So cold in here, bro! We've got ice pinchers and ice catchers for days...
Some water pipe and bong designs include indents on either side of the neck, usually midway up the neck or near the bottom. The purpose of these indents is to act as an ice catcher, or ice pinch. These indents are a crucial element to the bong design for imbibers who prefer ultra-cooled hits from their water pipes.
The ice pinch prevents ice from falling into the base of the water pipe, which can make it melt too quickly. Dropping ice cubes onto a perc can also damage the delicate glass workings of your piece! If you want to combine percolators with ice, you definitely need a water pipe with an ice pinch.
The purpose of the ice is to cool the smoke before inhalation. Cool water in the base can achieve cooler hits, but some users find that ice in the neck cools it even further. When using ice in your water pipe, experiment with different amounts of ice to find the right amount for you. Some users only need a few extra cubes, while others will fill the entire neck.
When the smoke interacts with the ice, it may produce a small amount of vapor. Some users worry that inhaling vapor is dangerous, and thus won’t use ice. Users who suffer from bronchitis may want to avoid ice bongs to prevent further damage. However, water from the bottom of a bong will also create vapor when mixed with smoke, so it’s hard to say what the long-term effects are from smoking with just water versus water and ice.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to user preference over whether or not to use ice. If you decide you would like to experiment with ice, make sure you pick up a water pipe with an ice catcher, as not all designs include them.