Cold Start Dabs Explained

The Evolution of Dabbing: Cold Start Dabs Explained

Remember when dabbing first gained traction, and high-temperature hits were the norm? We’d heat our nails until they were red-hot, load them up with a dab, and take a lung-busting hit that made us cough like there was no tomorrow. It felt like the only way to dab, right? Fast forward to 2023, and low-temperature dabbing is now the preferred method. In this article, we’ll dive into cold start dabs, what they are, and the benefits they offer.

As avid dabbers, we’re all aware of the advantages of low-temperature dabbing—such as preserving terpenes, enhancing the flavor of our concentrates, and being gentler on our lungs. It’s clearly the way to go.

Low-temperature dabbing with a rig takes place between 350-500 degrees. However, finding the sweet spot for your nail or banger can be challenging unless you have an eNail or a temperature gun handy. When using a torch, finding the right temperature can feel like guesswork, and the ideal heat-up and cool-down times depend on your nail’s style. So, prepare for some trial and error, and keep a stopwatch within reach—you’ll need it.

Dabbing with a rig may not be the most straightforward consumption method, but it’s often the favorite among enthusiasts. It’s generally more time-consuming than other methods like vaping, as there’s a lot to juggle—from heating the nail and letting it cool to loading your dabber and grabbing that carb cap. And when you factor in the need for precise temperature control, dabbing with a rig can become overwhelming or even stressful.

If you struggle with finding the right heat-up and cool-down times, or you end up with a banger full of un-vaporized extracts due to low temperatures, fear not—there’s still hope for you. A more laid-back and forgiving style of dabbing, known as cold start or reverse dabbing, is gaining traction and making low-temperature dabs a breeze.

So, what is cold start or reverse dabbing?

Cold start dabs, also referred to as “reverse dabs” or “cold dabs,” are low-temperature dabs done with a rig and banger in reverse order. Instead of heating your banger first, you load your nail and then heat it up. This method is perfect for anyone who tends to go in too hot with traditional dabs or finds themselves with a banger full of un-vaporized extracts because they let the nail cool for too long. Cold start dabs offer various benefits, including reducing your dabbing time by almost half. If you enjoy using a rig but want a quicker, simpler way to streamline your dab sessions without the technical steps involved in traditional dabbing, give cold start dabs a try.

The Essentials of Cold Start Dabbing: Tools and Techniques

If you’re intrigued by cold start or reverse dabbing, you’ll need a standard dab rig setup, including a rig, quartz banger, dabber, and carb cap. Don’t forget a torch filled with butane and some q-tips to clean the nail after use.

How to Perform a Cold Start Dab

Cold dabbing is quickly gaining popularity because it’s nearly foolproof and much faster and easier compared to traditional dabbing. Just keep an eye on your concentrates and follow these simple steps:

  1. Assemble your setup and ensure your banger is clean, as reheating residuals might affect the flavor of your fresh extracts.
  2. Load your dab onto the dabber.
  3. Drop the dab inside the bucket of a clean and unheated nail.
  4. Place your carb cap on the nail.
  5. Fire up your torch to half-torque and aim the tip of the flame a few inches away from the base of the banger.
  6. Closely watch your concentrates; as soon as they begin to bubble and vaporize (usually after around 10 seconds of heating), put the torch down and take your hit. Depending on the size of your dab and lung capacity, you could get multiple hits from one cold start.
  7. Rotate your carb cap as you clear the rig’s chamber completely. Exhale.
  8. Swab out your banger to keep it clean.
  9. Let the banger cool completely, and repeat.

Cold Start Dabbing with a Quartz Insert

You can also try the cold start method with a quartz insert. Follow the steps above, but instead of loading the dab directly into the cold start banger before heating, load up an insert instead. Drop the insert into the bucket, place your carb cap on, and heat the bucket with a torch as explained in the steps above.

Note: You may need to heat the banger for longer than 10-15 seconds because the insert acts as an additional barrier between the flame and your concentrates, requiring more heat to vaporize your extracts.

Using an insert offers several benefits for both traditional dabbing and cold start methods, which you can explore further here.

Choosing the Best Cold Start Bangers

Most quartz bangers can be used for cold start dabs, except for terp slurpers and honey buckets. Some of the best bangers for cold start dabs are round-bottom bangers, although many people also enjoy seamless or opaque bangers. Always use a flat-top banger for cold starting your dabs, as it makes it easier to scrape your cold concentrates into the nail.

Cold Start Dabbing Tips for Beginners

If you’re considering trying cold start dabbing for the first time, here are some tips and insights to help you get started.

  • Before you try dabbing, do some research to understand what to expect.
  • Always begin with a clean nail. A dirty banger makes it difficult to see when your extracts start to bubble or vapor appears in the bucket, potentially leading to overheating and wasted concentrates. If you’re not great at regular maintenance, consider using a brand new nail or soaking your existing one in a water and isopropyl alcohol mixture for about an hour.
  • Start small. When trying out a new technique, don’t load up your banger with lots of extracts in case something goes wrong or you waste some.
  • Use a directional airflow carb cap for the best results. This tool helps you get the highest quality hits and maximizes your concentrates.
  • Ensure your torch has enough butane.
  • Always clean your nail after each dab.

Cold Start Dabbing: Pros and Cons

Benefits of cold start dabbing:

  • Reduces dabbing time if you’re in a hurry.
  • Eliminates worrying about heat-up and cool-down times.
  • Consistently provides low-temp dabs.
  • Easier on your equipment due to less heat, leading to less wear and tear and no chazzing.

Drawbacks of cold start dabbing:

  • If you’re dabbing with friends who all want to try this method, each person must wait for the nail to cool completely between dabs.
  • If you want to take multiple cold start dabs yourself, you’ll be the one waiting.

Cold Start Dabs FAQ

Are cold start dabs wasteful?

Cold start dabs can be wasteful if done incorrectly, just like with low-temp dabs in general. If you don’t heat your concentrate enough to fully vaporize it during the cold start method, it’ll leave behind a lot of sticky residue and won’t get you as high, making it wasteful. However, if you’re cold starting at the correct temperature, you shouldn’t have a problem. It’s just like taking a regular dab, and you’ll wipe away a small amount of leftover oil with a cotton swab.

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Harriett S. Miller

Meet Harriett S. Miller, the guy who never met a CBD strain he didn't like! He's been researching and experimenting with CBD for years, and it's safe to say he's a bit of an enthusiast. When he's not busy trying out new strains, you can find him scoping out the latest cannabis accessories and gadgets. Harriett is dedicated to spreading the word about the benefits of CBD and helping people discover the perfect products to enhance their cannabis experience. He may be serious about his research, but he's always up for a good laugh (or a good puff).

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