Faithful potheads know that the truest stoner flex is not the potency of their pre-rolls or the pedigree of their strain hunting. It’s a diversified collection of smoke utensils.
That’s why when Hikoki’s Trident—which we immediately dubbed “the laser bong”—came into our view, we knew it was absolutely necessary that we audition it as soon and as hard as possible.
Graduating from a single spoon pipe to a beaker bong to specialized art glass is a journey most stoners travel on their way to their perfect utensil. But with contemporary advancements in canna-tech—palm-sized flower vaporizers, designer e-rigs, gravity bongs that double as coffee table art—it’s becoming increasingly difficult to wade through these often budget-busting products.
For every delivery method breakthrough that has the potential to revolutionize consumption, there is a device designed by folks who’ve seemingly never been high enough to justify inventing a new way to get high altogether. The Trident unfortunately belongs to the latter category.
What is a laser bong?
The Hitoki Trident is a three-chambered, electric water pipe that uses a laser as its heat source. One chamber contains the heating element, another the plant material, and the bottom chamber holds a few tablespoons of water. The entire rig is approximately the size and shape of a can of Pringles, not including its mouthpiece options—a hookah-style hose or a silicone horn. The unit is substantial enough to be used as a tabletop device, but ergonomic enough to be passed hand to hand between pod homies.
Not unlike common electric rigs, users can load their flower into the Hitoki, press a button a few times and draw a hit without worrying about overheating or otherwise wasting product. In additional, the Hitoki eliminates the use of butane lighters or hemp wicks for what essentially amounts to a straightforward bong hit. Its patent-pending laser combustion system promises to deliver clean smoke and robust flavor, which we discovered over the course of our testing was an ambitious, if not outright foolhardy, promise to make.
Attempt One: Rollin’ With the Homies
I arrived at the squad’s weekly RuPaul’s Drag Race meetup with a laser bong in one hand and a bargain eighth in the other, ready to blow some minds and scream for some queens. Four of us drummed our fingers in anticipation as the other quickly snapped the device apart to load its various chambers, then easily clicked it back together. The one nonsmoker among us scrutinized the Trident’s red-tinted middle chamber through which we would soon see a bright blue laser weakly trickle from its dewdrop-sized source.
The bong’s instructions guided us to push the power button atop the device five times in quick succession to activate it, then again three more times to choose a temperature setting. Once the button glowed, we could either hold it down to activate the laser or press it twice for automated laser action. At this point, manual and website how-to videos said, the laser would combust the flower, filling the smoke chamber and delivering us rowdy chestfuls of cannabis.
What actually happened was less hitting a laser bong and more getting an unsolicited lesson on buying into novelties.
Watching through the transparent midsection of the device, we could see the sapphire beam light a tiny pinprick of exposed cannabis. Then nothing happened.
No effective combustion, no rich plume of laser-induced smoke, just a half-gram bowl with one isolated scorch mark. We experimented with our timing, the temperature and the mouthpieces, but this bong never heated more than one, sad pinprick on the surface. Defeated, we cursed the bong, lit our own joints and proceeded to squeal at all the U.K. drag race contestants.
Attempt Two: Midweek Movie Date
Willing to give the laser bong another chance, I foisted it on my partner in the hopes they had a mechanical aptitude that my stoney squad and I lacked. However, as my partner and I quickly discovered, user error was not the issue. The design of the device was critically flawed.
Absent the distraction of drag queens, we could clearly see the Trident’s questionable functionality.
Typical combustion, facilitated by Bic lighters or hemp wicks grips the cannabis with 3,000-degree flame, igniting its surface and leaving a smoldering cherry that deepens as the user inhales.
None of those things happened when the Hitoki laser fired. Instead, a fluorescent thread of light scorched an area of our cannabis far too diminutive to ignite or smolder.
After shifting and repacking the bowl for a third time, we came to a consensus. This was less of a bong and more of a $500 laser light show for your stone zone.