I’m a traveler and the appeal of a hookah built durable and adaptable enough to take on the road really appeals to me. To that end I’ve picked up a HoboHookah and I’ve been smoking with it for long enough that I feel I can lodge an opinion.

I don’t like the HoboHookah.

That probably seems a bit harsh but keep reading and I’ll offer some support for the frown currently occupying my face. let’s start with some pictures.

HoboHookah Package
HoboHookah Packaging
HoboHookah Stem
HoboHookah Stem (1)
HoboHookah Stem (2)
HoboHookah Stem (2)

The mouthpiece for the included hose

HoboHookah Bowl
A fairly standard mod bowl
Extra Long HoboHookah Stem
Comparing the replacement, extra long stem with the original

HoboHookah Pros

  1. It’s small and easy to transport: I could see taking this to a party or on a camping trip without taking up a lot of space in my pack.
  2. The bottle vase idea is cool: A smashed vase is an abrupt and sad end to a night but this hookah has no vase of its own and can fit anything from a wine bottle to a large demijohn. If you don’t know what a demijohn is you don’t need to know. Just know that it’s adaptable and a smashed bottle doesn’t have to be the end of a night of smoking. Also, you can use plastic, metal or other more durable materials than glass, which is great on hiking trails, beaches and other situations where glass is either prohibited or unsafe.
  3. It’s affordable: At $60 before shipping it’s not going to break the bank and I wouldn’t lose my mind if I forgot it at a party or it got mangled beyond repair. I don’t want to lose $60 but it’s better than someone walking off with or destroying one of my KMs.
  4. It’s modular with replaceable parts: The heart and grommets are very durable but the rest of the pieces are less so. Bend your downstem on a hike? Get another for cheap and keep smoking. The hoses can also be swapped out pretty easily for silicone hosing but we’ll go over that a little later.

HoboHookah Cons

  1. The downstems feel flimsy: While they advertise the hookah as indestructible I feel I could easily bend the downstems by hand and that would mean they could get kinked or damaged by getting banged around in a backpack or car without some kind of protection.
  2. The hoses are junk: From one end to the other the materials used on the hoses are weak and cheap. The mouthpiece is shoddily molded plastic, the hose itself is a NuHose style material and easily crushed/destroyed, and the hookah end of the hose is light aluminum that feels like it could be easily stripped out. It’s all press fit together and comes apart easily. The resulting seal is enough to do the job but loose at best. The only good thing is that being so easily pulled apart means it can be easily modified and swapped out.
  3. The included bowl is junk: It’s a cheap ceramic mod bowl. Nothing special and nothing really terrible. I’d switch it out if you want a better session but it will do the job.
  4. There is no tray: Not included and not available as an accessory. If you want a tray you need to fit one from another hookah around the neck of the bottle, which fits loosely and poorly. If you try and put it below the grommet it won’t seat thanks to the ports.
  5. The purge valve doesn’t seal well if at all: Thanks to the angle of the purge the ball bearing won’t seat itself unless you pull very hard from the hookah. That’s a big problem because it’s just a big leak.
  6. The Purge is useless: Because the ports are right across from each other and the heart is common chamber there is no way to actually purge the bottle. Blowing into the hose just pushes air directly out the purge and does nothing else.

In conclusion, I’d pass on this one unless the the appeal of a party-going, beater hookah is enough to outweigh the cons. It fills that niche but just barely. I’m not going to make this one a normal part of my rotation and I’m unlikely to use it more than once a year on a camping trip.

Sorry folks. It’s a no go.

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