Number of Puffs
Since Dab Connection is a site “by stoners for stoners,” one of the thrills of working this beat is the opportunity to explore all the variety that cannabis culture has to offer. Some 90% of our products we review here come from China. Good for China, but what is going on in the rest of the world? That’s when we find the Vapman, a Swiss-designed, Italian-made product which has been out for about 15 years but has been flying under the radar.
View our full video review of the Vapman here.
We’ll say it up front: The Vapman could not be more different from standard ways to vape cannabis, having originated outside the usual industrial circuit. The Vapman is not the right vape for everyone, but it is the perfect vape for small niches of the vape market, as we’ll explain:
- Ideal for controlled microdoses
- Preserves flavor
- Customizable hits
- Elegant design with actual eye appeal
- Environmentally friendly
- Super-easy to clean
- Has a steep learning curve
- Not for sharing between two or more people
- Requires an external torch
Suggestions: It could stand to be easier to heat. We see that a “heating station” has been introduced coming in 2022, and look forward to this innovation.
The Vapman is a unique device!
The first time you unbox a Vapman, your likely reaction will be close to “Are you kidding me? What even is this?” The Vapman device looks unlike anything you’re ever seen in a vape. It resembles a wooden toy top encased in a Kinder Surprise egg. But bear with us, this takes some explaining.
The Vapman is a thermal extraction device for aromatic herbs. It works through thermal conduction, as opposed to convection. You might guess from its construction that it could handle concentrates as well, perhaps even designed with them in mind. The Vapman home page, under the jurisdiction of the Italian government, says that it’s for aromatic herbs. Mod community: Your opinions may differ.
The Vapman itself is ornately crafted from olive wood and metal. The bowl (where the herb goes) is in the middle, suspended inside a wooden ring. You insert the herb, lock closed the mouthpiece, torch it from below, then inhale from the mouthpiece. The bowl is very small, with room for barely a thumbnail of herb – perhaps 1/4th of a gram?
So what does “torching” involve? You use a jet flame butane lighter (one is provided with the kit) to heat the metal bowl from below. You will have to experiment with technique, because this takes some trial and error. Every YouTube we can find and our own experience shows that holding the lighter a couple inches from the bowl and holding for a count of about 4-6 seconds, laying off for a count of 3 seconds, then torching again for another 4-6 seconds seems to produce the best results.
Vapman’s own YouTube demonstration here.
The Vapman gives a pure herb vaping experience
You will notice everything missing from the above description: No batteries, no filters, no oil, no buttons, no digital, no charger. Given know-how and sufficient growth of olive wood trees, the professor on Gilligan’s Island could have constructed one. Vapman’s marketing goes on about how this device is in touch with Mother Earth, they replant trees for every unit sold and are committed to all-renewable resources, etc.
So for those of you who want a natural herbal vaping experience, the Vapman certainly delivers that. I tasted every terpene in every strain I’ve tried in it. You taste the dry herb and nothing but the herb, so we have to give the Vapman points for flavor purity. It has subsequently become my go-to for sampling small hits of new cannabis strains.
The Vapman is also very efficient, vaping all of the herb evenly with no waste in just a few puffs. And for one more note, the experience is obviously customizable. You can adjust slightly more or less heating depending on your herb and preferred hit. The tiny holes around the central cylinder, barely noticeable, are so you can cover them with your fingers and control airflow, producing a thicker hit. Since there’s no digital computer bossing you around, you have complete freedom to customize each hit.
It takes time to get the hang of the Vapman
There’s one thing that may make or break your appreciation of the Vapman, and that is the manual torching skills required to operate it. Torch too short, no vapor; torch too long, burnt weed. Aim on the tip of the bowl and you heat efficiently, but you’re trying to direct a pinpoint of flame to a very precise surface area about the size of a dime. When you torch a nail on a tab rig, at least you have glass you can see through. Here you go by Spidey-sense.
If you’re not familiar with torch dabbing, you have a lot to learn, and even if you are, the Vapman still takes a bit more skill to operate. If you doubt your hand-eye coordination, have trouble with fine motor skills, or simply lack the sense of timing required to heat the bowl to the right temperature, you’re going to struggle.
There are two builds of the Vapman; the main difference is a metal lining on the inner wooden ring on the “Classic” while the “Pure” foregoes the metal lining band. If you’re a bit on the clumsy side, go for the Classic, as I have managed to singe the inner wooden ring with the lighter already.
The Vapman turns vaping weed into an elegant ritual
Designed in Switzerland and crafted in Italy, naturally striped from the wood grain, the Vapman is the only herb vaporizer I would ever describe as beautiful. It’s elegant and fits in the hand, weighing a bit more than a pen. The lock mechanism and storage egg makes it easy to pre-load and take with you.
For medical users who want only a micro-dose, this is a great unit. Some users, especially those who are used to dry herb vapes with a larger chamber, might find the Vapman too fiddly with a tiny dose from each load.
The device is also easy to clean after use. With the mouthpiece unlocked, you have a wok-shaped bucket that’s accessible to sweeping and swabbing out concentrate buildup. There’s no hunting around with a Q-tip inside a dim chamber with this rig.
I would recommend the Vapman for its commitment to a niche user base
The leather-lunged cannabis fan who likes taking big hits and hotboxing thick clouds of vapor, or passing the rig from one user to the next, will not find that the Vapman suits their needs. The same goes for those of you who are already too spoiled with digital controls and have no faith in your ability to precisely control fire.
The pricing is one more issue. While we appreciate the materials and craftsmanship that goes into a Vapman, coming in a 100% renewable, recyclable kit, the prices we see for it range between $150 and $200 and up. This is translated from Euros, €144 / €160 for Pure and Classic, respectively. That is some money, and quite a bit of commitment to developing your manual torch skills if you pick one up. It’s not unreasonable, especially for an import, but there are lower-priced units out there. However, we hasten to add that we can clearly see where every dollar of the money went in crafting this elegant unit.
For the connoisseur, medical micro-doser, sampler, or plain old show-off, the Vapman is suitable. It’s also the perfect rig for you if you’re a user who values aesthetics. The Vapman is chic, hip, environmentally friendly, and slips into a handbag or purse. I can picture poolside fashion models or boho hipsters going for the Vapman, an elegant cannabis vaping device which feels aristocratic in its operation and delivers a satisfying taste.
Find out more about the Vapman here.
Readers, what has been your experience with the Vapman? We see reviews out there, we know some of you had to have tried it. Sound off here or in our forum.