You are done? Crazy as it sounds, with the cooler smoke, it’s within reasonable limits to cash in on a bowl in a single hit. Not to mention your constitution and interest in feeling the effects of an entire bowl in the same breath, flowering is likely to come quickly, especially if you have a few friends to share your session with.
I think what I like most about the Helix is that it takes me back to a special place. The high produced by a bubbler is matched only by other glassware, a medium for smoking that I haven’t strayed from in a long time. It’s a tough way to take it, but a good choice at the right time.
It’s also been many moons since I last attended a science class, so thanks again to Grav Labs for giving Google “Venturi Principle” a reason and learning a little something. The airflow chamber design and rounded claws that allow the bubbler to sit comfortably on a flat surface between uses are also both big pluses. Overall, the Helix is a solid product at a reasonable price ($67.99 on Billowby) well worth reaching through your nostalgia and in your wallet.
Photo courtesy of GravLabs