Gear: Into the Wild

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A rather tranquil, inviting lake scene greets you. The water is so still that it casts a mirror reflection of the landscape. No one else is around. Perhaps you trekked for miles to get here — clinging to grueling mountainsides in hopes of finding serenity. Or maybe you simply pulled up nearby in your Campervan, grabbed the lounge chairs, and walked over.

This is apparently how Vapium envisions your experience with its Summit vaporizer, which comes in a package bearing those visuals. And the tagline, “Rugged. Reliable. Refined,” further enforces this call to nature for its users.

We fully understand the appeal of the open air and cannabis: joints and hiking trails; bongs and campfires; one-hitters and ski slopes. So, yes, why not vaporizers and high-elevation bodies of water? Or just the simplicity of the outdoors? If we could, however, offer you at least one tip it would be to make sure you’re well-acquainted with the Summit before you start tying up those ropes.

Vapium clearly went all in for this vaporizer, and it shows (even if the $150 price tag is modest). It’s a handsome, compact piece with an excellent battery that quickly heats up to between 330 and 440 degrees. You can “enhance the experience” by hooking it up to your smartphone via an app. That gets you more control over temperature (and the ability to change it to Celsius), an optional boost in heat, a battery level monitor, and otherwise lets you fully control it with your phone.

There’s no denying the appeal of the smartphone link (this is 2016, after all), but getting the Summit ready to use is not the problem; it’s when you actually start inhaling that things get fuzzy.

The Summit has a small but deep chamber with a magnetic cap for holding the aromatics. Once ground up, a lot of flowers fit in there, resting atop a small metal screen. But the more you pack in, the less vapor seems to come out. And if you only put in a small amount, you will get a better drag but will have to stir the contents after each pull. That means waiting for it to re-heat, which is not the end of the world but does hinder the on-the-go appeal of the Summit.

Vapium provides a handy little tool for stirring and packing that slides in and out of a small chamber in the body of the vaporizer. And the strength of the packing is important. Not too hard but definitely not too soft.

The moisture of the flowers seemed to matter a lot as well. Drier aromatics were hard or impossible to use, while fresh buds were clearly much more effective.

THE VERDICT

Cool factor: It’s sleek and modern, making it sure to impress at the campsite. But someone who brings a bong will be just as popular, if not more so. We give credit to Vapium for a nice design and ease of use once you get the basics down.

Practicality: Definitely study up and give it a full charge if you’re going out into nature. There’s no way you’ll use it properly without reading the instructions first. But we’d recommend leaving it at home and bringing a few pre-rolls instead. Or, prepare to bring a grinder and constantly stir and re-heat the thing.

Affordability: You could spend a lot more than $149.99 for a portable vaporizer. In fact, twice that and more. Will you get a better product? Yes. Is the Summit a good value? Yes.

Overall: The Summit is solid but not memorable. It’s easy enough to use with some practice, but there are too many moving parts to be a great backpacking device. And pulling from it is more effort than reward.

Rating: 3/5

Available at: vapium.com