Vape Hoarding: Collecting Gear

Many vapers are drawn in by the irresistible temptation to buy more vape gear than they need. Are you one of them?

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Vaping360's Hoarding

The title of this article is a “gotcha” reference to the social and consumer dysfunction currently exploited by some reality television shows, which tend to focus on extreme cases of people whose homes are filled to the brim with junk they acquired but who cannot throw away anything.

That’s not the focus of this article, however catchy the title. This article is about the irresistible temptation for many vapers to buy more vape gear than we need. It’s not typically a disorder, although we may sometimes wonder if we’re OK.

Some people who adopt vaping to quit smoking are content with frugality. Happy to save money they’d otherwise blow on cigarettes, they own one or maybe two personal vaporizers, perhaps just a couple of eGo Twists, along with some CE4 clearomizers and four or five bottles of eliquid. That’s all they need to get off the cancer sticks. Besides new vapers, certain more experienced vapers retain this minimalist approach. Even after a year or two, they may own little more than a couple of VW or TC box mods — one they use daily, the other kept as a back-up — each topped with a Kanger Subtank Mini, with a box of extra coil heads in reserve.

I don’t know what percentage of vapers occupies these “less is more” categories, but I’m certain that many of us do not.

VapnFagan's Mod Hoard
VapnFagan's Mod Hoard

Instead, we become hobbyist vapers, or, more accurately, “vaping enthusiasts.” We read and post on numerous online vaping forums, check the deals sites daily, and buy more vaping stuff than we need, or will ever need. We may or may not go to vaping conventions, but we comprise the backbone and beating heart of the vaping community.

A term I first encountered in the musical marketplace of guitars is “GAS.” That’s an acronym for “Gear Acquisition Syndrome” and refers to the marked tendency among guitar players and collectors (even some who don’t play guitar) to perpetually lust after the next guitar they want to own. Some musicians buy and sell guitars, so that they always have a relatively small number of instruments at any given time, but many keep all their guitars in an ever-increasing collection. Although I don’t play much anymore and no longer buy guitars, I still own eleven of them.

Gear Acquisition Syndrome applies equally (and perhaps even more) to vaping. Many of us are on a virtual quest to ferret out and purchase that next piece of vaping hardware — the latest and greatest mod, tank, RDA, eliquid, or even flavoring.

We end up with cabinets filled with vaping gear of every kind — personal vaporizer tube and box mods in various sizes and ranges of power; atomizers and tanks galore; enough spare coil heads to open a brick and mortar vaping store; plus all the associated accoutrement — spools of coil wire (Kanthal, NiChrome, Titanium, and Stainless Steel in numerous gauges), boxes of organic Japanese cotton, cutters and pliers and tweezers, ohm meters, drip tips, liters of juices, and rechargeable batteries up the wazoo (I have about 50 high-drain 20A 18650s), along with the requisite accompanying four-bay battery chargers (I own six of those).

Jeremy's Hoard
Jeremy's Hoard

The photo below shows the 22 vaporizers I currently keep on my work desk, all outfitted with sub-ohm tanks filled with different juices, ready to vape at a moment’s whim. I have another 20 PVs upstairs in my bedroom on the nightstand next to my bed.

Is my zeal to own vape gear excessive? You bet. Is it great fun? Absolutely.

Bill's Hoard
Bill's Hoard

I dare not reveal how much I’ve spent on vaping gear over more than five years. The figure is downright embarrassing. On the other hand, I’m not an addict. I had sufficient money to fund my “hobby,” and I didn’t have to break into my child’s piggy bank to afford all the stuff I’ve bought. Heck, I don’t even have a kid, which is another reason my profligate spending on vaping gear is affordable. Supporting a family tends to consume one’s disposable income.

One downside to collecting vaping gear (or vape hoarding) is planned obsolescence. At one point about three years ago, I had 25 eGos, Twists, or Spinners, with atomizers and tanks of that generation to go with them. Now all that hardware is ancient history, stored in a box, never to be used again. I have entire cabinets of outmoded vaping stuff. Remember syringe tanks? Blue foam? Old-school 510 atomizers? Vaping gear evolves at a tumultuous pace. Keeping up is not for the faint-hearted.

