A dugout, sometimes called a one-hitter, is a device used to facilitate discrete, personal use of marijuana.
The dugout is a rectangular object with two compartments. The larger compartment stores the marijuana and a cylindrical compartment is used to store the pipe used to smoke the marijuana.
The special pipe which the hitter-box stores is often called a bat, one-hitter, or simply hitter. It closely resembles a cigarette in size and appearance. Metal, ceramic, or glass in construction, it has a shallow recess into which the marijuana is loaded. A narrow artery, through which the smoke from the marijuana is channeled, extends from the recess to the opposite end of the pipe.
The dugout usually has a swiveling door which caps the two compartments. A spring at the bottom of the cylindrical compartment pushes the end of the pipe out of the box when the door is opened so that it can be extracted from the box. The sharp edge of the recessed end of the pipe allows the pipe to be loaded by burrowing it into the marijuana compartment. The marijuana can then be smoked by lighting it with a flame as one would light a tobacco cigarette. Often the metal of a lighter is held in front of the pipe to reflect the light emitted from the burning marijuana, allowing the user to monitor the burn while inhaling the smoke.
Because the process of smoking marijuana with such a device so closely resembles the process of smoking a cigarette, it is often applied when the user wishes to smoke marijuana in public. The ease and speed with which the process is able to be performed makes it an ideal way in which to smoke marijuana while in public.
Retail stores that sell hitter-boxes often claim that they are intended for tobacco use. However it is difficult to imagine why someone wishing to smoke tobacco would not smoke an actual cigarette instead of from a pipe which is made to resemble a cigarette.
The dugout and bat metaphor alludes to the athletic sport baseball. While it is difficult to explain exactly how such metphors come about, we can examine some possibilites. The pipe is often called a one-hitter because the recess holds only enough marijuana for one hit, the term used for a single inhalation of marijuana. Because baseball bats are used to hit baseballs, this may be one explanation for the metaphorical term bat often applied to the one-hitter pipe. Another explanation for this term is that some hitter pipes bear a shape resembling a small baseball bat. Because to load the pipe, it is burrowed, or dug, into the marijuana compartment, this may be why the box is called a dugout-the marijuana is dug out of the container.