Dugout, taster box, Lincoln log, one hitter box… whatever you call it, the dugout is the classic carrying case for one hitter pipes. They’ve been around in one form or another for so long, they’re pretty much synonymous with one hitters. Never heard of them? Never fear! We whipped up this handy guide to help you learn the basics of a dugout box.
1. Can You Dig It?
The quick rundown, dugouts are a carrying case for your pipe and tobacco. They come in a ton of different materials (ie wood, leather, plastic, metal, etc.), but they all have a chamber for your pipe to sit in (usually spring-loaded to pop the pipe out for easier access) and a second chamber that holds your smoking product. There are some that come with additional chambers like the SilverStick Wood Dugout, which has a bottom chamber for additional product or filters for your pipe, and a top slot for a poker tool to help you clean out your one hitter. There are even a few dugouts that have space for a lighter as well, like the Leather Dugout.
2. You Put Your Right Leg In, You Put Your Right Leg Out
How do you set this thing up and what goes where?! Don't stress, getting a dugout geared up and ready to go is pretty straightforward.
Swivel (or remove) the top to insert the one hitter into the smaller pipe chamber. Place your tobacco in the larger flat-bottomed chamber next to the pipe (you can funnel it in using a folded piece of paper if you’re having trouble). If you have a dugout that holds a cleaning tool, make sure to slide that in at this point too (usually a narrow slot near the pipe chamber). With the SilverStick dugout, you can also store a second type of tobacco in the bottom chamber by swiveling open the chamber and placing it inside. You can also stack filters for your pipe in this chamber too.
Bonus Tip: You can grind your tobacco or just put what you have in as-is because when you pack the bowl the pipe will usually break it up some against the bottom of the chamber. With ground tobacco, you can fit more in the chamber and it burns a bit more evenly, but leaving it whole makes it a little less likely to suck pieces through the pipe.
3. Bon Appétit
Time to dig in! Just remove the pipe, then push it bowl end down into the chamber with your smoking product. Push it firmly down to the bottom of the chamber while twisting the pipe clockwise and counterclockwise to completely pack the bowl of the pipe. You can actually change the amount you’re packing by reducing how hard you’re pressing the one hitter into the tobacco, creating a less dense and smaller packed bowl. After packing, light your one hitter while gently inhaling (if you’re having trouble seeing if it’s lit, check out the lighter trick here). You can knock the ash out afterwards on a firm surface or push it out with a poker if your dugout came with one.
Make sure when you’re putting the pipe back in after use that you’re placing it bowl end up. This will push the end with residue flush against the dugout lid instead of dumping the leftovers into the bottom of the chamber and gumming up the spring. If you have leftover tobacco in the bowl, placing the pipe in bowl end up will also help you preserve what’s left to use later.
4. Clean Up Your Act
After a lot of use, it’s probably a good idea to tidy your dugout box up a bit. Many dugouts are made from wood and other natural materials, so it’s typically not safe to use chemical cleaners, but most of your cleaning can be accomplished with a cotton swab. You can just dust off the particles left in the chambers pretty easily, and you can also dip the cotton swab in some hot water and scrub with that if there’s anything that’s stuck on. Make sure you clean the underside of the swivel top if the ashy end of your pipe was pressing up against it.
If your dugout is made of wood and looks like it needs some love, You can polish it up and seal it with some food-grade safe finish. For our dugouts, we use food-grade salad bowl finish, but there's a lot of things to choose from like butcher block oil and other safe options.
The Student Has Become The Master
Congratulations, you're a dugout master. Or, at the very least, you know a dugout's not just a fancy paperweight now... Regardless, if you take care of your dugout, it should last a lifetime and be a reliable companion for all your adventures to come.