Smoking Cigars Outdoors

May 25, 2023 | By David Savona
Smoking Cigars Outdoors
The author puffing away on a Cohiba in the great outdoors.

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer, and for many people the warmer days mean more opportunities for smoking great cigars. Whether you’re on the golf course, at the beach, at a barbecue or just relaxing on a chair outside, this is an ideal long weekend for firing up in style. I have plenty of cigars picked out for the days ahead.

Here’s a couple of tips for smoking outside.

Reach For A Torch
I love using a soft flame lighter when I light up inside a cigar bar, at a Big Smoke or in a smoking room, but the great outdoors calls for more power. Even in a light wind, a soft-flame lighter will only serve to annoy. And forget about matches. We’ve all been in that situation where we light one match after another and that little breeze that seemed so innocent just keeps blowing out your match like the Big Bad Wolf. Use a torch. Remember that the flame of a torch is ridiculously hot, so draw an imaginary line from the nozzle of the lighter and keep anything that you don’t want burned (fingers, the cap of your golf hat, your gelled hair) out of the way. Rotate, puff and smoke in peace. And always bring a spare—it avoids frustration when you run out of butane or when your trusty lighter stops working. (And if you do end up with only a soft-flame lighter and you have nothing else to light your cigar, your move is to fight the breeze as best you can. Turn your back to the wind, cradle that lighter like a baby in your cupped hand and light. Your hands will be warm, but it will work. I speak from experience.) 

Torch Lighter
Smoking outdoors calls for a jet lighter, such as the ones shown here by Siglo Design. (Photo/Siglo Accessory)

Forget The Nuance 
The great outdoors is not the time to light up that 30-year-old Cuban a friend gave you, or that ultra-subtle cigar. When you smoke indoors, you get the aroma, the cigar burn isn’t impacted by the breeze and you can appreciate the more subtle notes. Smoking outdoors, especially when you’re busy doing something else (flipping the T-bones on the grill or lining up a putt perhaps) is a great time for a flavor bomb. If you’re choosing between a milder or a more powerful smoke, go for the gusto. 

Consider The Box Press
Box-pressed cigars are extremely popular today, and a huge variety of cigarmakers deliver cigars that are squared off, rather than round. Box pressing doesn’t affect the flavor of a cigar, but I’ve found they come in particularly handy for those times when you might not have an ashtray. I find them especially good on the golf course. Why? They won’t roll away. When I’m smoking on the course, I like to take a puff of my pressed smoke, place it on the bumper, then shank my 3-wood into the woods. That way, even though I may have lost my Titleist, my cigar hasn’t rolled away. (This method still doesn’t help when my buddy drives away in the cart, but I’m working on that.) You’ll find a box-pressed cigar also stays put on tables, fences, etc. Just remember to keep the burning end away from anything sensitive, and I always like to keep the head of the cigar off of any surfaces.

Pressed cigars, like these Montecristos, are ideal for outdoor smoking. (Photo/Altadis U.S.A.)

Always Remember Some Extras
Whether you are heading to the beach, a block party, the driving range or any other outdoor smoking situation, be sure to bring a spare or two. You never know who you might meet, and I’ve forged great friendships over cigars. Keep one handy in your case or pocket and you might soon be smoking with a pal in the great outdoors.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone.

Read Next: Nicaragua: It’s Good To Be Back

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