What is Fabric GSM?
Simply put, Grams per Square Meter (GSM) is the density of any given piece of fabric. This mysterious number is worked out using a formula which takes into account the physical weight of the fabric and its surface area. This means that GSM is an accurate indicator of the weight of the fabric and, as wrappers, it offers us some good clues as to the Wrapping Qualities of a sling.
What Does GSM Mean?
What Does GSM Tell Me?
GSM tells you the physical weight of your sling and this gives you a few hints about its properties. Remember, a heavy fabric doesn't always translate into a thick sling especially if you are looking at a sling with Viscose yarns - more on this below.
Lightweight (below 230GSM)
A low GSM wrap will usually be fairly thin in hand, making them beginner friendly and perfect for warmer climates. Less fabric density means less ‘cush’, so you may need to wrap more carefully or use multiple passes carries for bigger kids.
Medium Weight (230-300GSM)
These will usually be good all-rounders - offering support and gentle cush, making them suitable for all ages. These wraps are generally easy to wrap with and break-in, making them a good starting place for beginners
Heavy (above 300GSM)
A high GSM wrap is likely to have a good amount cush for the shoulders and will generally offer a lot of support for bigger kids. While a high GSM wrap will usually be thick in hand, some viscose yarns are very heavy while still wrapping like a medium weight sling.
Weight Not Thickness
It is important to remember that GSM is just a guide to the thickness of the sling. In general, a low GSM wrap will almost always feel fairly thin however medium and high GSM wraps can also feel thin in hand and may wrap more like a lower GSM sling. The way a sling will wrap is a combination of weave structure, yarn type and GSM.
GSM & Viscose Yarns
Viscose yarns are a great example of when GSM is not such a good indicator of Wrapping Qualities. Yarns such as Tencel, Pure Bamboo and Bamboo viscose are fine but heavy. This means that while they will have high GSM they will wrap like a much thinner sling.
Top Tip: For Viscose yarns you can take about 30 GSM off the total in order to gauge wrapping qualities
What Does 'Cush' Mean?
When a sling is described as ‘cushy’ there is more cushioning or padding on your shoulders and around your waist, it can also be an indication of a little ‘bounce’ in the wrap. Cush is generally good for those carrying toddlers or wrappers with 'picky shoulders'. A high GSM wrap will usually have more cush as the yarns are likely to be thicker or more densely woven.