An Introduction To Cloud Chasing
Cloud chasing refers to what might be considered as a ‘vaping subculture’ populated by enthusiasts who aim to not just produce the largest plumes of vape, but also perform tricks.
While it has been popular in the USA for a decade or so, the hobby only really gained traction in the UK around 2014 when high powered mods became easily available. At the time of writing, its growing popularity is unquestionably the main reason why we’re seeing so many of the big name manufacturers releasing their own ranges of often very affordable mods.
So what’s the story about cloud chasing? Why is it so popular – how is it performed – and to what extent has it affected the image of vaping?
How To Cloud Chase – The Basics
Let’s kick off this article by just covering the basics on how to cloud chase. In terms of gear, you’ll need what is referred to as a mod. This is essentially a very high powered battery that generates way beyond what most ‘standard’ vaporizers can deliver.
Some premium mods can go as high as 100V – over ten times that of a typical off the shelf vape pen. As may well be expected they have a variety of temperature control features to prevent the device from overheating! Most cloud chasers stick to about 50V. While power generation is very important – it’s the only essential component.
In order to produce dense clouds, the atomizers need to be configured for sub ohm vaping. Having a coil with very low resistance – as well as an open air flow – delivers amazing amounts of vapour. Competitive vapers (we’ll come to this) use customized – sometimes referred to as rebuildable – tanks and coils to customize their vape to astonishing levels. Anyone interested in this will find masses of tutorials on the web, although care should obviously be taken.
Why Do People Cloud Chase?
It surprises many people to discover that the majority of cloud chasers happen to use either zero or very low nicotine e-liquids. Many don’t ‘vape’ in the conventional sense to get a throat hit from liquids containing propylene glycerol – they just want the clouds! The closest comparison would be to describe cloud chasing as the 21st-century equivalentof a hookah pipe.
The vape produced is extremely dense and often very sweet due to the e-liquids being largely comprised of vegetable glycerin – the component of juices that produces the vapour and has a slight natural sweetness. This is why a large proportion of liquids suitable for sub ohm cloud chasing happen to carry a sweet theme – think of ‘strawberry cheesecake or coffee and cream’.
Competitive Cloud Chasing
Having been long established in the USA it’s no surprise that just like any hobby there is a competitive element. Tournaments that offer prizes of up to a couple of grand take place around the year – the UK hosted The World Series Of Cloud Chasing in 2016.
Competitors are judged primarily on their skill at being able to create the most spectacular cloud formations. There are dozens of techniques practiced. Standard tricks involve names such as The Dragon whereby the participant needs to exhale simultaneously from their mouth and nose. Try it – it’s impossible without practice. Many of the elite tricks require the kind of circular breathing used by musicians.
The Controversy Of Cloud Chasing
As may be expected it didn’t take long for the media to take interest in cloud chasing after it arrived over here. Vaping was – and remains – a controversial issue, but seeing people walking down the street leaving a trail of dense cloud is certainly much more noticeable. Cloud chasing was largely slated, even by the liberal media, but as ever such reactions come down to basic misconception. Everyone assumed these chasers were inhaling vast quantities of nicotine – even though they were taking in barely if any at all.
There’s plenty of controversy within the cloud chasing community too. There’s a split between those who think it’s fine to perform their totally legal activity wherever they wish, and a majority who only chase in places they know it’s understood and tolerated. Cloud chasing is rarely permitted inside public areas such as public transport, pubs or shopping centers.
Is Cloud Chasing A Fad?
Not likely given the US example. The price of high power mods and components continues to fall, and many people – especially younger vapers – find those heavy clouds much more interesting than the throat hit expected from normal vaping. There are also quite a few pen style models coming to market which are equally capable of generating the same performance as a mod battery.
Anyone interested in cloud chasing will find that their local vape store will usually have display models for people to try. It’s not for everyone, but make no mistake some people go wild for it.