Cloud Chasing 101: Chasing Clouds for Beginners
Maybe you’ve seen someone puffing huge clouds and decided you’d like to try that for yourself? Maybe you are curious about what it takes to get into the world of competitive cloud chasing? Well, get ready, here’s a crash course on the skills you will need to enter the world of competitive cloud chasing.
What is Cloud Chasing, Anyway?
Simply put, cloud chasing is the art of blowing the biggest, thickest cloud possible from your vape kit. Some vapers do it for fun. Others do it competitively. Some of these competitions offer prizes from free gear and swag to thousands of dollars in cash prizes for those that can blow the biggest clouds. Making huge clouds is a sign that you really know how to tinker with your vaping equipment and your breath technique.
What You Should Know About Mods
First, you need a mod capable of powering the ultra-low resistance coils that professional cloud chasers use to blow big clouds. Lower resistance means more heat. More heat vaporizes more e-juice and leads to bigger clouds. Many competitive vapers build their own coils so they can draw as much heat as they can out of their battery. However, building a safe coil does take more than the layperson’s knowledge of Ohm’s law and battery safety. Most professional cloud chasers prefer what is known as a mechanical mod for powering those coils. However, regulated mods are coming close to offering the power needed to produce huge clouds on store-bought sub ohm coils.
The most important thing you need to know for safety is pairing the right coil with the right battery and mod. If you do this incorrectly, you can damage your battery or cause it to overheat. This can be very dangerous. A knowledge of basic electrical laws is necessary to keep everything in a safe range.
E-Liquid Matters, Too
In order to blow clouds, you have to be vaporizing e-juice. But there’s more to it than that. Big clouds can be harsh on the throat as the proportion of vegetable glycerine increases. VG works better than propylene glycol for creating huge thick clouds, but it strains the throat more. If you plan to go into competition, you’ll need to get used to vaping 100% VG blends. Start with a 70/30 blend of VG to PG and then work up from there until you can handle 100% VG. And if your throat starts getting sore drink some water to cool the burn.
Airflow Matters…. A lot
It’s a double-edged sword and requires patience and can be very, very tricky. We’re talking about airflow. Too much and your clouds are thin and puny. Too little and you risk your device overheating, leading to burns and even possibly an explosion. Yikes! The basic rule of thumb is that the lower the resistance on the coil that you’re using, the more airflow is needed. If you haven’t used a sub-ohm coil before, speak with a skilled vapor shop about how to create the right amount of airflow for your unit.
Atomizers Need Love, Too
Don’t forget about the importance of your atomizer. The atomizer, or tank, plays a big role in cloud production. Most competitive cloud chasers use a rebuildable drip atomizer, also called an RDA. These require custom built coils usually cobbled together by the cloud chaser themselves. These atomizers are also known as ‘drippers’ because the user drips a few drops of e-juice directly onto the coils every few puffs. While not exactly recommended for the casual vaper or everyday use, it is a must for competition because the clouds produced are humongous.
Inhale… Exhale… Techniques for Big Clouds
Having the lung capacity, the correct posture, and the best inhale and exhale techniques can go a long way in cloud production. These techniques can take months of practice and genetics plays a big role, too. Some people are simply born with a greater lung capacity than others. Exhaling too quickly can cause the cloud to thin out. For a large, dense cloud, exhale slowly. You might also want to try stepping back as you exhale, in what is referred to as the ‘rip tipper’ technique.
Wicking is another important element in cloud production. Simply put, the wick is the cotton part of the coil that absorbs the e-juice, which is then vaporized to produce the cloud. However, how that wick is placed on the coil is important. Some people tuck the wick beneath the coil. Others tuck the wick behind the coil. Some clip it without tucking it. One popular technique is to clip both ends of the wick to create tails. Each of these techniques affects airflow and are best taught by other competitive vapers so you know the pros and cons.
The Potential Dangers of Cloud Chasing
Cloud chasing and building your own device or coils without the knowledge of Ohm’s law and battery safety could leave you at risk of getting burned, or even have your mod explode in your hand. You will need to know which batteries are safe for use with low-resistance coils, how often to change batteries, and how big the airflow holes should be. Cloud chasing literally pushes batteries to their limits. Getting it wrong could lead to damage or destruction of your expensive mod.
In conclusion, cloud chasing competitively is not for everyone. It can take months, even years of practice to get inhalation and exhalation techniques right. It also requires more than just a base knowledge of Ohm’s law and battery safety to build the best coils and know when to change batteries. For the casual vaper, cloud chasing might be something fun to do every now and again. Leave the competitive cloud chasing to those who love to tinker.