Although sap is still collected by some maple producers in buckets or plastic bags, the majority of maple sap is currently collected using plastic spouts and a network of tubing lines. The standard tubing used for the lines that run from tree to tree is 5/16" (inside diameter). Typically, 5-20 taps are connected together using this tubing to form a lateral line, which, is then connected into larger diameter tubing called mainline. These mainlines run downhill into storage tanks where sap accumulates for later processing into maple syrup. Sometimes it's good to think of a tubing system as a watershed; with the lateral lines being the small streams and the mainlines being increasingly larger rivers.