While most cigar connoisseurs will own at least one humidor, there are several instances where you might be caught off guard. For instance, if you’re not a regular smoker, a humidor might not be a feasible investment. Or if you were just gifted a pack of cigars at a party or a family gathering and don’t wish to smoke it immediately, how can you possibly store it without a humidor?
Why is it even necessary to store your cigar in a humidor? Well, cigars are manufactured from tobaccos that grow in a tropical climate. Therefore, to preserve them, they need to be stored at a temperature that is ideal to the place where they were made.
Luckily enough, there are several short-term and long-term methods to store a cigar without a humidor. You can opt for a plastic bag or a ziplock bag as a short-term alternative to humidors whereas a cooler can function as a long-term alternative to humidors.
What Are The Ideal Conditions For Cigars
To ensure the longevity of cigars, they must be kept at a constant temperature and humidity. A cigar’s taste and overall construction can be ruined if there are any drastic deviations from the required temperature and humidity. The required temperature ranges from 18 to 23 degrees Celsius, while the required humidity varies between 65 to 72%.
Make sure you notice the condition of the cigars when you’re purchasing a pack. The shape and condition must be in accordance with your requirements. Cigars must display a soft firmness with a little give when you gently squeeze it with your fingers.
The Role Of A Humidor
Humidors serve as ideal equipment to store cigars. They maintain the humidity and temperature in such a manner that the overall construction and taste of the cigars are not compromised at all. The undeniable merit of humidors is that they make sure your cigars are always fresh to be consumed. It consists of a humidification device that releases moisture. However, humidors might turn out to be an infeasible option for some. If this is the case, there are several ways to store a cigar without a humidor that comes in handy.
Humidors help to get rid of excess moisture and also provide moisture when needed. They keep cigars fresh for short periods of time. In addition, they’re an ideal appliance if you wish to age your cigars for several weeks or even months.
Methods To Store Cigars Without A Humidor
There is no doubt that a humidor is the most feasible way to store your cigars especially if you have a large collection. However, if you don’t wish to spend on a humidor, there are other alternatives that you can choose from. While most of them are short-term solutions to the absence of a humidor, some others like a small cooler can help you store your cigars for more than a few months.
Plastic Bag & Humidification Pack
A plastic bag can function as an alternative to a humidor although it’ll lack the monitoring for the ideal temperature and humidity levels. Simply place your cigars in an airtight plastic bag to prevent the escape of moisture. In addition, you can also go for humidity pouches as a simple option to store your cigars. These are small pouches that store your cigars at an ideal temperature and humidity especially when you’re on the go.
To make the best out of this method, position your cigars in the plastic bag and then add a humidification pouch.
Tupperware & Sponge Method
You can opt for a Tupperware box or a jar to act as an improvised humidor. It provides a little added protection to your cigars. All you need to do is to ensure that the lid is airtight so that the moisture does not escape. Take a Tupperware container and clean it thoroughly. Now if you don’t have a humidification pouch, simply wet an unused sponge from the kitchen with distilled water.
Squeeze out the excess water from the water and then place it in the container. Although you won’t be able to measure the exact humidity and temperature levels using this method, it is a simple and cost-effective way of storing your cigars. Just make sure the sponge inside the container doesn’t run dry at any point and keep rotating the Tupperware for proper ventilation.
A small cooler can act as an effective alternative to a humidor. You can go for this option of storing your cigars if you plan on storing them for more than a few months or if your cigar collection is way too much to be accommodated in a plastic bag. All you need to do is make sure the cooler is clean and airtight. A small cooler functions as the next best alternative to a humidor. Furthermore, you can place humidification pouches inside the humidor cooler to achieve a humidor effect.
A ziploc bag, as the name indicates, is airtight. Therefore, it ensures that the moisture within the bag is retained. If you’re unable to purchase a humidor for your cigars, you can simply place them in a ziploc bag along with a humidification pouch or a wet sponge. Each of these options will ensure that your cigars are stored in ideal conditions to maintain their freshness and construction. However, this method is feasible only in the short run i.e. for a month only.
Additional Tips for Cigars Storage
Although we’ve covered almost every method to store cigars without a humidor, there are a few tips and tricks that we’ll quickly review here.
- Airtight jars: Just like plastic bags and ziploc bags function as an improvised humidor, so do airtight jars. If you need to store one or two cigars, but are looking for a more robust storage device as compared to a ziploc bag, airtight jars are the solution. Simply wet a small unused sponge using distilled water and place it inside the jar along with the cigars. This ensures that the jar retains its humidity. Make sure the jar is airtight to prevent any outflow of moisture.
- Always make sure your cigars are not overly humidified. An indication of over-humidification is a slight swelling at the bottom of your cigar. If you find this, simply expose the cigars to some air. However, if the cigar has become a cigar, it cannot be rescued.
- Don’t consider storing your cigars in a refrigerator except for when you are facing a mold problem. This is because more often than not, refrigerators do nothing but ruin cigars.
- You can use meticulous re-hydration to bring dried cigars back to life. However, there is no guarantee that it is an effective solution every time you try it out.
- Make sure you balance the humidity with the temperature. If the humidity increases, the temperature needs to go down by equal measures. For example, if the temperature rises from 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the humidity must be decreased from 70% to 68%.
- You can evaluate the health of your cigar by gently pressing it. If your cigar shows a slight spring when gently pressed, it is a healthy one. However, if your cigar seems to bend, sag, or if it retains the indentation, your cigar has a high moisture content. Exposing such cigars to air might work well to remove the excess moisture. On the other hand, if the wrapper of the cigar makes a cracking sound, it means your cigar has dried out.
The absence of a humidor, therefore, should not come out as a problem for you especially when you wish to store your cigars. There are several feasible alternatives to a humidor particularly when you are planning to store only a few cigars. Whatever you choose to do, don’t put your cigars in the refrigerator. All that’ll do is simply ruin your favorite cigars and devoid you of their pleasure.
Opting for a plastic bag or a ziploc bag is an excellent way to store your cigars if you plan on storing them for a maximum duration of one month. You can pair them up with either a wet sponge or humidification pouches to maintain the desired levels of humidity and temperature. Another option to go for is a small cooler, one that serves as a long term way to store your cigars. All these methods are an inexpensive way of retaining the freshness of your cigar for relatively shorter periods of time.
No matter which option you choose, make sure it works for the health of your cigars. The cigars must always have a good build and taste according to their original flavor. Anytime there is a discrepancy between the expected flavor of your cigar and its actual flavor, you need to stop smoking it.
The most crucial step in ensuring your cigars’ flavors is consistency in temperature and humidity. Although choosing a cigar humidor is the easiest option to maintain your cigars, there are several other equally effective measures to store cigars that we’ve already elaborated upon.