Hotboxing is the stoner rite of passage that stands out among the haze of sessions throughout one's life. The communal toke in a tight space is great for de-stressing during the cold winter months—plus it gets you high as fuck. And, there's just something nostalgic—even heartwarming—about cramming three of your old high school friends into your parent's glass-doored bathtub to blaze.
We asked readers to share their stories about the weird and wonderful places they've hotboxed.
Cale R., 35, Toronto
"There have been a lot of hotboxes over the years, everything from snow forts to walk-in fridges. Probably the strangest was a stainless steel tank, like the type you would see on the back of a transport truck that was delivering milk. When we were teenagers it was with a lot of the municipal vehicles by the Cornfest grounds on St. Joseph Island. It was not in a truck but just sitting there. There was a hatch in the tip that you could climb through, so naturally it had to become a hotbox. We were in there about 45 minutes. If it were larger it would have sucked, but it was quite small and therefore a very good hotbox.
Karina S., 35, Toronto
"Under an upside-down canoe."
Alex F., 20, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
"A bathroom stall in the Cambrian Mall. And the trunk of an unlocked SUV in a used car parking lot. It was one of the cars for sale. We were in there probably about an hour, we weren't worried since it was the middle of the night. It was better to hotbox than the mall bathroom, but it was totally uncomfortable! I'm not sure why it was unlocked, but I'm guessing someone got in trouble the next day."
Ray G., Little, Oklahoma
"It was in the 80s. I was in my early 20s, in the army on leave. I was headed back to Germany on a commercial flight. I had a joint in the bathroom. When I opened the door [after hotboxing], there was a line-up. I wandered back to my seat and put my headphones to watch the movie. They interrupted the movie, announcing that they had open smoking seats—but only cigars and cigarettes were allowed. The airplane bathroom makes an excellent hotbox, though—I was blown away."
Kelly, Calgary, Alberta
Before my husband and I had our lovely camper we would take our tent camping. This particular time we were driving through Marble Canyon Provincial Park, which was right off the highway and full of people. Because of this, there was no good place to smoke besides our tent. We hotboxed it several times, trying not to be noticed by the hordes. From inside the tent, we could hear a man and his son walking by. The son says, "Dad, what's that smell…?" Dad replies: "It's a special cigar." To this day, we call our phatties "special cigars."
Jason K., 34, Cochrane, Ontario
"I was in my later teens. We [two people] smoked in an unplugged freezer—one of those big old freezers that we grew up with. We sat in it, knee-to-knee. We had a thin shim so it couldn't lock. We were waiting for guys to meet up with us for the night, and we figured it would get a good laugh when they came in."
Francis M., 33, Fernie, BC
"I was working at [a chain toy store]. One night I asked a girl who worked there too to come over and hang out. I asked her if she had ever hotboxed. She said no. So my roommate and I and this girl all got into the bathroom. We turned the hot water on to get the room steamed up. We set up some buckets and proceeded to get super ripped. I was having a great conversation with my new friend and everyone seemed to be having fun. That is, until there was a knock on the bathroom door—It was one my roommate's friends telling me that there was a lady knocking on our kitchen window. I looked out the window. Who do I see? My mother and my two older sisters! They had traveled six hours to Toronto for shopping or some shit. They did not tell me in advance. I was so stoned! I was tripping balls when I moved the curtain to see my mother's face in the shadows. I think this event was the first time she realized that I smoke weed and that I was not her little baby anymore. I was 19."
Jake S., BC
"I was at a fishing/hunting camp in northern Ontario, where my family goes every August. My father and brother were out on the lake trying their luck at some bass, leaving my friend and I alone at the cabin. We noticed the empty hot tub on the deck… We decided to lift up the hot tub and hop underneath. It was a light, plastic shelled hot tub. Not a large fiberglass tub—we're no Lou Ferrignos. After about fifteen minutes, it was so smokey we had to hop out. It ended as all good hotboxing stories end, with an afternoon nap.
Lucas G., 34, Vancouver
"I was hiking in Lynn Valley Canyon this summer. We hiked across three the trails and found an abandoned outpost—a tiny wooden one-room shack. We crawled through the mossy, slimy window opening. After we got baked, a huge snake—it must have been four feet long—glided over my buddy's foot and tripped us right out. We wondered if we were in some sort of snake pit and got the fuck out of there—fast."
Joe B., Toronto
"I was 17. My buddies and myself once hotboxed a tiny closet in my mom's place. We were skipping class and mom was at work. We picked the closet because it was the smallest place that could fit the three of us. We didn't hear her come home. My mom found us in there because she followed the extension cord to the lamp we brought in… I was wearing a bathing cap for some reason. Mom was not impressed."
Bobby R., 38, London, Ontario
"I had been picking up night shifts at McDonald's to make some extra money over the summer. I was 19 or 20. I was working with this younger guy who was doing the mopping out front and I was cleaning the fryers and stuff in the back. I told him we are going to be working together Friday night, I'll bring the joint and we'll smoke it and get nice and blazed. I'd smoke before work, maybe on my break, but not really inside, and with the person I was working with. I thought, if it's just us two—it's Friday night at one in the morning, why not. I said, once everyone leaves, we'll go in the freezer because it's contained.
We thought that the manager had left. I sparked up the joint, we smoked it fast, stayed in there for a bit, but it got pretty cold. I guess it technically wasn't a hotbox, but a 'cold box'. All of a sudden we hear the manager run up the stairs, shout 'oh my God.. are you stoned? What the hell!?' He starts freaking out. He asked if we were smoking weed, I told him we smoked in the freezer. He was like, 'Oh FUCK. It's going to be in there til tomorrow. I can't even fire you guys because you're the only ones who will work the worst shifts. This never leaves here.' That was pretty much it. Except we did smoke again later that night, after he left."
Lisa K., Calgary, Alberta
"I first got my medical marijuana license in 2009. I've vaped in the Harry Hays (federal) building and the waiting area of the children's hospital, I've used my volcano in the cafeteria in the courthouse. I won a court case recently with Calgary Transit—allowing me to hotbox in their bus shelters.
During my gastric bypass I spent months in-patient, using a vaporizer in the hospital with no problem. Something happened at the end of 2012/13—Alberta Health Services didn't ban the use of vaporizers in AHS facilities, they just made it so difficult—the only place you could go to vape was a specialized negative pressure room (where you go if you have ebola or something) and staff had to wear hazmat suits. My doctors would refer me to specialists or appointments at the hospital, and AHS would cancel and say they didn't have a negative pressure room, so I can't come.
I had an emergency and EMS spent two hours trying to get any hospital to accept my ambulance, and none would. So the wonderful officers at the Calgary City Police called around and found Foothills Medical Centre, who said they would be able to take me—on the condition that the police would escort me outside—wheeled out on a wheelchair, approximately every 20 minutes to a half hour (I have to go through a lot of cannabis)—two or three blocks off AHS property. The cops did this twice, wheeled me all the way out of there. The cops said 'fuck it.' They had their police van parked outside the ER doors, by the ambulance. They opened up the back of the van, stood outside so I wouldn't get harassed, and I smoked my pipe for hours and hours in the back of the police van. That must have been a mind-fuck for the next person put in the back of that van."
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