CLOUD CHASING VS FLAVOUR CHASING
Hey, chasing stuff is cool. Adele did it with pavements, and it earned her millions.
While the majority of vapers are still transitioning ex-smokers, the industry's been around long enough to have its fans. And what do die-hard aficionados do? They get obsessed. From the horse's mouth, the inventor of the e-cig phrased it perfectly: "When automotive manufacturers first started out, they were not thinking about a sport to be called Formula One. You always have group of people who are looking for excitement".
For vapers, having something available in thousands of flavours, plus super enjoyable wasn't enough. Cutting-edge mods and eccentric juices have become bang-on, but you're looking at people who won't settle for "decent". Welcome to cloud and flavour chasing.
WHAT IS CLOUD AND VAPOUR CHASING, AND WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Pretty much what it says on the tin. Cloud chasers are on the hunt to produce the biggest possible vapour clouds, while flavour chasers have taste topping on their agenda. While you can aim to chase both, individuals tend to find they're either one or the other. So let's look at each, their tips and tricks, plus other handy bits and pieces.
CLOUD CHASING- THE GUIDE
If you thought satisfaction from blowing a thick, giant cloud in your bedroom was it, think again. Cloud chasing has come a long way from its US West Coast origins. With global competitions, Instagram accounts galore, plus a whole science behind getting the biggest clouds, it's gone from niche pastime to full-blown subculture. The following list is a great starting guide, although we'll be going into some of them in more detail.
NINE TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED:
·Battery Safety: This is applicable to vaping in general, and we've dedicated an entire blog post to it, but battery safety is a big deal for cloud chasing. This is because cloud chasers tend to use customised devices, and that means choosing their own batteries. Always opt for the safest batteries, e.g. Sony VTC4, VTC5, or LG HG2. Cloud chasing can be dangerous if you don't know your stuff, so get clued up before you consider doing it.
·Airflow: You'll need more airflow as you lower the resistance. At the same time, too much airflow will thin your clouds. Cloud chasers don't just want size, they want density. Getting the right airflow without compromising the mod overheating can require some fiddling.
·Juice: This one gets debated a lot, but the general consensus is that higher VG ratios will get you thicker clouds. Many vapers settle for a 70/30 VG to PG ratio, but cloud chasers can be found using Max VG (100%). VG is a heavier liquid, so the resulting clouds are larger.
·Mod: Casual vapers generally used regulated mods- with an increasing number turning to convenient Pod Mods. For cloud chasing though, you'll likely want a mech mod for the raw power, excellent air holes and connectivity. Mech mods aren't for beginners, though. They require knowledge of both battery safety and Ohm's law (physics GCSE not feeling so useless now, is it!)
·Atomiser: For nuclear-sized clouds, rebuildable drip atomisers (RDAs) are the go-to choice. Yes, building your own coils and using a screwdriver to attach them to the tank means getting your hands dirty, but the result is unbeatable. Also known as "drippers", these allow the manual dripping of juice onto the coils before puffs. Completely impractical for vaping on-the-go, but for insanely huge clouds, it's worth it. Sub-ohm tanks are gaining popularity too, but the RDA's airflow control knocks the competition sideways.
·Coil build: A huge part of cloud chasing boils down to coil build. Want gargantuan clouds? Lower your coil resistance. Cloud chasers generally opt for single or dual coils, although most end up going dual, since it produces more vapour. We'll go into this in more detail later.
·Wicking: The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. Generating huge clouds will turn you into a wick builder, like deciding whether to tuck the wick underneath the coil, behind it, or clipping without tucking. Getting it right will get you the most out of your e-liquid.
·Technique: If you want to generate monstrous clouds, you need to perfect your skill-set. Inhaling and exhaling properly involves everything from posture to making sure you don't exhale too fast. The slower your exhale, the bigger the clouds. If you're already hanging out with cloud chasers, you'll be familiar with the rip trippers technique- physically moving back as you exhale.
