I’ve always been drawn to books where the author hits the road in search of an existential sense of purpose. Here’s an excerpt from my favorite book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which was the catalyst for this road trip:
“San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run . . . but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant . . .”
The idea was simple. I would take a week off from work, grab 11 vaporizers, hop in my 2017 Mustang and see how each vape shined or fell short on a road trip up the coast. The road trip would start in Los Angeles and lead to Malibu, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and finally Santa Cruz. I opted for the most scenic route possible: Pacific Coast Highway.
My travel companion, let’s call him Gary, is my cousin from Toronto. We had been trying to coordinate this road trip all year. When the stars finally aligned and we both had a break in our schedule, he dropped everything and flew out here to join me on this road trip.
We took 28 grams of Super Lemon Haze, a Golani Joint, gram of shatter, gram of kief, a bottle of single malt scotch, a case of Corona, and a half-ounce of northern lights. Just enough weed to test out all 11 vapes.
Double-double, mustard fried, whole grilled onion, extra toasty, adds chopped chilies Bonus: animal style fries (which I skipped).
Davinci IQ First Impression
First stop on our journey was Malibu. The biggest concern on our minds was which vape to use first? We decided to go with the Davinci IQ. First impression of the IQ: “This tastes fucking amazing!” The weight of the little vape conveyed a sense of quality. (Similar to the feeling one gets from slamming a Mercedes Benz door) Besides the amazing taste, we were impressed with the built in stir stick. Anytime either of us needed to stir something or unclog a lodged nug, we would reach for the stir stick inside of the IQ. DaVinci did a fantastic job of addressing every little issue vaporents would have.
Welcome to Malibu
I blasted the horn a couple times as we drove through the famous tunnels leading to the Pacific Coast Highway. The salty sea breeze meant we had almost arrived at the next leg of the journey.
As we turned onto PCH we saw what must have been every cop in Malibu directing traffic. We picked the worst day in the world to visit Zuma Beach… it was flooded with thousands of bicyclists doing what I presume was the Tour De Malibu (ba-dum-tsss). With hundreds of miles of coastline to choose from, Gary suggested we keep driving until we no longer saw any cops or cyclists. Good idea!
What’s a State beach? I curiously asked the park ranger. She smiled and said, “You folks can enjoy alcohol, bring your pets, basically do almost anything you can’t at a municipality beach.” We couldn’t believe our luck! Gary and I planted our umbrella in the sand and ran into the ocean like a bat out of hell. It was a good 95 degrees out, roughly 38 Canadian units of measurement, and the water felt like a cool 70 degrees.
Crafty Vaporizer First Impression
This was the first time Gary had ever used the Crafty. I simply handed it to him and watched him figure it all out.
He had no problem undoing the mouthpiece and packing the bowl. Having a single button made it super easy to turn on. The Crafty has the potential of being our go-to vaporizer on this trip.
Malibu to Pismo Beach
We woke up pretty early on the second day, but naturally pissed away the morning taking our time packing up the car. The plan was simple, drive up PCH and make it to San Francisco before sundown.
I implore each and every person reading this, at some point in your life, please drive up the Pacific Coast Highway all the way up California. This was the most beautiful drive of my life! Each bend around the horizon revealed a new breathtakingly beautiful view. Pictures don’t do justice to the majesty of it all.
We traveled for 3 hours before our first stop. A quant little town consisting of a single bank, a few dealerships, and handful of mechanic shops and at the heart of it all was this gem of a Mexican restaurant. We had tacos and enchiladas for lunch, and a bowl of Super Lemon Haze out of the Pax 3 for desert.
Next big stop on the trip was Pizmo beach. We took this opportunity to do a headcount of all the vaporizers and grinders brought on this trip. Luckily the beach was damn near completely empty. Gary and I enjoyed a bowl of Super Lemon Haze out of the Pax 2 and Pax 3, along with a bowl of indica out of the Crafty. Since we were planning on making this our last pit stop before the final stretch, we enjoyed a couple cups of coffee on the beach. I was pleasantly surprised that the coffee was still piping hot! Thermoses are definitely must haves for every road trip!
