So you’ve been vaping for a little while and you’re enjoying it, but you’ve seen some people exhaling what can only be described as torrents of vapour and you’re wondering ‘What am I doing wrong? Why aren’t my clouds that big?’
Well don’t worry, you aren’t doing anything ‘wrong’, you’re just vaping differently to those people.
A small cloud doesn’t mean your e-cig isn’t working properly, and it doesn’t mean you aren’t ‘doing it right’.
For the most part, a big cloud is something that people aim for by changing how they vape and most importantly what they use to do it.
There’s a subculture in vaping called ‘Cloudchasing’. (Click here for a great video explaining Cloudchasing and giving some tutorials by RiPTrippers on Youtube.)
There are even ‘Big Cloud’ competitions that people can enter, however the vaping you see at these events is very niche, and sacrifices everything (flavour, throat-hit, convenience) for the sake of a bigger cloud. Many of the entrants have taken to using home-made devices and mixing their own e-liquid to use.
There are, however, the average vapers who like a massive cloud every now and then (myself included).
How are they doing it?
Well it’s a combination of various factors, but most important of all is a thick e-liquid with a LOW nicotine strength.
The thickness of an e-liquid is determined by how much VG (vegetable glycerine) is in the base mixture (compared to the thinner PG (propylene glycol), the other ingredient often used). A High-VG E-Liquid (anything over about 70%) is perfect. There are even ranges of E-Liquid produced with as much VG as possible. These Max-VG Liquids are usually called some variation of ‘Cloud Range’ (for example the TABlites Cloud Range) and regularly contain 95% VG and up.
Cloud Liquids will be very thick due to the high amount of VG. So thick in fact that most atomisers won’t be able to even wick them properly, which leads to dry-burning your clearomiser and destroying it.
What we’ve done there is raise the issue of clearomisers/atomisers. There are specifically designed ‘Cloud’ atomisers and clearomisers (known as Cloud Tanks by lots of vapers) available, for example the Aspire Atlantis or the Kanger Subtank Mini (both available from TABlites.com). The main difference between these and regular clearomisers is airflow.
Airflow is all important in a cloud tank. You need lots. Absolutely loads, in fact, because it keeps the atomiser coil cool enough that you can use it.
A cloud tank (or a rebuildable atomiser that the user coils themselves for big clouds) will use a very low resistance coil, usually 1 Ohm or lower, the Kanger Subtank Mini uses a 0.5 Ohm coil (or a 1.2 Ohm coil included in the box with it). It will also need to be used on a device that can give a high wattage output, by ‘high’ I mean above 15 watts. There are devices that will put out 150 watts, but really around the 17 or 18 watt mark is ample for me. Everybody’s different.
Because the resistance is so low and the power so high, the coils will heat up immensely. This vaporises your e-liquid much faster than normal, so you need the huge airflow to ensure it isn’t too hot to enjoy. This is also the reason you’ll find that the replaceable atomiser heads for cloud tanks have enormous E-Liquid holes; you need to ensure you’re getting enough liquid to the coil so that it doesn’t dry out and burn. A good cloud tank will give you a cool-ish, smooth and really, really thick vapour.
Your choice of device is important too. I’ve already mentioned high-wattage devices, ones that are able to ‘fire’ an atomiser coil down to around 0.5 Ohms (When buying a device, look out for ones that tell you they can operate sub-ohm coils. Good devices will have it listed in their features), but you need to ensure you’re doing it safely.
Battery safety should be the first and last thing you think about when it comes to blowing huge clouds. Also you shouldn’t stop thinking about it in-between.
Basically keep battery safety in mind all the time when you’re choosing a device for your cloudy needs.
A safe battery has a high amp-limit. 20A, 25A, even 30A will be perfect for what you need, but lower than that and you’re taking unnecessary risks. Using a low-ohm coil at a high wattage is going to draw power from your battery VERY quickly. Yes, a 0.3 Ohm coil run at 40w is only drawing about 11.5 amps, but a high amp battery gives you more ‘headroom’ to do that for longer, and can perform better.
Using a battery that has a low amp-limit is asking for trouble. Overheating trouble. Even venting trouble sometimes. Venting is a particularly nasty problem that happens when a battery overheats and starts to eject gasses. That increase in pressure has to find a release point, and typically that’ll be the end of the battery and the end of the device itself, damaging the device beyond repair and presenting a very real danger to the user. Using a low amp battery increases the likelihood of failure by orders of magnitude.
Just don’t do it.
Look for a high amp battery or you cannot blow huge clouds. Click here to see an example of a 30 amp Efest IMR 18650 Battery.
So, E-Liquid, atomiser, device and batteries. That’s everything right?
Now we need to talk about technique.
There are some really in depth ‘techniques’ used by those Cloudchasers I mentioned earlier, like trying to expel as much air from your lungs as possible before you start, or blowing the last little bit of exhaled air onto your coil, but essentially that’s pointless unless you’re in a competition. There’s only one thing to remember really:
A cloud tank is a bit different from a regular atomiser. Most vapers use a regular atomiser by sucking vapour into their mouths like they’re using a straw and then inhaling and exhaling it. With a cloud tank you can’t do that (unless you have massive cheeks like a hamster) because of all the extra airflow. A cloud tank requires what vapers refer to as ‘a lung hit’, that is a direct inhale to the lungs. You’ll want to do this for a few seconds at least, the longer you inhale the bigger the cloud will be. Just go for as long as you feel comfortable.
This is why you need a low nicotine E-Liquid (and the VG helps too). A high nicotine E-Liquid will be too harsh. Trust me. You WILL cough and it WILL be a pointless waste of E-Liquid.
Once you’re done, exhale your huge, thick cloud and bask in the flavour.
Congratulations, you’re a big cloud vaper now!
Something to remember: If you stop vaping normally and switch totally to big-cloud vaping you’re going to go through a lot more E-Liquid and atomiser heads than you would otherwise, which is why a lot of folks tend to stick to regular vaping and occasionally splurge on some Cloud Liquid every now and then.
Please note, blowing massive clouds while driving is a bad idea. Blowing huge clouds in a restaurant or bar is inconsiderate and a bad idea. Blowing huge clouds while you’re doing detailed work like mending a watch or disarming a bomb is a bad idea. You can’t tell which wire is the red one if you can’t see anything through your vapour cloud.
Also, here’s a tip: Try not to talk when you’ve just taken a great big draw. It’s difficult to speak through a big mouthful of cloud and it can (read: ‘will’) make you cough.
Now go forth and enjoy your massive, massive clouds.
If you have any further questions about electronic cigarettes, e-liquid, cloudchasing or anything vaping related please don’t hesitate to get in touch:
Phone: 0161 832 4311
Or use the comments section below.