·Genetics: This one is a little harder to perfect, considering it's more a "what you're born with" kind of deal. Some people have larger lung capacities than others, although much like professional cyclists, you can train yourself to increase your lung capacity. Yes, becoming a successful cloud chaser means getting fit.
Coil build is definitely the biggest factor in cloud chasing, so here's a bit more detail. Whether you go for a dual-parallel 24g wire build or a 28g twisted build, you need a good starting point. From a science viewpoint, that means maximising the coil's surface area. The more of the coil you get to make contact with the wick, the more vapour you'll produce.
Make sure you also position them centrally. And for goodness sake, look after them. Clean off residue, change your wicks and don't let coils build up gunk. Clapton Coils are a favourite in cloud chasing, thanks to their high surface area. Expect a longer "ramp up" time to vaping temperature, but they're a good alternative to building your own, like parallel or staged heating coils.
Competitions are all the rage. Prizes range from money to equipment or sponsorships, and if you're good at it, cloud chasing can be fun as well as lucrative. There are vaping comps in the UK and around the world. Some involve measuring clouds with vapers competing back to back. Others range from tricks like smoke rings, to routines.
FLAVOUR CHASING- THE GUIDE
If what you're tasting is more important to you than the clouds you're making, you're a flavour chaser. While most of us throw in our favourite juices and we're all set, some of us are out for the ultimate in flavour experience. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your liquids.
NICOTINE ALTERNATIVE THAT AREN'T SMOKING
·Nicotine patches- Old-school, but still around. Patches generally last 16-25 hours. You pick a strength and the slow release through the skin into the bloodstream helps fight cravings.
·Nicotine gum- Available over-the-counter, gum offers immediate relief with one warning: no more than 24 per day.
·Lozenges, nasal sprays and inhalers- These vary in terms of prescription requirement. Inhalers should only be used for a maximum of six months. All three will deliver some form of relief.
·Vaping- From starter kits and stealth-friendly vape pens to larger box mods, vaping comes with endless flavours, customisations, plus the option to include a specific strength of nicotine.
SIX TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED:
·Get Your Wattage/Temperature Just Right: Different flavours vaporise at different temperatures, so having a variable voltage/wattage device counts here. Start at lower settings, building up until you find your perfect spot. One liquid might work best at 20W, while another could need 40W. Ask around, or pop in-store for professional advice.
·Airflow: While cloud chasers want a big airflow, flavour chasers prefer closing it off. Don't close it off too much, as this can heat your vapour excessively. Start low and adjust upwards until it's ideal. Position is also important, with flavour chasers preferring below-coil airflows.
·Opt For Higher PG Juices: Everyone has their preference when it comes to VG/PG ratios, but for the ultimate flavour, you might want to go higher than the 50/50 ratio. Up to 60 or 70% PG is popular, although it has a downside- throat hits. If your throat feels harsh, lower the PG a bit.
·Consider A Narrower-Bore Drip Tip: Modern tanks and atomisers tend to lean towards larger-bore (wider) drip tips. If you end up with one of these, consider switching to a narrower-bore to enhance flavour.
·Battling Vaper's Tongue: Also known as "vaper's fatigue", vaper's tongue describes the taste-related problems vapers can face. This can be going off a liquid's flavour, or (occasionally) finding you're losing your taste buds overall. Beating the first one is easy. Just try out new flavours of e-liquid. If you're finding the second problematic, smelling fresh coffee beans, drinking water or sucking on a lemon are great for resetting your palate.
·Look After Your Juices And Equipment: It's important to store your liquids properly. Some benefit from "steeping", where storage in a cool, dark place is best. Others equally benefit from "breathing", where opening the cap for short periods helps. Always keep your liquids safe from spillage and away from children and pets. The care approach also extends to tanks, coils and wicks. The fresher the coil/wick, the better the flavour- but you don't need to go overboard. Make sure that you rinse and clean your tanks, too. If they break (you're only human), we have a great selection.
Whether you're in it for the clouds or the flavour (or both), there's something out there for everyone. If you're still new to vaping, want to try more flavours, or just need general advice, get in touch or visit us in-store to try it all out.