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Cigar 101

What to Know About Using a Travel Humidor

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Who doesn’t want to bring their favorite cigars on vacation? That’s the best time to smoke them, but traveling with cigars is best when you’re prepared. Most travel humidors are compact and are made of durable materials that prevent your cigars from getting damaged or crushed when you’re packing them in a suitcase. Many include a foam lining to prevent your cigars from rolling around too. A travel humidor is designed to maintain the best conditions for keeping cigars fresh: around 70% RH (relative humidity) and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Even though it’s unlikely you’re aging cigars in a travel humidor, it’s still important to preserve their integrity and flavor whether you’re getting on an airplane, going on a road trip, or driving down the street to play golf. Seasoning a travel humidor is different than setting up a humidor made from Spanish cedar or hardwood materials, but here’s a few quick tips for keeping your cigars fresh in a travel humidor.

Xikar Travel Humidor

The Xikar Travel Humidor is one of the most popular models. Because other brands tend to copy it, we’ll base our recommendations for keeping your cigars fresh in a travel humidor around Xikar’s travel case. It’s available in a 5, 10, or 15-cigar capacity, and it’s made from a crushproof ABS-molded plastic with a stainless steel back hinge and a pair of heavy-duty front latches. A molded lock ring ensures the environment is airtight and watertight, while high-density urethane foam cradles your cigars on the inside. Each model is equipped with a small humidifier (typically a puck) or a Boveda pack. Let’s look at how they work.

Using Boveda Packs in a Travel Humidor

The easiest and safest way to travel with your cigars is to place a Boveda pack in your travel humidor. Boveda packs last anywhere from 2 to 6 months or longer depending on how many cigars you’re storing. A single 60-gram pack is enough to keep 25 cigars fresh, but there are smaller 8-gram packs designed to humidify a smaller quantity of cigars – and take up less space in your travel humidor. You can choose a range of humidity levels from 62% RH to 72% RH when you’re using Boveda. The biggest advantage Boveda offers is that you don’t have to add water or monitor your humidity level. Simply toss a pack in with your cigars, seal your travel humidor shut, and hit the road. Boveda’s patented two-way humidity control disperses a predetermined RH, and the packs won’t hurt your cigars if they touch them.

Prep a Travel Humidor with Propylene Glycol & Distilled Water

If your travel humidor came with a humidification unit, charge the humidifier with propylene glycol solution or distilled water. The type of water you use in a humidor matters. Do not use tap water or bottled water that’s not distilled because you can introduce mold to your cigars. Soak the humidifier in distilled water or squirt enough propylene glycol into the sponge to fill it without creating a puddle inside your humidor. You need just enough to expose your cigars to a consistent humidity level for the duration of your travels. While it’s ideal to measure the humidity with a hygrometer, it’s not always convenient to keep a hygrometer in the limited space most travel humidors offer. If you have time, measure the humidity with a digital hygrometer in your travel humidor before you place your cigars inside. Once you achieve a continual 70% RH for a few days, you should be good to store your cigars inside.

As long as you fill the humidifier prior to your trip, your cigars should star fresh for several days or a couple of weeks. If you’re traveling longer than that, recharge the humidifier with more distilled water while you’re away.

Humidor Bags

If you need to store cigars without a humidor, consider keeping them fresh in a humidor bag while you’re traveling. Humidor bags won’t offer as much protection as a travel humidor, but they will keep your cigars fresh. You simply have to be more careful packing them in your suitcase. One solution is to put your cigars in an empty cigar box and place the whole box inside the larger-size humidor bag.

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