Another downside is falling prices. The first Temp Control boxes were horrifically expensive. If you got carried away and bought four of them, you blew a significant wad of cash. Just by waiting, you could have bought 15 of the current generation TC boxes, which are not only much cheaper, but higher power and altogether spiffier in performance. A good rule of thumb in buying vaping gear is: Buy one of something, and then wait to see where the price goes over four months. If it turns out that you like it, you can buy another later at half the price.

One aspect of vape hoarding that’s relevant even for vapers who don’t collect gear is the looming issue of government regulation. Whether in the U.S. and Canada, or the UK and Europe, the possibility of stringent and sometimes severe regulatory control is closing in. However wrong-headed vapers feel these restrictions to be, they are nonetheless a reality with which we will all have to deal.

Since eliquid and liquid nicotine are prime targets of such regulations, with the possibility or even likelihood of dramatically limited access in the marketplace, many vapers have already begun stockpiling both juices and liquid nic, just in case. Prices for liquid nicotine have come down significantly over the past couple years, so anyone who wants a stash for the freezer should obtain it now. Like squirrels storing nuts for a long winter, this strategy seems entirely reasonable.

VapnFagan's E-Liquid Hoard
VapnFagan's E-Liquid Hoard

The upside to collecting vape gear is simple: it’s so much FUN! I mean, we’re not collecting BMWs or purchasing multiple vacation homes here. Buying, owning, and using a glut of vape gear doesn’t exactly qualify as “conspicuous consumption.” Living in a consumer culture may be looney tunes, but I have to admit, shopping is fun. It’s the modern equivalent of hunting for game.

Another benefit is that, for those of us who read the online forums, having lots of vape gear changes the experience. Reading a thread about a SnowWolf 200W, or a Uwell Rafale tank, or a hot new RDA using quad Clapton coils is a mere abstraction if you’ve not vaped any of that gear. If you own the mod or the tank or the RDA, however, and vape them every day, reading the thread is an entirely different experience. Then you’re part of the action, a bonafide member in good standing of the vaping community. You’re up to speed. The sense of belonging that comes with first-hand knowledge can be priceless.

Here is a awesome picture of Pipertron Matthew Howell’s massive vape hoard that he sent by. Thanks!

Pipertron Matthew Howell's Hoard
Pipertron Matthew Howell's Hoard

I’m not suggesting that any reader should rush out to a brick-and-mortar vape store or go online and buy all sorts of vaping hardware and supplies. I’m simply saying that it’s OK should we choose to do so. If vaping is an important part of your life, as it is for me, then buying lots of gear is one way to more fully participate in this social revolution.

Native Americans used tobacco with restraint, as a sacrament, but the modern world is simply addicted to tobacco in ways that often cause profound and deadly harm. In whatever small fashion, vaping is rescuing ourselves from our own worst impulses, as well as course-correcting civilization toward saner societies. That is a very good thing, especially since vaping is so much more enjoyable than smoking ever was.

Youtuber VapnFagan’s Huge Vape Collection

Here is an awesome picture of VapnFagan’s massive vape hoard that he sent us. Thanks for the pictures Mark!

Most of the gear are items that I loved and just couldn’t get rid of. Other items I like to keep around so that when a version 2-3-4 comes out I can compare them together in my reviews. So even though I may not use some devices, I have learned it’s good to hold onto them for future reference. ” – Mark (VapnFagan)

VapnFagan's Hoard Cupboard
VapnFagan's Hoard Cupboard

Share Your Vape Hoards with Us

How much vape gear have you collected over the years?! Share your collections in the comments section below.

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Bill Herbst
My name is Bill. I’ve been a dedicated vaper for five and a half years, having ended a 35-year addiction to tobacco cold-turkey on my first day of vaping. I live on the Oregon coast, in the tiny town of Florence, one huge sand dune away from the Pacific Ocean.
  • Bjørnar Berntsen

    starting to get a collection going here as well 🙂

    • Bill Herbst

      Nice Start, Bjørnar!

      There’s an old saying that goes, “from little acorns, big oak trees grow.” You’ve already collected a bunch of good acorns. Soon you’ll have a big tree!

  • Blackg

    I’m not one of the vapers that collects I’m constantly trading/selling/buying new/old gear all the time. I’ve never owned the same device twice, nor have I held onto a particular device/atty for more than a couple of months. I don’t have the budget to collect but using this method I’ve found several new favorites that I may find my way back to some day. But there will always be new devices to go through and I never know what I’ll get next. And that is the fun of it I’ll never have the exact same experience twice so many combinations work so differently.

