The thing I love about vaping is it’s such a diverse culture. There are vapers that vape because they want to quit smoking, and they’ll usually buy the easiest kit that replicates and replaces smoking tobacco. Then there’s the vaper who likes to experiment with different e liquid brands, flavours and nicotine strengths trying to find the perfect combination to tantalise their taste buds. Then, there’s the cloud chaser. Cloud chasers are obsessed with blowing the biggest clouds of vapour possible, and there are even competitions for cloud chasing.
Yes, cloud chasers get all the headlines, and if you search for vaping on social media like Instagram or Facebook, you’ll inevitably come across videos and gifs of vapers chasing clouds, blowing rings and all manner of cloud induced obsessions.
So, in case you’re wondering how the cloud obsessed vaper achieves such unbelievably huge clouds, I’ve decided to write a post that gives you the low down on what it takes to be a world beating cloud chaser, and what sort of kit you’ll need.
The Science of Cloud Chasing
Before you start looking at what mod to buy or what juice to use, you need to know a little about the science behind cloud chasing, and how e cigarettes work.
E cigarettes are made of 3 basic components. A battery, a coil and a wick.
Batteries come in various shapes and sizes and provide the electricity which heats up the coil. Coils come in various shapes and sizes and contain different resistance levels. A coil is generally twisted Kanthal wire and its resistance is usually around 1.10 ohms or higher. But more recently we’ve got into the realms of 'sub-ohm' vaping and coil resistance can be as low as 0.05 ohm.
After the battery and coil we have the wick. The wick is fitted around the coil and is usually made from cotton (Japanese cotton is considered the best). It’s then absorbed in e liquid so that when the battery heats up the coil, the coil heats up the wick and the e liquid ‘vaporises’ so it can be inhaled.
Most wicks sit inside a tank which is filled with e liquid, but some vapers prefer dripping, which is where they drip the e liquid directly on to the wick.
The basic science of the whole procedure means the more powerful the battery, the more it can heat the coil and the bigger clouds of vapour it can produce.
Seriously advanced vapers often build their own mods, which involves wiring the battery and building the coil, but this can be extremely dangerous if you’re not well versed in electronics. So, unless you’ve got a degree in electronics or a death wish I’d strongly recommend you stick to the tried and tested products that are already on the market.
Cloud Chasing For Beginners
There are lots of products on the market that will give you ample ‘cloudage’, if you know how to use them correctly. We’ve already established that you need a powerful battery, and a low resistance coil. But you also need to understand how airflow works to be able to maximise the amount of cloud you can produce.
It’s all very well burning your coil at 200w, but all that’s going to do is incinerate your wick. For your wick to survive you need to regulate the airflow so that cool air keeps it from burning. On most high quality tanks there is a valve for the airflow and this can be adjusted to allow more air to flow over the coil as you inhale. The amount of airflow you allow through your tank can have a big impact on your overall vape experience. If you close the airflow down you’ll get a tighter draw on your vape which is more akin to smoking a cigarette. But with the airflow fully open you get a looser vape which is nothing like smoking a cigarette at all. But if you’re going for big clouds then you need a lot of air flow, so you better get used to the different experience in your vape.
Best E Liquid For Cloud Chasing
So I've covered what goes into producing big clouds as far as your e cig goes, but your e liquid can also have an impact on how big your clouds are. If you know about e liquid then you’ll know there are two basic components, the VG and the PG. Most e liquids are a blend between the two as they both serve different functions. PG provides the throat hit and the flavour and VG provides the vapour. If you’re purely going for cloud production then you need a juice that’s high in VG. It is possible to get a 100% VG juice, which doesn’t taste particularly nice but will produce thick, dense clouds. But it’s not all about the kit and the juice, it’s also about HOW you vape.
How To Maximise Your Clouds
Even if you have everything perfect you still need to perfect your inhale/exhale technique if you’re going to have a chance of winning any cloud chasing competitions. You need a good strong inhale which is going to suck up all that dense vapour, and you need to exhale slowly to provide maximum impact. It will take some trial and error and you’ll really need to be dedicated if you want to impress the pros. Are there professional cloud chasers? If there aren’t there probably will be some day with the amount of competitions springing up. Sponsors like e liquid brands will want to get involved, and if you can get enough coverage there’s a chance you could get paid for your cloud chasing prowess.
Best Ready-Made Kits For Cloud Chasing
If you really want to go crazy with cloud chasing and go to conventions in places like Las Vegas, then you’ll probably have to get your hands dirty and build your own coils etc. But as I mentioned before it can be incredibly dangerous so make sure you know your electronics before venturing into something as extreme as building your own mod. For the rest of us there’s plenty of equipment that can produce amazing clouds readily available on the market.
I've highlighted a few below which might not quite be cloud competition level, but can provide a great place to start if you want to blow big clouds
Cloud Chasing Mods
With a mod you want to go for power and versatility, so it’s best to go with a mod that has variable wattage and voltage.If you want to be a cloud chaser but don't know where to start, then these tanks will start you off nicely.
Kanger KBOX 160w TC
This beast fires as low as 0.05 ohm powers up to 160w. It’s a serious mod that can produce some amazing clouds if combined with the right tank and juice. It has temperature control and all the functions you would expect in a high quality mod, and it’s made by Kangertech who are one of my favourite manufacturers. See it in Store
SmokTech H-Priv 220w
If you want extreme power then the H-Priv 220w is about as extreme as it gets. It kicks out 220w and 600℉ in temperature control. Also in TC mode it can fire as low as 0.06 ohm so it's right up there with the biggest hitters on the commercial market. See it in Store.
Cloud Chasing Tanks
As I mentioned you want a tank that has good airflow control and is capable of sub-ohm vaping. If you're looking to dip your toe into the world of cloud chasing, then here are a couple of tanks to get you started.
Sense Herakles RTA-4
This is a sub ohm tank that features a two post build deck design. It has direct coil airflow and a top filling 6ml capacity. With this tank you will have to build your own coils though, but I thought I would show it as it’s a great tank for cloud production. See it in Store.
Limitless RDTA Plus
The Limitless RDTA PLUS is a rebuildable drip tank atomizer and a great place to start your cloud chasing career. It has great features and is an excellent compromise between the flavour of an RDA (dripper) and the all day convenience of a tank. It also includes a plug to block one side of the deck to allow use of a single coil build. See it in Store.
Cloud Chasing E Liquid
As I said before you want a high VG juice if you’re going to be blowing huge clouds. Personally I prefer my juices 50/50 or maybe 70/60 PG/VG, but if you’re looking for clouds then these juices will get you started.
The Captain’s Reserve – Cannon Fodder
This is a fruity cheesecake flavoured juice which comes in Max VG. You’ll be blowing tremendous clouds with this juice and have the twang of a nice dessert flavour. See it in store.
13th Floor Elevapors – Levitation
If you want a high VG juice but don’t want to go to the extreme of a max VG, then Levitation is a corker. It’s a blueberry muffin flavour and a great tasting juice, but it’s 80/20 VG high so will produce some stonking clouds. See it in Store.
Cloud chasing is a fun part of vaping and there's always competitions going on in our vape shops. If you want to come down feel free, we have shops in Norwich, Cromer, Kings Lynn and Walsham, and we have more experienced cloud chasing tanks, mods and products available that aren't on our website.
I’ll add some more products to this post as I find them, and as always I welcome suggestions and comments. So if you’ve got anything to add then please drop me a line below.