Last week we went over a few general tips to help make your hookah travels easier, but without a hookah the rest of your gear is useless. It’s time to learn how to pack up your pipe and avoid getting your destination with a bag full of shattered glass and mangled brass.
Buy hard-case luggage with a good track record of durability. I have one large piece of luggage that has been flying with me for a long time and has traveled close to 30,000 miles with just me and it’s still going strong with nothing more than a few scratches. Normal luggage offers no protection in regards to direct impact. If you were to put your vase in a standard luggage bag with nothing else and then throw a rock at it, there is a very good chance that the rock will impact the vase and shatter it. If you are using a piece of hard-case luggage the rock will hit the wall rather than the vase and save your glass. The flexibility of soft luggage can spell disaster for your stems. If the bag flexes in the wrong way you may end up shopping for a new pipe when you get home. Sadly, this still doesn’t do much for things getting thrown around inside your luggage.
Try to pack both the vase and stem toward the center of your luggage and away from the walls, each other and anything else hard. You want there to be a cushion of either clothing or other soft things around these pieces at all times. Also, assume that things are going to shift in transit, so it’s worth wrapping everything in a couple layers of thick bubble-wrap before packing them up.
Buy luggage with compression straps. These are nylon straps built into the body of the luggage to make sure that what you pack up doesn’t bounce around if you aren’t packing your luggage to the brim. These are awesome for protecting your hookah gear and other fragile items. The less your items move around the less chance there is of your vase touching the walls and any impact destroying something so precious.
Hoses? Get NuHoses, Tonic disposable hoses or Fancy Hoses. They are cheap, durable and easily packed up. Simple as that.