    • Bill Herbst

      Blackg,

      I’m sure that many, many serious vapers share your approach. How to deal with the increasing sophistication of vape gear is one of those “whatever fits with your life and makes you happy” kinds of things.

      If selling old hardware to buy new gear works for you (as it clearly does), fantastic! Vaping is not only a way to improve our health, but also to enhance our well-being through more enjoyment and sheer fun. You’ve obviously found a way to stay within your budget while increasing your fun.

      • Blackg

        Thanks for the reply, I really do enjoy your articles and all of the articles on this site. But back on subject, while I’ve been mostly successful in being able to trade and sell old gear around it isn’t always easy and many a time I’ve given up devices that I truly regret. Especially when I see them again months later in poor condition. I usually manage to keep a small hoard around but every now and then I’ve had to sell a good portion of it just for that one update. And some things on my shelf I don’t believe will go anywhere (tobeco turbo, freakshow mini rdas) just due to a poor local opinion. Even though in my view those 2 are a couple of my favorites. With the ever changing industry it seems every product put out has it’s own innovative twist on a poplar idea or even a completely out of the box one. I think that’s one of the things that makes it such an interesting and fun hobby now, one that started with just wanting to breathe easier and I’m truly grateful for sites like this and people like you.

        • Bill Herbst

          Yes, one of the side effects of increasing competition and falling prices is that used gear may not command much. Prices new for the same hardware may have been significantly discounted since we bought one, and that shiny new piece of gear we’re looking to replace it with is probably cheaper than the less spiffy kit we bought six months ago, so vapers looking for used gear to buy aren’t always willing to pay much.

          The upshot is that sale of two or three items may be necessary to purchase a single new one.

          As you say also , by the time we want to sell some piece—an RDA, a mod box, whatever—the “bloom may be off the rose” with potential buyers either rejecting it or having moved on to the next greatest toy. Oh well, that’s life in the consumer marketplace, eh?

          Innovation is certainly a hallmark of the vaping industry, whether substantive or faddish. Having bought a whole flock of Temp Control boxes (which have taken over the market in a relatively short time), I now find that I really don’t care about Temp Control at all and hardly ever use it. I can certainly see its benefits for RDA fans, but I’m mainly a sub-ohm clearo tank and RTA guy, so dry hits aren’t an issue, and I don’t notice the vape quality being any more “regulated” and consistent than without TC.

  • Lost vapez

    I have a pretty good collection. I like trying the shiny new tanks/mods. But some haven’t really liked and It seems hard to sell vape goods.

    • Bill Herbst

      Selling gear is not for everyone. I have numerous online vaping friends who, like Blackg below, are very successful in turning over their inventory by selling it to allow the purchase of new hardware or juices. My temperament doesn’t lean in that direction.

  • Reflections Vapor

    Wow! This article gets right to the heart of it. Thanks Bill! Great read. Without further ado, here is my vape hoard. (This is just the display pieces, there are cabinets, drawers, even a whole closet full of the past 5yrs of vaping history!) Eat your heart out!
    (Note: unfortunately I was unable to load any photos for whatever reason. I’m attempting to reach you Bill, to share my collection.)
    (Another note: It thrills me to see my products in Fagans collection, Reflections Vapor, second row back middle of shelf. Product label can’t be seen but I can Identify those bottles anywhere!)

    • Bill Herbst

      RV,

      I look forward to seeing your collection. Everyone’s stash (er, hoard) is a little different. I like seeing all the variation.

      Below is a pic of my vaping storage cabinets that are about four feet high and sit next to my vaping workstation.

  • Pipertron Matthew Howell

    i’ve been a toy collector for 20 years now(transformers)and when i first saw someone vaping i knew that was for me,,but i had no idea the collector in me was being turned on to a new hobby,,
    such a good feeling to give a smoker one of my set-ups which i’ve done twice now at no charge,,vaping has changed my life in so many ways!

    • Bill Herbst

      PMH,

      Living, as I do, in a very small town on the Oregon coast, I’ve never been to a brick-and-mortar vape store (the nearest ones are 50 miles away over the coastal mountains in Eugene). So, I don’t know anyone else who vapes here in Florence (or anyone who smokes, either). Since I don’t have any vaping friends locally, giving away vaping gear, juice, or supplies is less frequent and more of a hassle, because of the effort, time, and expense of packing up stuff and shipping it off just to gift it to someone. If giving away gear were more convenient for me, I’d do it a lot, although I have to admit that some of my older gear feels like ancient history already. (Does anyone still use eGo Twist batts with dual-coil 510 cartomizers? Probably, but no one I know…)

      I will say, however, that on those rare occasions when I’ve sent a Care package to an online vaper, it felt good to do so.

