This is meant to be helpful for the newer pipe smokers.
There are many myths we spread that might lead one to believe you need 1 pipe per bowl smoked in a week. So if you smoke 6 bowls a day times 7 days a week you would need 42 pipes. Balderdash.
New pipers often ask how often a pipe can be smoked. Or how many do they need to give a pipe adequate rest.
Pipes are not fragile. I have many that I smoke all day, 8 - 12 bowls and they hold up just fine.
I'd say, if your budget can afford it, 5 or 6 pipes would be enough. If you decide to build to that number quickly, you might stock your rotation with cobs and drug store pipes. Just about all of us have been there and done that. And if you stop buying pipes at this point you can still enjoy many years of pleasure from you minimal investment.
But in my humble opinion, you will be well served to budget for a higher grade pipe. Maybe you don't feel comfortable dropping $200 - $300 on an artisan pipe. I know it took me several years to convince myself to do so. But companies like Savinelli, Kaywoodie, Briar Works Intl and others sell some mighty fine pipes at around $100.00. I think at that price point you start to see an improvement. So maybe you slow down your rate of acquisition and buy better, if fewer, pipes. YMMV
Doug, I don’t always agree with you, but when I do, I fully agree. I have been smoking a pipe for more than 45 years and have dozens of pipes, not because I smoke them all, but because I collect them. Honestly, I probably smoke only 6 to 10 of them regularly. I don’t buy into all of this rotation/rest stuff that most people talk about. I am still smoking pipes that I have been smoking for over 40 years, and I don’t own a single artisan pipe. I like them, but simply put, I can’t afford them. I have kaywoodies, Dr. Grabows, Falcons, Kirstens, an Orlik or two and a couple of cobs. The Kaywoodies are my go to pipes. I take care of them, but I smoke them and I smoke them a lot. Like you, I often smoke multiple bowls a day in the same pipe and may, if I feel like it, smoke it again two or three days in a row. I keep them clean, don’t overheat them and treat them like the friends they are to me.
I am sure it would be nice to have some really expensive pipes, but I don’t know how I could enjoy them more than I enjoy the ones I have now. My advice is one should buy the kind and the number of pipes they can afford and then enjoy them and take care of them. They will serve a person well if they do that.
I used to have about 10 nice pipes (mostly Sav and Peterson), but they got stolen. Now I have only 5 pipes. I have a few briar pipes and a couple MM cobs. The cobs I carry all the time and beat them up. When they break i replace them. My briar pipes i have dedicated to certain types of blends and smoke them when im sitting around and reading (less likely to drop them or break them in my pocket). I'll eventually have a larger collection of briar, but right now just a few. Cobs are so cheap and forgiving.