How to Store Cigars Without a Humidor

How to Store Cigars Without a Humidor

We've all been there: you receive a beautiful box of cigars as a gift, or you splurge on some premium sticks, only to realize that your trusty humidor is full or, worse, broken. Maybe you’re just waiting for your new humidor to arrive and need a temporary storage solution. Whatever the case, knowing how to store cigars without a humidor is a skill every cigar enthusiast should master. Here’s a comprehensive guide to keeping your cigars fresh and flavorful without the traditional humidor.

Why Proper Storage Matters

Cigars are a natural product, crafted from leaves that both absorb and lose moisture. Maintaining the right humidity level is crucial to preserving the quality and flavor of your cigars. Without proper storage, cigars can dry out, becoming brittle and losing their rich aromas, or they can become too moist, leading to mold growth and a poor burn. The delicate balance of humidity ensures that cigars retain their optimal texture and taste. Proper storage techniques can significantly extend the lifespan of your cigars, allowing you to enjoy them at their best.

Understanding Humidity

Humidity is the key factor in preserving the quality of your cigars. By maintaining the appropriate humidity levels, you ensure that your cigars remain in optimal smoking condition.

The Role of Humidity

Humidity plays a vital role in cigar preservation. Ideally, cigars should be stored at a relative humidity (RH) level of around 70%. This humidity level keeps the cigars supple and ensures they burn evenly, providing the best smoking experience. Maintaining consistent humidity is crucial because fluctuations can lead to cracking or swelling, which negatively impacts the cigar's integrity.

Balancing Temperature and Humidity

Keeping cigars at the right humidity also involves managing temperature. The optimal temperature range for cigar storage is between 65-70°F (18-21°C). Fluctuations in temperature can affect humidity levels, so it’s essential to store cigars in a stable environment. High temperatures can increase the risk of mold growth, while low temperatures may cause the cigars to dry out.

Temporary Storage Solutions

There are several effective methods to store cigars without a humidor. These methods use common household items and provide short-term solutions to maintain the freshness of your cigars.

Plastic Bag Method

One of the simplest and most effective methods for short-term storage is using a ziplock bag. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Materials Needed: A ziplock bag, a new, clean sponge, and distilled water.
  2. Preparation: Moisten the sponge with distilled water, ensuring it is damp but not dripping.
  3. Setup: Place your cigars in the ziplock bag, along with the damp sponge. Make sure the sponge is not in direct contact with the cigars.
  4. Maintenance: Check the sponge every couple of days and re-moisten it as necessary. This setup can keep your cigars fresh for a week or two.

Tupperware or Food Container

Using a plastic food storage container, often referred to as a "Tupperdor," is another excellent option. This method provides a more robust seal and can store more cigars than a ziplock bag.

  1. Materials Needed: A clean plastic food storage container, a humidification device (like Boveda packs), and distilled water.
  2. Preparation: Place the cigars in the container with a humidification device. If using a sponge, moisten it with distilled water.
  3. Setup: Ensure the container is sealed tightly. Open it occasionally to release excess humidity and prevent mold.
  4. Maintenance: Check the humidification device regularly and replace or re-moisten as needed.

The Coolerdor

For those with a larger collection of cigars, a "Coolerdor" can be an ideal temporary or even long-term solution. A Coolerdor is essentially a repurposed cooler that provides excellent insulation and humidity control.

  1. Materials Needed: A cooler, a humidification device, a hygrometer, and distilled water.
  2. Preparation: Place a humidification device and a hygrometer inside the cooler.
  3. Setup: Arrange your cigars inside the cooler, ensuring there is space for air circulation.
  4. Maintenance: Monitor the hygrometer to maintain the RH between 65-70%. Check the humidification device regularly and adjust as needed.

Tips for Optimal Cigar Storage

Proper maintenance is key to ensuring your cigars stay fresh and ready to smoke. Following these tips will help you maintain the right conditions for your cigars.

Using Distilled Water

Always use distilled water for your humidification devices. Tap water contains minerals and impurities that can affect the taste of your cigars and cause mold growth. Distilled water is free of these contaminants, ensuring a pure and consistent humidity level. Using distilled water also helps to prevent the buildup of mineral deposits in your humidification devices, extending their lifespan and efficiency.

Avoid Direct Contact

When using sponges or other humidification devices, ensure they do not come into direct contact with the cigars. Excess moisture can lead to mold and damage the cigars. Keeping a barrier between the humidification device and the cigars prevents any accidental over-saturation. This precaution helps maintain an even distribution of humidity, protecting the integrity of your cigars. Proper placement of humidification devices ensures a stable and ideal environment for cigar storage.

Regular Monitoring

Regularly check the humidity and condition of your cigars. Use a hygrometer to measure RH and adjust the humidification device as needed. Consistent monitoring helps catch any fluctuations in humidity before they affect your cigars. By staying vigilant, you can ensure your cigars remain in peak condition. Regular checks also allow you to make timely adjustments, maintaining the perfect storage environment.

Separate Infused Cigars

If you have infused or flavored cigars, store them separately from traditional cigars. Infused cigars can transfer their flavors to other cigars, disrupting the delicate balance of aromas and flavors. This separation prevents unwanted flavor mingling, ensuring each cigar maintains its intended taste. Flavored cigars often require slightly different humidity levels, so storing them apart helps maintain their quality. Proper storage practices respect the unique characteristics of both infused and traditional cigars.


Storing cigars without a humidor is entirely feasible with a few simple household items and some basic knowledge of humidity and temperature control. Whether you use a ziplock bag, a Tupperware container, or a Coolerdor, these methods can keep your cigars fresh and enjoyable. By following these tips, you can ensure that your cigars remain in prime condition, ready to provide a satisfying smoking experience whenever you choose to light up.

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