Pipers often invest a lot of money in purchasing their pipes along with the necessary accessories.
So, it just makes good sense for players to want to store their bagpipes in the best case their money can buy, no?
What exactly do I mean when I say the ‘best bagpipe case’?
Forget the retrofit homemade bulky box that was traditionally used by most pipers. Or the cheap pulled-off-the-shelf travel case from a department store.
The best case is one that’s portable, well crafted, has plenty of room for accessories, and offers unmatched protection for your pipes.
Hey, it doesn’t hurt if the case is stylish as well!
Certainly, your bagpipes deserve better than to be stuffed inside a gym bag, a large toolbox, a suitcase, or even a guitar gig bag, don’t they?
Best Bagpipe Cases in 2020 Reviewed
Types of Bagpipe Cases
Bagpipe hard cases come in a classic rectangular design.
These cases have a very stout build, made from high-impact materials that guarantee no matter how roughly the case is handled; no harm will come to your pipes.
Some hard cases even include special hardware such as corner irons to reinforce the strength of the case.
Despite the hard-wearing exterior, the hard-case interior is usually plush and well-padded to offer soft protection for your instrument.
The best cases will have cross straps on the interior space, and these straps are meant to keep the bagpipes from banging about during transportation.
Lockable latches are an added advantage in most hard cases, and this further ensures the safety of your pipes.
This classic case is handsome in a traditional way and would be a classy way to keep your pipes.
Also, some hard cases are designed to be weatherproof, which is often ideal for particularly valuable pipes.
A hermetically sealed case would also come in handy if the player lives in or travels to places that experience extreme climates.
In this instance, you might also want to get a pipes case humidifier and a hygrometer.
On the downside, a hard case might not be the most convenient way to move about with your bagpipes and accessories, especially if you expect to do a lot of walking.
Besides the weight and bulky nature of the case, there aren’t that many carrying options on a hard case. Often, you just have the handle, and that’s it.
Semi-Rigid / Soft-Sided Cases
Semi-rigid bagpipe cases are very practical, incorporating the desirable properties of both a hard case and a soft case.
Often, these cases feature an exterior made from a heavy, tough cloth, and padded interior and internal stiffening situated between the exterior and interior materials.
This internal stiffening gives this case its rigidity, but not so much that it’s as bulky as a hard case.
These bags have a zipper closure and a variety of carrying options, including a handle, backpack straps, a subway handle, etc.
You may even have convertible semi-rigid cases that come with wheels and a telescoping handle so the case can go into trolley mode.
Being backpackable is a major advantage of a semi-rigid pipes case as this provides a hands-free means of carrying your instrument.
These cases have more storage compartments than what’s provided by a hard case so that you can store more accessories and supplies.
The downside is that semi-rigid cases do not offer the same level of protection one gets with a hard case. Also, they may not be as weatherproof either.
Nonetheless, they are convenient to use owing to their more compact design, and their lightweight nature makes them more portable. At the same time, semi-rigid cases are more affordably priced compared to hard cases.
How to Choose the Best Bagpipe Case for You
1. Unrivaled Protection
Ultimately, the prime reason why players get cases is to protect their precious musical instruments. Seeing as the circumstances are no different when talking about a bagpipe case, whichever bag you go for needs to offer a good deal of protection for your pipes.
Firstly, the case you choose needs to protect your pipes from the stress and strains of traveling and commuting. This is why you need a sturdy, hard-wearing exterior and a generously padded interior to cushion the bagpipes against knocks and bumps.
Secondly, the case should protect your bagpipes from scratches, which is why the best bagpipe cases will have a non-scratch lining.
A protective bagpipe case will preserve the life of your instrument, and it will also increase its resale value should you choose to sell this particular set some years down the line.
In addition to the above-mention protection, your pipes will need protection from the elements as well.
For this, some cases will feature a waterproof exterior, have an airtight sealing, or simply come with a separate rain cover.
