The 99-cent Hollow Pointz pipe works just fine and is a smart and frugal option for pot tourists, especially. (Ben Livingston, The Cannabist)

Are 99-cent pipes future of pot tourism?

Many a great stoner can recall at least once or twice in their lives smoking weed out of an aluminum can. But before I ever consumed cannabis, I was a harm reduction advocate, so I never partook of such bad ideas. Besides, hailing from the northwest, home of Bob Snodgrass and more than 10,000 glassblowing disciples, my cannabis culture is steeped in functional glass. I wouldn’t call myself a zealot, but borosilicate is definitely the religion I was raised on around here.

But it’s good to visit another house of weed worship every so often, to experience a different cannabis consecration chamber — especially if you land a gig reviewing pot paraphernalia. So when my local dispensary operator showed me Hollow Pointz, the cheapest pipe they sell — a strip of aluminum rolled into a cone — I felt duty-bound to check it out. After all, many pot tourists will likely choose the cheapest pipe in the pot shop. I’d like to understand that experience.

The Hollow Pointz pipe is three inches long and made from 36-gauge aluminum, which the manufacturer says is safe and shouldn’t volatilize into your lungs. A plastic sticker wraps the lower half warning that the pipe will heat up and a plastic bead acts as a mouthpiece. It’s packed in a small plastic tube, and it comes with a toothpick. It is marvelously unsophisticated, and it costs 99 cents.

In the time the dispensary operator and I spent working through my concerns about smoking from aluminum, I realized that this little pipe could well succeed. The dollar-menu price point certainly can’t be beat. Someone — I don’t know who, but someone — is bound to purchase this pipe. “Is this the shape of things to come?” I wondered.

Beyond the price point, I can imagine numerous reasons a pot tourist or an on-the-go toker might choose Hollow Pointz. The plastic tube it’s packed in can help seal the post-smoking smell. The pipe can be flattened and folded for discrete disposal. The form factor fits in a pocket better than a glass pipe. You don’t have to carve it with a pen like the grocery store apple pipe, and it doesn’t rot quite as fast. It is convenient, and it is cheap.

More gear reviews: Read our reviews of more gear, from vapes to glass to pens. And if you want to submit product for review, email

If you’re looking for a functional review, the thing works. I mean, I stuffed it with pot, lit it quickly — quickly! — and Hollow Pointz directs weed smoke from the burning vegetative matter to the mouth. I even bent the end into an upright bowl after watching instructional videos on their website.

I think it’s an ingenious idea, honestly. But I’m conflicted, though maybe it’s mostly my glass pipe piety. I want to applaud mother necessity for realizing this 99-cent pipe, and I want to congratulate the Hollow Pointz designer for elegant simplicity. But I also pray that you never have to use it.