The third big decision you have to make when choosing your first whip is the material from which it will be made. While whip makers have been getting more adventurous in recent years, the three most common materials whips are made out of are Kangaroo Leather, Cowhide, and Nylon Paracord.
Kangaroo leather is considered to be the absolute best material for making beautiful, functioning whips. It isn’t too bulky or heavy, it is incredibly flexible and durable, and it can be plaited into thousands of beautiful patterns. Unfortunately, it also comes with quite a hefty price tag, especially if you are getting it shipped to Canada! Kangaroo leather needs to be treated with leather dressing every so often in order to keep it from drying out, and it also shouldn’t be used in wet environments in order to protect the leather. With that being said, if you want the best whip possible, a kangaroo hide whip is the way to go!
Cowhide is a common, cheaper alternative to kangaroo leather, especially in American style bullwhips. While it is slightly less durable and springy than kangaroo leather, cowhide still makes whips that perform reasonably well for the decrease in price. Cowhide, like kangaroo leather, also needs to be treated with leather dressing and kept away from wet environments. If you’re looking for a leather whip that doesn’t break your budget and is more traditional to North America, cowhide is your best option.
Nylon Paracord is growing in popularity around the world for its ability to make durable, inexpensive, and functional whips. As a material paracord is less expensive and more readily available for whip makers, and this makes paracord whips considerably less pricey than leather ones. Paracord also does not have to be treated with leather dressing, can be used in wet environments, and comes in a wide variety of colours and patterns. For these reasons, the material is definitely a favourite among new and experienced whip crackers, especially in Canada where it is wet and snowy for half of the year! Unfortunately, a paracord whip will never crack or feel as good as a leather one, but paracord is still a fantastic option for all of its other benefits.