Although I have a high tolerance to cannabis… I did not want to get a DWI. For this reason I was grateful for having Gary with me. It was fun watching him use a lot of these vapes for the first time, and get his unbiased opinion. First up, we wanted to figure out which vape was the easiest for us to load in a moving car:
Easiest Vape to Load During A Road Trip
Gary more or less averaged 1 or two bowls an hour. After 10 hours of driving, he loaded approximately 20 bowls. Here’s a breakdown of how easy each vape was to load:
Hydrology 9 – 3/10 loading the weed itself wasn’t too big of a hassle, but holy shit getting the water inside was a challenge while in a moving car.
Crafty – 9/10 this was the easiest vape to load, it had a wide bowl that was easy to access. The only reason we gave it a 9 instead of 10 was because the damn screen would periodically fall out and needed to be finessed back in.
Pax 3 – 9/10 the Pax would have received a 10/10 if we had a packing tool with us, but we were using our fingers to pack the weed into the bowl. This method turned problematic after vaping multiple bowls in a row resulted in curse words and burnt pinkies.
Swift – 7/10 no funnel 10/10 with a funnel. If you made yourself one of our Weed EDC kits and carry the funnel for your Flowermate Swift, then this vape will be a cakewalk for you to load. If you don’t travel with a loading funnel, hopefully you have a spare key or stir stick, because weed will fall into the grooves around the bowl.
IQ – 10/10 the IQ was the easiest vape to load, the funnel shape around the bowl naturally guidesthe weed into the right spot. The built in stir stick allowed us to half ass tap the weed into the bowl, which worked perfectly because we could compact the weed without making it so compact that it would negatively affect vapor resistance.
DaBox – 8/10 The DaBox is super easy to load. The main challenge when loading the DaBox was not pressing the power button. Firing the power button while touching the coil with a metallic pick could fry the vape.
Grasshopper – 3/10 let’s have a moment of silence for all the weed lost trying to load the Grasshopper. The exceptionally narrow bowl made loading bowls especially challenging. Gary tried to think outside the box by using the doob tube to speed load the GH. This worked great until you separate the GH and the doob tube. Either all the weed falls out of the doob tube, or out of the GH. We loaded up on placemats from Inn N Out to capture the fallen weed.
Fire Fly 2 – 9.5/10 – The FireFly 2 vaporizer missed getting a perfect score because it doesn’t play well with ground up weed. With the IQ we could grind weed, fill up a doob tube, and just tap it into the bowl. With the FF2 we had to get a nug and manually break it up and load it into the bowl. Not a huge pain, but enough of a setback to land the FF2 just shy of a perfect score.
Pismo Beach to San Francisco
“When’s our next exit?” I asked Gary. He put down the vapes he was packing to grab the GPS, “Get ready to exit in…. 217 miles” he said while laughing. The last leg of our trip was the equivalent of driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
We fueled up for the last stretch before San Francisco. Gary repacked all the vaporizers while I cleaned all the bugs off the windshield. There was a luscious green field across from the gas station, we parked there and I took the opportunity to take pictures of each vape as Gary vaped a couple bowls. You will notice those pics throughout the article, for now here’s a couple shots of the grinders we brought on the trip:
The most eventful part of the final stretch was coming across a beautiful girl driving a modified 5.0 Mustang. It’s always refreshing to come across people that drive with a sense of urgency and purpose. Gary blew her a kiss, as we took our exit.
San Francisco greeted us with the most majestic sunset I’ve ever witnessed. As if the sky had been replaced by a cosmic sized serving of rainbow sherbet.
Welcome to The Jungle
The parking, checking into our Air B&B, going grocery shopping, unloading the car… Let’s skip all that bullshit. Let’s fast forward to the moment we were finally able to relax in the living room of our Air B&B. We did it! Time to crack open a beer, pack a bowl, and plan the next 72 hours.
We grabbed some cold cuts, four beers, a half-ounce of Super Lemon Haze, Hydrology 9, Crafty, Pax 2, Pax 3, FireFly 2, Swift, IQ, Grasshopper, DaBox, and a grinder. Everything you would need when exploring a new city.
First stop was to walk to the waters underneath the Bay Bridge. This was where we vaped a bowl with the Pax 3, IQ, Swift, and FF2. We made our way towards the next landmark on the horizon: AT&T park. We walked for about a mile and came across this coffee shop. We bought 2 cups of coffee and started repacking the vapes on the picnic tables outside.
While Gary packed the vapes, which he had become very good at, I started loading the Hydrology 9. A lot easier a task to do when not in a moving car! We sat down to enjoy a cup of coffee along with the Hydrology 9.
