The small proportions of a travel humidor make humidifying it properly extremely difficult. The volume of air is so small that a passive humidifier can quickly cause excessive humidification. Furthermore, the cigars are very close to the humidifier, meaning that there is a danger of a soggy wrapper caused by the cigar being placed too close to the humidifier.
In addition to this, temperature variation during the journey directly affects the level of humidity in the humidor. An attractive exterior may be important to the aficionado, but for others the quality of storage under difficult environmental conditions is foremost. Whilst one person might want to take three cigars with him for a two-day trip, another might want to take 50 cigars for three weeks. For this reason I suggest a combination of a case for 2–3 cigars that seals well and a stable, robust storage system for 5–80 cigars.
There are several metal or carbon fibre cases on the market that I would recommend for storing 2–3 cigars. Humidification is not necessary for these cases as they seal very well. For storing a larger quantity I would resort to the ugly, but extremely practical, moulded plastic travel humidor. These include foam cradles for your cigars and offer excellent protection against damage.
Also these boxes seal so well that as long as they remain closed hardly any moisture is lost. However, caution is advisable even in this case. A small humidifier is usually built into the lid of this kind of case. If you wish to make use of it, then you should not store any cigars in the three cradles nearest to the humidifier, as the lack of distance between the humidifier and cigars stored here means the cigars would immediately become soggy and soft.
If you are using a larger case with several layers of foam cradles, I recommend that instead of using the built-in humidifier you use one or two pieces of Spanish cedarwood, cut so that they fit exactly to the cigar cradles. These pieces of wood are lightly moistened and placed in the middle layer of foam. In my experience this is perfectly adequate for 4–5 weeks, the cigars are in no danger of being exposed to excessive humidification and they are extremely well protected. Admittedly these plastic boxes will never win a beauty contest, but in my opinion they cannot be beaten for practicality when travelling.
This article was published in the Cigar Journal Summer Edition 2011. Read more