The Steam Filled Room: Meet the Jack Bauer Of Ecigs

Grae Stafford | Freelance Photographer

I would say that everything about the Provari P3 “Stealth “screams low profile but if it could talk it wouldn’t scream. It would talk … quietly … confidently … authoritatively. This is the Jack Bauer of ecigs.

If you are a vaper, your ecig gets jammed in pockets, dropped, rained on and generally takes a shed load of abuse.What do you do if it breaks? Are you going to run down to 7-11 and buy a pack of 20? What if you’re in the middle of the Afghan mountains when that happens and there isn’t a 7-11 and a replacement is weeks away?

Enter the Provari 3 “Stealth,” one of the latest editions to the ProVape line. An ecig designed to take everything that life and frontline duty can dish out, having been specifically designed for vapers who serve.

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I had the opportunity to sit down with Tim Klerekoper from Provape in Washington state to discuss the Provari lineup in detail and what makes them different from other manufacturers. Tim, formerly a pack-a-day man, explained the concept and ethos of ProVape to me using his father’s analogy about shoes:

“You can buy a cheap pair and then buy another cheap pair when they wear out, but if you buy a good pair of shoes they will last longer, fit better and cost less in the long run than a succession of cheap pairs.”

Provari is proof of the amazing things that American engineering is capable of in the 21st century and it’s truly impressive, from the ex-NASA head engineer who designs them, to the people who check and double check the product as it goes down the production line. What every model goes through before it is sent to customers is akin to a torture test that would utterly destroy other mods, and showcases the Provari’s resiliency and quality.

When you have an ecig that has been freeze tested, heat tested, as well as ice and water tested before it’s even been shipped to you, you begin to understand why ProVape is able to claim a return rate of less than one half of one percent of all Provaris sold.

Despite the intense quality controls and testing, the P3 lineup looks like an art gallery, with models that range from beautifully engraved satin steel to Tiffany Blue. The Stealth is very different from the rest of the P3 range, with its minimalist, unobtrusive design. The Stealth was designed and built for law enforcement and military use, and yet — my God — is it a looker in its own way. As vaping popularity skyrockets, guys on the front lines are taking up vaping instead of smoking, cops and EMTs are taking up vaping instead of smoking, and, just like the tools they carry for their jobs, the Stealth P3 has been fine tuned specifically to their extreme requirements.

Gone are the fancy color changing OLEDs. Gone is the polished chrome and paint jobs. If you use it in an office it’s not going to be ostentatious or conspicuous. The Stealth P3 has a non-reflective, triple-coated ceramic finish in a dull matte black. The glass on the OLED screen is darkened and combined with a muted LED so there won’t be much, if indeed any, light leak. You can even turn off the LED screen completely if you need light-free use.

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Apart from the three grip rings, the only design on it is the P3 emblem and that just blends unobtrusively into the design. With the tank attached it is beautifully balanced in the hand, reassuringly solid without being overly heavy. Thanks to a series of extension rings that are indistinguishable from the main body, it will take any battery you can throw at it. 18350, 18500 or the huge 18650s — it doesn’t matter. It swallows them all.

A standout on the P3 range is that it comes with dual connectors to attach your tank, which are easily swapped out using a penny. There’s the industry standard 510 but also the Provari’s own P3 system. As you can see from the pictures, the P3 ring is a monster.

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The Provari’s P3 attachment.

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The industry standard 510 adapter.

Tim explained that the decision to go to a P3 attachment system came from discussions with law enforcement. Guys would turn the wrong way in their body armor and snap their 510 based tanks from their mods. Feedback has been good because apparently now “If you turn the wrong way, you’re more likely to break your hip than your mod.”

ProVape have been very open with their new design and its aim is to try and make the P3 connector the industry standard, and with good reason. As well as strengthening the connection between the tank and the mod, it also improves the electrical conductivity. There are several tanks already on the market that come with the P3 connector and it makes a huge difference. There’s absolutely NO tank wiggle when it’s used. Compared to the P3, the standard 510 feels practically flimsy. P3s on the front line have been dropped, kicked, run over and still keep working. With a P3 tank on this thing you could probably use it as a hammer and apparently one P3 customer has done just that, and it’s still working. I wouldn’t recommend doing that but it’s nice to know that it could, if you were in a bind.

Like all ProVape products the P3 comes with multiple redundant safety systems. Tim freely admits that ProVape’s obsession with safety has probably cost them sales but he pointed out that as the P3 is American-made and not Chinese like a majority of their competitors, they are answerable to American law and could be sued if something were to go wrong, so for that reason the team at ProVape is committed to safety above all else.

