At the very least, a pipe smoker must have a tamper.
What is a tamper?
A device used for tamping.
But seriously, after the “first light” when the tobacco is being charred, the pipe smoker would have to tamp the tobacco gently down before lighting his pipe again.
This is part of the “process” or “ritual” and ensures that the pipe stays lit.
For this he can use any one of the many types of tampers available in the market.
Tampers of all kinds are available – some are made of various types of wood, and even bamboo or bone. All would have a little round metal at the base, somewhat like the top of a nail.
You could also actually use a large nail to do the job of course.
Depending on what they’re made of and who makes them, tampers can cost anything from a couple of bucks to hundreds of dollars.
I have some made of olive wood, bamboo, etc by unknown craftsmen as well as carvers like Tsuge and also “high-end” ones by Dunhill, etc.
Some pipe lighters even have tampers built in.
However, my favorite is The Czech, pictured above – it is a bit like the Swiss Army knife of tampers.
It has everything a pipe smoker needs – the tamper itself, a pick and even a tiny little scoop, and the entire tamper can even be kept together with your keys.
It has the words “Made in the Czech Republic” stamped on it. (Previously, the words were “Made in Czechoslovakia.”)
And it costs nothing – it’s so cheap I tend to buy a whole bunch at one time.
I’m not afraid of losing them and I hand them out to fellow pipe smokers.
Sometimes inevitably someone would forget to bring his tamper and I’ll say “Here, take this” and give one to him.
In this day and age, it is indeed rare to find something so useful which costs so little.