Rigging Results

The Higher Standards Rig Kit is a handsome coffee table trophy rig, and the Supreme Clean Kit makes sure it stays that way.

Water bong and dab-rig design has traditionally been stuck in the hippie era, with devices whose groovy colored glass and psychedelic details still seem tailored to early-’90s High Times readers. One new rig brand modernizes that aesthetic with a sleek style — and also sells an auxiliary cleaning kit that keeps that style intact.

The Higher Standards Rig Kit has a product design inspired more by minimalist Apple chic than Graffix bong shock. Higher Standards is a luxury New York smoke shop whose products are starting to show up nationwide and in Bay Area stores.

You can huff rips of any concentrate in this high-end rig that retails for $180 but looks and feels more expensive. The austere, all-clear glass presentation of the Higher Standards Rig Kit makes for a nice display item in the contemporary dabber’s home.

We’ll take their word that this rig is made of “medical-grade borosilicate glass,” and it’s wide-design base will likely ensure the kit won’t topple over. But the banger is instead made of quartz, a material better suited for regular daily torching.

The rig comes fantastically packaged in a reusable, collector’s case-style box that’s handy if you need to hide this thing on a regular basis, or take it for travel to weekend trips. (We don’t recommend trying to take a dab rig onto an airplane.) The kit also comes with a soft plastic concentrate container and couple of pretty nice dabbers of varying lengths.

The Higher Standards Rig Kit is built like a tank. It’s glass, but it’s thick glass that takes a beating. Not being a blowtorch owner, this reviewer clumsily heated the banger on a stovetop range with random kitchen utensils, and can tell you firsthand that this banger withstands repeated knockings around.

Dabbers will care most about the quality of vapor, and this water-filtered system has the length to give a clean draw and nice airflow. You’ll lose the airtightness when the banger inevitably accumulates residue and goop, as you will on any rig. But the manufacturer has a solution for that.

Higher Standards puts a lot of focus on the care and cleaning of your pipe or rig device, and also sells a suite of cleaning products. The “all-in-one” cleaning kit is called the Supreme Clean Kit, which retails for $30 and is sold separately from the Higher Standards Rig Kit.

This cleaning kit is a small, grocery bag-sized assortment of 16 fluid ounces of isopropyl alcohol, one-and-a-half-pounds of specialized milled rock salt called Salt Rox, and a slew of specialized pipe cleaners, Q-tips, and alcohol wipes that are nicer than the generic versions. If you’re a frequent dab cleaner, you’ve probably got the low-budget versions of this stuff laying around.

These cleaning tools aren’t specific to the Higher Standards Rig Kit, but some of the tube tops (hole pluggers) do fit this device perfectly.

The cleaning kit recommends a 30-minute alcohol soak, which does the job nicely for the rig itself. But the instructions make no mention of how to clean the banger — where the majority of the unsightly black goop accumulates — so you’re forced to experiment and figure out that part on your own.

In that sense, the Higher Standards Supreme Clean Kit is intended for an obsessive, expert dabber who has probably already MacGyver’ed a collection of inexpensive hardware store items that will do this job cheaply. But a novice can easily perform the simple alcohol soak that will remove enough resin to clear up gunk and restore airtightness.

Dab rigs fall into a bizarre category where they’re more available in head shops — excuse me, “tobacco shops” — than actual dispensaries that sell the oils and shatters. Higher Standards Rig Kits are available at Koheba Smoke Shop (2310 Market St.), Puff Puff Pass (1467 Haight  St.), and Tobacco Barn (733 Polk St.).

Higher Standards Rig Kit would be your father’s dab rig if your father had a dab rig. It’s keepsake appearance is intended more for a coffee table than a stash drawer, and it has the design of real laboratory glassware. It’s a dab rig for the upscale, professional demographic, and tries to reclaim dabbing as an art for grown-ups.