A few things I noticed as we sat around AT&T park. Quite a few people were walking around smoking joints, I noticed a Pax Era, and someone with a Pax. I also noticed weed advertisements on the side of busses!
Next up on the trip was the Fisherman Wharf in San Francisco. It was only a 4 mile walk away. There were plenty of cool sights to see along the way. There was the ferry doc, a museum, and a good amount of annoyed white collar workers making their way through hoards of tourists.
Along the way we took turns vaping the IQ, Crafy, and SWIFT. Although we would occasionally pass people walking around with lit joints, we did our best to not vape directly next to bystanders. We found if you walk 15-20 feet away from the boardwalk, you always seem to come to an area with nobody in sight.
From the Fisherman’s Wharf we climbed a hill to watch the sun start to set behind the Golden Gate bridge. One of the most majestic spots I’ve ever had the pleasure of vaping a bowl. Overlooking busy warehouses in the distance we could see a green field we later learned was Crissy Field. From Fisherman’s Wharf to Crissy Field it was a good 3 mile walk, we opted to take a series of buses as close to that direction as we could get.
Before I start describing the events of day two, let me preface it by mentioning how much of a diehard Liverpool Gary is. So of course the plan for day 2 was to cook an awesome omelette and watch the Liverpool game in our Air BNB.
San Francisco is well known for their insane parking situations. We started each day bright and early at 8 am, knowing if we didn’t move the car soon, we would get a ticket. We opted for a paid parking lot a block away from the water.
Once the parking situation was taken care of, we would make our way towards the water underneath the Bay Bridge. Besides a Taxi driver eating his breakfast, there wasn’t anyone around within shouting distance. The perfect place to vape a bowl or 4 and plan the activities for the day.
I cooked us a pretty mean omelette that morning which we ate while watched the Liverpool game.
Sometimes we get so focused on seeing as many sights as possible, we forget to actually take it all in. Gary and I spent the afternoon walking around the Wharf and seeing the tourists swarm from spot to spot. If you’re ever in the area and want to vape or smoke a bowl, we found a very nice secluded spot on the second story behind the aquarium.
Day 3 was our final day in the beautiful city. We woke up, moved the car, and did our morning wake ‘n’ bake routine. After loading up the car and checking out of our Air BNB, we set out to do something I had always dreamed of doing. Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge while blasting the Full House intro.
We took the first exit after driving over the bridge and went to this crowded ass vantage point to see an epic view of SF and the Golden Gate Bridge. Although there were 2 CHP vehicles parked, they didn’t notice (or care) that Gary and I were standing next to the car hitting the Pax 3 and IQ.
We hit the road before rush hour set in, next stop was Santa Cruz. This drive from SF to Santa Cruz was the most beautiful scenery on this trip. Seemed like half the drive consisted of majestic beach views, cliffs spilling into the ocean, and eventually we stared driving through lush forests.
Once in Santa Cruz we crashed at my cousin Harry’s house. Harry is an aspiring comedian that had a show that evening. Out of all the places we visited on this road trip, SC was hands down our favorite! The local comedy scene was absolutely hilarious! After the show we went bar hopping with Harry and the comedians.
Day 4 – The Long Drive Home
One of the best things about weed is the hangover, or lack there of. Sure, if you overdo it right before you go to sleep sometimes you might wake up still high or feeling groggy. Hardly anything close to the hangover a night of bar hopping gets you.
We started the morning off with some indica vaped out of the Crafty. Out of all the vapes we used on this trip, the Crafty had been one of the easiest to deal with. It definitely won our “reach test” meaning it was consistently one of the top 3 vapes we would reach for when it came time to vape.
Harry treated us to brunch to help nurse this hangover. We ate at a delicious waffle house in downtown Santa Cruz. Harry had to head out to work halfway through our meal, so Gary and I paid and explored was downtown Santa Cruz had to offer.
After we finished nursing the hangover, we were finally ready to hit the road and go home!
Pros & Cons of Each Vaporizer
- Pros – Smoothest hit from all the vapes
- Hassle to load
- Hard to hit while moving. Caused water to get in my mouth repeatedly
- Couldn’t taste the weed
- Best tasting hit of all the vapes I tried
- Easiest to load
- Dedicated car vape b/c of how well it performed
- No battery indicator couldn’t remember if we hit once, twice, or none times already. Phone died one day, so had no way of verifying battery life.
- Battery life sucks. We were only getting 2 sometimes 3 bowls out of it. Used to get 4 bowls per charge regularly.