Getting your instrument wet will not be good for your playing nor the sound produced. So, to avoid ruining a performance, and ruining your pipe bag also, make sure waterproofing has been taken into consideration one way or the other.
3. Room for Accessories
With time, a single piper can accumulate quite a collection of piping accessories.
Some pipers may keep a few emergency items on them and leave the rest at home. Others, however, may prefer to have all their accessories on them at all times, which leads to having a separate toolbox that’s stocked to the brim with tools, extra reeds, etc.
Which kind of player are you? Or rather, what kind of piper would you want to be?
My one word of advice would be this: most tinkering on bagpipes takes place at home or in the practice room. So, you really do not need to haul all your accessories wherever you go.
Consider bringing along only your essential accessories which can easily be grouped into four categories:
- Music Making.
- Physical Health.
- Sound Production.
- Maintenance and Repair.
Music-Making Items may include spare chanter reeds, a backup chanter, deburring tool, chanter tape, etc.
Physical Health Items may be a small bottle of water, a sweat towel, medication (e.g. Tylenol), granola bars, etc.
Sound Production Items include spare drone reeds, reed-smithing tools, spare blowpipe, extra seasoning, extra flapper valve, etc.
Maintenance and Repair Items could be hemp and wax, swabs and brushes, tie cord, cutting tools, electrician’s tape, hose clamps, etc.
If you pick at least two items from each category, you should pretty much be set for just about anything.
Whatever items you’ve picked to be on your person at all times, go for a bagpipe case with enough room for those accessories.
It’s much more convenient if you can store all accessories in the bagpipe case, rather than have to carry a ton of other bags for your unnecessary items.
Having a case with dedicated compartments for certain accessories makes your life that much easier, especially when you need to find something in a hurry.
Dedicated compartments may include a chanter pouch, space for a water bottle, etc.
4. Effortless Portability
The straps on your bagpipe case should be padded for ultimate comfort. This way, you won’t experience any discomfort even after a long day of being up and about.
Also, your chosen case should be reasonably lightweight, with a slim, compact design.
It also an added advantage if the case has a variety of carrying options for your convenience. You may have a wheeled option, a subway handle, a hold-all handle, a shoulder strap, backpack straps, etc.
Any straps on the case should be adjustable to help you get the best fit and be made from a high-tensile material that won’t snap easily.
Still, on portability, make sure the case has some form of security that holds your pipes in place inside the bag. If your pipes bump about freely inside the case, they will get damaged over time.
If you will need to travel by flight with your pipes, make sure you invest in a specially designed flight case for your bagpipes.
The ideal flight case should be sized to meet the majority of airline carry-on luggage regulations. This way, you would have the peace of mind knowing that you will arrive at your destination with your pipes by your side.
FAQs About Best Bagpipe Cases
Should I Take the Bagpipes Apart Before Storing Them in The Case?
Not necessarily. See, this will largely depend on the size of the bag in contrast to the size of your bagpipes and especially the length of the bass drone.
Ideally, you need to choose a case that won’t require you to take the pipes apart before storing them. This way, your instrument would conveniently be ready to play the minute you pull it out of the case.
If you do end up disassembling your bagpipes, make sure the different parts are stored appropriately to ensure they are well-protected.
This would require you to invest in drone rolls, chanter tubes, reed holders, etc. all designed to keep separate components contained, organized, and protected.
How Much Does A Bagpipe Case Cost?
Most average good quality bags would cost you about $120.
That being said, however, expect to spend no less than $50 and no more than $350 on a pipes case.
I love playing the bagpipes, but I have to admit: carrying bagpipes around without a case can be awkward at times.
Having a case makes my commutes so much easier, not to mention the peace of mind it gives me knowing that my delicate instrument is well protected.
With a good bagpipes case, you can carry your pipes with pride whether you are sauntering to a wedding or showing up for a competition or marching in a festival.