Cloud chasing for beginners: a step-by-step guide
Ever looked at an awe-inspiring vape cloud and wondered how it’s created? Welcome to the world of cloud chasing. From choice of kit through to vape technique, here are our beginner-friendly tips for achieving big-cloud satisfaction.
Chasing the clouds: is it for me?
Small, discrete puffs suit many vapers just fine; especially recent vaping converts looking for a functional nicotine fix.
But once you’ve been vaping for a little while, it’s natural to want to expand your horizons. And what better way than to ramp up vapour production? Search for cloud chasing on YouTube or Instagram and you’ll discover a whole subculture of big-cloud connoisseurs.
There are in-depth debates about the science of vape cloud creation, and even global cloud chasing competitions. In other words, if you want to really get into cloud chasing, there’s a whole community out there to explore.
For many, the technical side of cloud chasing is all part of the fun. In your quest for the densest crowd-pleasing clouds, you can build your mod from scratch, create your atomisers and experiment with kit configuration.
Nowadays you don’t have to be technically minded to be able to create clouds. There are a range of mod kits you can buy, many of which have powerful, sub-ohm capabilities and use pre-built atomisers. A benefit of these is that you can ramp up the power when needed for big clouds, and then turn it right down for more ‘routine’ vaping.
Tip: for more information on sub-ohming and why it creates big clouds, check out our sub ohm guide.
How to choose a vape device for cloud chasing
As a rule, a higher wattage device means greater cloud production. However, advances in mod and atomiser design now mean that it’s possible to create bigger clouds with less power: great news for non-technical vaping novices.
A few years ago, the go-to vape device for big clouds was usually a dual-battery box mod with a power ceiling above 100 watts. These days, it’s perfectly possible to create impressive clouds with the following hassle-free set-up:
- A regulated, single battery sub-ohm mod with a power ceiling of 50-70 watts
- A pre-built mesh coil
- A tank with adjustable airflow.
What are the best coils for cloud chasing?
Your coil (aka atomiser) is what heats the juice to create vapour. With some tanks, you have a choice of pre-built coils to use. For big clouds, bear in mind the following:
Standard wire coils heat vapour relatively slowly. They are good for flavour, but are not generally the best choice for cloud production.
Mesh coils contain a strip of perforated metal instead of a coiled wire. This gives them a bigger surface area, enabling faster heating and bigger clouds.
Some tanks are cross-compatible with mesh and wire coils. This means you can try out a wire mesh for cloud chasing, without necessarily having to buy a new tank.
Cloud chasing and air flow
For bigger clouds, you need the right level of power, along with a suitable coil, and to pay close attention to air flow.
Towards the base of most sub ohm tanks you’ll usually find two or three air holes, you can open or close these by sliding the covers back and forth. Plenty of vapour demands plenty of air passing through your tank. So generally, for bigger clouds, open up the airflow and or a tighter draw and more intense flavour, close the flow.
Choice of liquid for cloud chasing
The base of most vape juices is made up of two main ingredients: propylene glycol (PG), and vegetable glycerine (VG).
PG is a clear, odourless petroleum by-product that carries flavour well. VG is a slightly sweet tasting organic liquid that also has a high level of viscosity (gloopiness). This viscosity means that high-VG liquids tend to be the best for creating thicker, more voluminous clouds.
It’s actually possible to get 100% VG liquids. That said, if you want to create big clouds but still want to relish the flavour of your juice, you might prefer a liquid that still has a VG/PG blend, albeit with VG as the dominant ingredient. Tip: try a 70/30
VG/PG ratio and see how you get on!
Big cloud vaping technique
From smoke rings to jellyfish, you’ll find no shortage of YouTube video tutorials to teach you cloud tricks. To begin with, you’ll want to get to grips with the basics of big cloud production.
For lots of vapour, you need to inhale hard and fast. Doing it half-heartedly can actually result in a harsher vape sensation, as it means won’t have enough air passing over the coil to keep it comfortably cool.
This is why you should get familiar with the direct to lung (DTL) vape technique. Instead of taking a drag, holding it and inhaling (like you would with a cigarette), you inhale the vapour in a single, strong action, without holding it in your mouth, before exhaling. It takes practise but is the most effective method for cloud chasing.
Want to know more about all aspects of vaping and vape equipment? Be sure to check out our blog.