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Pipe Essentials - Filling your pipe

Pipe Essentials - Filling your pipe

Pipe Essentials

One of the most asked question when a new pipe smoker takes up the pipe is usually “how do I pack my bowl?” This is as most things involving practice not too easy to answer, with this particular Pipe Essentials the problem is the sheer quantity of ways to fill a pipe. Here at Jeffrey St Whisky and Tobacco we have come up with a list of the best methods of filling your pipe .

The basics

So how to fill your pipe and what do you need to do it correctly? The most important thing when learning is repetition, repetition and repetition a saying that is often met with sighs and groans. The truth is: packing a pipe is an art and each method an artist's style. So, once you find your preferred method then you will find yourself using it almost exclusively. What if your tobacco is not cut in the usual manner and has come to you in Flake form? These different tobaccos each take their own method of packing which we will look at. This method is the best suited for those that have never attempted to fill a pipe before.


  1. First take a pinch of your tobacco small and just enough to fill the very heel or bottom of your bowl. When it is placed in the bowl apply little to no pressure, this is going to act as a form of support for the tobacco but must allow air to pass through.
  2. Next, take a slightly larger pinch not to much but more than the first pinch and fill the pipe to the half way mark. Apply a small amount of pressure ( the best method of adding pressure is pushing with your thumb but pushing the tobacco from the sides.
  3. Now take a final pinch of tobacco place it in the bowl and apply enough pressure to push the tobacco to ¼ of a inch from the rim.
If the method has worked then a test draw should be smooth and air should be easy to pull through the tobacco; if there is resistance to the draw then knock your tobacco out and start again. This method with practice is the stand-by method of choice for all smokers. The second method is used for flake tobacco and is some what hard to explain but we will try our best.

Method 1 part 1Method 1 part 2Method 1 part 3


  1. With this method you must first ascertain if the flake tobacco is thin or thick. So if your flake is thin best thing to do is double it up, however if the flake is thick you might be able to fit only one slice in to your pipe.
  2. Lets begin the fold: taking your flake hold it in your hand so that the flake is longer than it is wide. Fold from right to left so that the tobacco is now less wide but just as long.
  3. Taking the bottom fold the flake to the top this should mean that the flake is now shorter but no change has happened to the width.
  4. Your flake should now have a rounded bottom place this at the bottom of the bowl. If tobacco is sticking out the top of your pipe rip it off so that the tobacco is below the rim.
  5. Finally, rub the tobacco that you pulled of and sprinkle it in the top the idea being that small should light large. Then light your pipe.
The flake tobaccos are best used in parts of the world with lots of wind like Scotland or Canada. Method 2 part 1Method 2 part 2Method 2 part 3
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