What is the best type of drum for sweat lodges?
A sweat lodge is a tough place for any drum to last long, as the hot moisture feeds into the skin of the drum head and lacing, making the drum head eventually soften and not play well.
Your best choices are:
1) Our double sided sweatlodge drum, which also uses buffalo skin. The double side, and the buffalo skin are two contributing factors to make this work well. And, our maker says it is guaranteed to make it through a sweat.
2) The second best choice is the 16" Remo drum. It has a great voice, and will never fail in humid conditions. It is made of a plastic head, and of course, many, especially of Native traditions, will feel that is not appropriate. But for pureness of voice, and lasting in sweat conditions, nothing beats it. It never changes its voice. You can soak it in water, and it will keep its voice. Any natural skin head drum will lose its voice if exposed to enough moisture over time. For a single headed drum, an elkskin drum is as good as any. Steer, moose, or buffalo skin may last a little longer in sweat conditions than elk, but the elk do about as well as any other skin in moist conditions, in my own experience. Most any single headed drum other than the Remo will have difficulty making through a full round of sweats. You can always dry the skin between rounds at the fire. I hope you find this helpful.