The Crafty was the vape we used most often on the trip. It made the weed taste fantastic, very easy to load, and the perfect size. Our only complaints were the battery life and lack of a battery indicator. Storz & Bickel actually addressed our first complaint by upgrading the batteries on new Crafties by 20%!
- Compact size made it the vape I always carried in my pocket
- Best battery life from the bunch
- Very easy to load, but burned myself packing a hot bowl
- Tastes the worst out of all the vapes I had
- Burned myself packing a warm bowl. Wish it had a packer or stir stick like other vapes.
- Pain in the ass to charge. Had to go back and get my Delta 3D car charging harness to make sure it stays charged
The Pax 3 was one of the most consistent and reliable vapes on the trip. The only hangups were packing it after having already enjoyed a session got tricky. Having a packing tool would have definitely helped eliminate this problem. Charging the vape in the car was another challenge. It was almost impossible to get the Pax 3 to sit on the charger in the car. The Delta 3D charging doc is definitely a must have if you plan on taking your Pax 3 on an adventure!
- Best tasting conduction vape out of the bunch
- Very compact (3nd most compact behind Pax 3 and Grasshopper)
- Fantastic battery life + removable battery made it my most reliable and used vape in the trip)
- Stealth – easily hidden in the palm of my hand
- Battery would show an 80% charge majority of the time. This made it difficult to accurately determine battery life. We overcame this by always ensuring it had a full charge prior to heading out
If I had to choose only one vape to take with me on a trip, it would be the Davinci IQ. It has absolutely everything I want or need in a vape. Features such as removable battery, great battery life, fantastic taste, and a compact size.
- Frequent stirring not ideal for walking or outdoors (high wind)
- Not very stealthy in public
- Charger not very car friendly
The FF2 was my favorite vape to have when we were chilling at the Air BNB. It also performed excellent whenever we wanted to get a quick sesh. The biggest drawback was walking and stirring the FF2. On more than one occasion strong winds blew away a perfectly good bowl while I was trying to stir it. Another drawback was having to manually break up and pack every bowl. Since it doesn’t respond very well to fine grind weed, we couldn’t use our doob tubes to quickly fill the FF2.
The FF2 definitely had some positives working for it. For starters it has removable batteries, and the taste it produced was hands down one of the best we had on the trip!
- ProsMost compact
- 2nd fastest vape to heat up on this trip
- Stealthiest vape on our trip
- Replaceable batteries
- Gets HOT!!!
- Short battery life
One of the best things about using the GH vape in public is the funny looks you get when people think you’re sucking the ink out of a pen like a weirdo. Although the GH is one of the most convenient vapes to carry around, it’s not going to serve you well if you’re looking to sit down and get super stoney baloney. It’s more suited for getting you a quick hit or two while you’re on the go. Reason being, the bowl/mouthpiece gets so incredibly freaking hot!
- Relatively fast session
- Top 3 best tasting vaporizers on the trip
- Best vape to hit out of a water pipe
- Frustrating user experience. Heats up for 2 min, needs to be restarted once then good for the rest of the session
- Dim screen (dimmest screen out of all the vapes we used)
We put the Swift through the ringer during this part of the trip. Although it has some quirks, the Swift was one of the most consistent vaporizers on the trip. It never got clogged; we knew how much battery life it had. We knew that after roughly a minute or two the oven would shut off and the temp would begin falling. A quick reboot later we would be good to go for the rest of the bowl.
Battery life – This was the kryptonite of the Swift. Expect 2-3 bowls out of the Swift, unless you’re hitting it back-to-back without the oven cooling much. For use in the car we didn’t have much of an issue with the Swift, but if the Swift were our only vaporizer… that could have been a potential issue. The Swift also lacks a removable battery, which further compounds the battery life issue.
Display Screen – The display screen sucks! It was so hard to read the screen when it was bright outside. Besides the contrast of the screen, the battery indicator on the Swift takes getting used to. For example, it only really has 3 battery display settings: 80%, 50%, and 1%. If the Swift starts at 50%, you better start taking rips FAST to get a full bowl in.
Taste – As annoying as the battery life and dim display screen was, we still really enjoyed the Swift. It’s one of the top 3 best tasting vapes on the trip. It would do a fantastic job at getting us ripped! Some vapes consume the bud unevenly…. The Swift will turn EVERYTHING brown by the end of the session. We give the Swift a solid 8/10.