      I spent two years making natural tobacco extract flavorings (NETs) and was part of a small cadre of home-extractor compatriots on a popular online vaping forum. We regularly exchanged NET extracts via the mail. Being able to sample the fruits of each other’s labors was great fun.

  • Mark Righter

    My collection. I use most of them daily.

    • Bill Herbst

      Nice stable. I hear tell that there are vapers who use a single PV to vape one juice all day long. That’s fine, of course, but I’m more of a vaping bumblebee. I currently have 22 box mods on my desk, each outfitted with a sub-ohm tank or RTA loaded with a different juice flavor. Like you, I flit from one to another at a moment’s notice. My brain seems to be hard-wired to appreciate a variety of flavors, so I never vape one set-up for very long.

      When non-vaping friends visit my home, they see the little army of loaded-and-ready box mods on my desk and ask, “Why so many?” After I explain it to them, they sort of understand, but not totally. Another vaper would immediately empathize with my “quest for flavors,” however. It’s like a vaping smorgasbord.

  • Elliott Nunez

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who collects and hoards all types of vaping products! I have some mods and tanks I have not even opened yet. It’s fun to collect things. Some people collect stamps, coins, baseball cards, comics etc. I like to collect vaping “things”. I wonder if it’s because I have an addictive personality, or I want to be prepared for the worst. I collect nicotine and D.I.Y. flavors VG and PG as well. I also have a boatload of guitars and tattoo machines. There is just something about mods, tanks,drippers, tattoo machines and guitars that make me want to buy more and more..Or maybe I do just have an addictive personality…Either way I’m not harming anyone and it makes me happy so what the heck!!

    • Bill Herbst

      Exactly.

  • william sims

    I was smoking 2+ packs of Marlboro at 12-15 a day, and I used vaping to quit, and I was spending 400+ monthly on Marlboro, so HE’LL YES I BUY EVERY MOD FROM THE EVOD TO MY DNA 200’S , and I have 230+ as of TODAY, and 5 on the way, every tank , top of the line juices, and I have a dedicated room for mods and tanks and vape gear, but I spend 400+ a month, and I have an awesome time collecting and displaying my TOYS, and I’d rather spend 800 a month on mods and tanks and juice than a dollar on MARLBORO. I am addicted to buying mods and tanks, but it’s sure as hell 1000x better than buying 1 pack of Marlboro.

  • Joey Wright

    I’m ecstatic to learn I’m not the only one who collects/ hordes! I have 70+ mechanical mods, authentic and clone mixed, and a bunch of vv/vw and some TC. I have a pile of RDAs and RTAs and love experimenting with coil builds. My wife accepts my OCDness which is a very good thing. I’ll try to attach a photo soon. 🙂

    • Bill Herbst

      It’s clear as a bell that collecting vaping gear is not an activity limited to a tiny minority of vapers. Not every vaper buys gear as if there were no tomorrow, of course, but “vape hoarding” is a phenomenon that leans in the direction of more universal rather than less.

      I have no doubt that vapers exist who own only one PV and a couple clearos or tanks, but I’ve come to believe that they are more the exception than we are. OCD is not even necessary for one to become a vape hoarder. All that’s required is time and money.

      • Joey Wright

        Sadly, I know I’m OCD and have been diagnosed. Whatever I get “into”, I get into 100%. Why else would someone have/had 30+ fly rods and reels, 12 or so full paintball set-ups, and 40+ Scotty Cameron putters! Vape gear is better because it can all be used daily and, when properly taken care of, will last years and still look good!

  • María José Rico

    When waiting for vape mail from China becomes unbearable! you know you are a vape hoarder!

    • Bill Herbst

      One solution to the problem of waiting on the slow boat from China that’s particularly well-suited to vape hoarding is to order lots of stuff, but stagger the purchases over some weeks, so that every couple of days something arrives in the mail.

      At least you still look forward to actually receiving your products. For some of the most hard-core vape hoarders, the thrill is mostly in shopping and ordering. It’s as if the hunt is more thrilling than what is actually bagged and brought home for dinner. LOL.