This depends on your skill level, how often you play, where you play, your pocketbook, and your patience. The following table gives the pros and cons of the various bag types as reported by news group participants.
| Factor || Goretex || Hide || Sheepskin || Notes |
| Cost || $125 US || $75 US || $125-150 US || |
| Life || 2 yrs + || 3-5 yrs + || 1-2 yrs || (1) |
| Maintenance || none|| season 3x or 4x/ yr||season once a month|| (2)|
| Watertrap || not needed || needed || not needed || (3) |
| Repairable || easily || not || not || |
| Tie-in || snap || pain || pain || |
| Tie-in variety (stock placement and sizes)|| none|| flexible || flexible || |
| Custom sizes/fit possible? || no || yes || yes || |
| Tie-in cost (professional) || $5 || $25 || $25 ? || |
| Heft || balloon || football || heavy ftbl || |
| Control || ok || better || best || |
| Steadiness || ok || better || best || |
| Startup || takes longer|| || || (4) |
| Cutoff || takes much longer|| || || (4) |
| Weight || light || heavy || heavier || |
| Bag cover needed? || yes || optional || optional || |
| For infrequent use? || fine|| not as good || terrible || |
| Used by top pipers? || yes|| yes || yes || |
| % estimated Use (1996 survey)|| 40% || 50% || 10% || |
- Goretex bags are GUARANTEED against leakage for two years by the manufacturer. We have heard reports of Goretex bags lasting much longer than this. As far as seasoning times for hide, "3 times a year" seems to be the AVERAGE. Your mileage may vary.
- Although Goretex doesn't require "seasoning", it may need to be washed
out with water once or twice a year
- Watertraps may be needed in goretex bags for extremely wet blowers,
if drone reed wetness is a problem
- Startup/cutoff: Goretex is flexible, and it stretches, which makes
starting up or cutting off a challenge for novice pipers.
After this survey was done, a new bag design by Ross came on the market and has become quite popular. Ross bags are used by the World Champion Victoria Police pipe band. Ross bags are somewhat similar to Goretex, but instead of relying on a high tech fabric to control moisture they have a dessicant module inside the bag. The dessicant module is connected to the stocks with tubes. Ross bags cost about US$180. In most of the table properties they are like Goretex with the exception that they are heavier. They are by far the most effective bag for moisture control.
One bag type is not necessarily decidedly better than the another. Much of the differences will depend on how often the pipes are played, whether or not the piper wishes to spend more time performing maintenance, and what the piper feels comfortable with. For example, beginning pipers may want to start with a Ross or Goretex bag (to allow for more concentration on playing, and less time spent maintaining), while many more experienced pipers prefer the "control" of hide or skin-- even with the added time required to keep the bag in shape. We highly recommend that any piper getting a new set of pipes COMPARE the bag types first-hand.