The on-board diagnostic system will even go as far to tell you what issue you’re facing and also what actions to take to rectify it. The company have adopted the aerospace engineers mantra that “If you make a mistake in the design or manufacture of a product people could die.” To that end all P3 models are tested for six months before they are launched and there is no possible way that the P3 can fire if the safety systems are not intact and operational. All of which means that ProVape can trumpet that “If you can push the button and vape, it’s safe to vape.”

The draw on the P3 is very smooth. Mine is paired to a black Kangertech mini subtank so as to keep the shape uniform. As soon as I can I’m going to source a couple of black o-rings and a black glass tank to keep the “all black everything” look. I run mine at .5 ohms on the coil and between 13-18 watts for the output. Added to that, the P3 has an ingenious “Hot Shot” boost mechanism to strengthen the initial hit when you press the firing button so there are no priming puffs. The cloud the P3 throws out is easily bigger than that of a cigarette. However, a word of warning, the P3 is limited to 20 watts and was never designed to be a tool for cloud chasers. The P3 is an engineering masterpiece that was built specifically to be an ecig, not an ostentatious show-off machine.

ProVape says they targets the P3 at the 85 percent of people who just want to get off cigarettes and who are not bothered about the “Wattage Wars” between competing mod manufactures.

Under the skin is where the P3 gets clever. The little LED window has a side scrolling menu that allows you to access a multitude of options.

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Voltage, wattage, boost settings, left or right-handed usage as well as a puff counter. You can add in how many puffs it takes you to smoke an analogue cigarette and the P3 will remember and keep track not only of how many cigarettes you have avoided, but also how much money you have saved. The P3 may not be sold as a smoking cessation device, but watching the little glowing numbers climb sure as hell makes you feel proud of yourself and proves the value and long-term savings. In my case, I could pay for the cost of it in a couple of weeks based on the number of cigarettes not smoked. But even on a 20-a-day habit you’re looking at saving the cost of a P3 in a month.

There’s no beating around the bush, though. The Provari P3 isn’t cheap. While Provari does make some cheaper mods, the P3 isn’t one of them. Prices currently start at $200 for the steel iteration of the P3. The Stealth starts at $250. Choosing titanium instead of steel costs another $40.

So, whats my verdict on the P3 and the Stealth in particular?

Well, let’s start off with what the P3 isn’t. It’s not built to be a mega mod, so if chasing clouds is your thing then look else where. The wattage isn’t going to be anywhere near what you need for a cloud factory.

But, there is an aura around certain things. It can be a bottle of expensive scotch, a box of high quality cigars, or a Rolls Royce, but the feeling is the same. That sense of quiet, un-assuming, confident quality and there is no arguing with the P3’s quality. You get what you pay for here.

Unlike most ecig companies, It’s both designed and manufactured in America by people who are genuinely dedicated to their product and committed to safety of their customers. The materials are top notch. The fit and finish is better than some cars I’ve sat in! I have absolutely no doubt that the P3 will take every punishment that I’m going to throw at it and laugh it off. If I ever do manage to break it somehow I know that ProVape will take care of me and my Stealth with their factory warranty.

As for the Stealth model itself, you have the strength and quality of the regular P3 but wrapped in a low-profile package. It has been designed and built for a very specific and demanding clientele. If you are one of them or you want something that is less ostentatious but of the highest quality and safety standards, then you are going to love this thing.

The issue at play here is cost vs value for money. It costs a lot. There’s simply no denying that, but, quality always costs a lot. And this costs a lot in the way that a nice bottle of Scotch costs a lot.

You don’t buy Johnnie Walker Blue because it’s “a drink at the end of the day.” If you want “a drink” you can get one a hell of a lot cheaper. Johnnie Blue is more than “a drink.” You get it because you appreciate the craftsmanship that went in to it and you want it and are prepared to pay for it and you treasure it for all of those things when you sip it. Add in the warranty, all the tech that is at work under the skin and the sheer resilience of the thing and I’d say the P3 price is serious value for money.

Would I buy one with my own money? Honestly, if you had asked me before I’d used one I would probably have said no. I would not have been impressed enough by the raw numbers of it and would probably have passed on it. But now?

Now …  Well, now I feel like I can empathize with the person who rents a Ferrari for a day and then has to give it back. Something this good, leaves a lasting impression that you subconsciously judge everything else against. I have crazy box mods like everyone else with homebrew coils on them and with them I can turn my office into a steam room in seconds, but despite all that … I just love using the P3.

It’s built like a tank and is unobtrusive. What it is and what it does is something that the rest of my mods can’t do. When I’m out on assignment, I vape. I demand the best from my camera gear and now I have an ecig that can go toe-to-toe with my camera in terms of build quality and resilience.

If I had to say how I feel about the P3 in a couple of lines I would say I’m reminded of the line from that old James song “Sit down” which goes, “If I hadn’t seen such riches, I could live with being poor.” Between you and me, the fact is I’ve already started saving up for my next P3.

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