Pipe smoking is a year-round activity for me. However, one of my favorite pipes smoking seasons is the fall. There is something magical about a warm pipe, a great blend and a cold breeze. Sometimes that cold breeze can be a major issue when smoking a pipe.
When it is too windy, pipe tobacco tends to burn hotter, may go out more
frequently, and ash can blow up into your face or on your clothes. That is where the pipe cap comes in. Typically, it is a metal screen that fits on top of the bowl of your pipe. Most wind caps can fit just about any size pipe. Of course, there are always a few exceptions. For example, some freehand pipes might not work with a wind cap.
So, are wind caps worth it? Let's explore the pros and cons. First, the pros. Wind caps are very affordable. Usually, they are less than $2. They generally, fit most every pipe. You really only need one because they are interchangeable and can be used on your morning Savinelli and then switched to your afternoon Peterson or Dagner. They are very low maintenance and definitely keep your tobacco and ash from flying around.
Now, the cons. It is impossible to tamp your tobacco with the wind cap on. It is also very difficult to relight your tobacco with the cap on. There are some people who have tried to convince me that they can relight their pipe through the pipe cap. I have seen it work when the tobacco is near the top of the bowl but it is definitely not the same as relighting without the cap. So, as far as I am concerned, it is nearly impossible to relight your pipe with the cap on.
They are not perfect but they do serve their purpose. If you are smoking outside on a windy day they can make pipe smoking possible. However, I have owned a wind cap for over 10 years and in that time, I think that I have used it less than 10 times. I just don't bother with them because of the tamping and lighting issues that i noted in the cons section above. That being said, it is well worth the $2 to give it a try and see if it is something that works for you.
If you have used a wind cap on your pipe I would love to hear your opinion. Please feel free to leave a comment below.