Whips can be made from a wide variety of different materials. The most common whips in North America are made of kangaroo leather or 550 nylon paracord. However, other materials are gaining popularity as whip makers begin to experiment, including Kevlar, 275 paracord, dyneema, and even titanium! Check out this video by Adam Winrich to see some examples:
For your first whip, it is likely that you will be choosing between kangaroo leather and paracord. Here is some information on both:
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!
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.