Pipe Bags- Hide Vs. Synthetic
There are different types of pipe bags on the market from hide to synthetic and a combination hide/synthetic. How do you know which bag you should get?
Hide pipe bags
Hide bags are traditional for the Great Highland Bagpipes. They are usually made of sheepskin, cow or elk. You can typically get 1-2 years of use out of a sheepskin bag and 3-4 years out of a cow skin bag. All hide bags will require some maintenance. Seasoning will help to keep a hide bag in optimal playing condition. Sheepskin is very good for absorbing moisture, however to keep it airtight, it requires more regular maintenance. Sheepskin will also stretch out overtime. Hide bags are a heavier weight which can balance out the drones. They also have a specific feel to them. Some hide bags are now available with zippers to allow airing out after use. This helps to decrease the bacterial build up that can occur from the moisture. Some also come with rubber grommets so that you don't have to tie in the stocks.
Synthetic pipe bags
Synthetic bags are often made out of a Gortex material. The synthetic bag will require virtually no maintenance. Most will come with a zipper so you can air out the bag after use. It is lightweight material, which can be beneficial for younger and petite players. Some pipers prefer the feel of a real hide bag over a synthetic pipe bag. Synthetic bags are typically cheaper in price than hide bags and can last longer.
Hide/Synthetic pipe bags
One of the newest designs is a Hide/Synthetic hybrid bag which combines a hide exterior with a synthetic interior.This way, you get the feel and weight of a hide bag without the need for maintenance. Most have a zipper and grommets for easy installation and airing out.
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