Close up of linen fabric

GSM - what does it mean?

GSM is all about weight

In the world of wrapping, however, the abbreviation "GSM" is often encountered. GSM is an abbreviation of "Grams per Square Meter", in Danish "grams per square meter". Sometimes it is referred to as gsm, or g/m2. It is a term for the weight of fabric. A GSM of 200 simply means that one square meter of the fabric in the wrap/sling weighs 200 grams.

A myth about carrying capacity

GSM is often, erroneously, referred to as the "portability". Sometimes you hear that a swaddle should preferably have a high GSM, so that it is comfortable to carry heavier children in it. But GSM only says something about the weight of the fabric, nothing about its carrying properties. That high GSM is necessary in a swaddle or sling for them to be comfortable for carrying older children is a myth.

Carrying comfort

GMS can only give an indication of the thickness of a winding. How comfortable a wrap or sling is to wear depends largely on the weave, the type of fibers and the density of the threads. The pattern of the winding and how the threads are spun are also important. For optimal comfort, it also requires a good tight binding.

Precisely the tightening is of great importance. The wrap must distribute the child's weight comfortably and evenly over the wearer's back, shoulders and lower back.


Low GSM, in the right blend and weave, can carry heavy children well.

Thinner wraps are easier to tighten correctly, so the weight is distributed evenly and comfortably. Air-containing fibers such as e.g. Merino wool is very light in relation to its strength - at the same time, wool fibers have great strength and high wearing comfort, as the air-filled fibers give a pillowy feeling on the shoulders - popularly referred to as "cush". Flax is another fiber which, although the fiber itself is not particularly light, can be woven thinly without compromising on carrying capacity. This is because flax is incredibly strong and does not give in over time. A thin wrap or ring sling with linen will therefore be able to provide very firm support, which is easy to distribute evenly as the fabric is not particularly thick.

The thicker the wrap, the more difficult it can be to tighten it correctly. A thick and heavy wrap will - all other things being equal - also be warmer to wear than a thinner, lighter wrap.

High GSM

But now it's not like easy wraps are just always the thing. A real bass from a wrap may well be the right choice for you - it is largely a matter of taste. A swaddle with a high GSM is also not always unsuitable for small babies.

High GSM, in the right blend and weave, can carry small babies well.

Some fibers contribute to a high weight. It can be, for example, silk, nylon or milk fibre, which are all heavy fibres. A wrap can also be woven more tightly, of thicker threads, or in double layers. A heavier swaddle, still loosely woven in soft fibers, will easily be able to snuggle around a smaller child.

Weight is therefore not decisive if you are trying to assess how a wrap will behave.

Blend matters

As I said, fibers themselves can be heavy or light, cushy or firm, grippy or smooth and often a wrap is composed of several types of fibers. At the same time, the threads can be thin or thick, or spun in different ways that make them uneven on the surface. There are many different types of special thread (e.g. chenille or bouclé). Other types of thread are extra tightly spun and smooth. All of this affects the load-carrying properties.

The weave matters

A big factor in the load-bearing properties of the wrap is how the fabric is woven. This is why wraps are woven in a special way, which is very different from the way in which fabric for e.g. curtains or clothes are typically woven. Wraps are often more or less loosely woven to give it the diagonal stretch that makes it wrap around the body. But here too there is variation. The tighter the weave, the more firm support the fabric will provide. But a firm, stable weave compromises the diagonal stretch, and therefore wraps in the same blend and weight cannot be immediately simply compared if the weave, or the pattern, is different. Wraps that are in the same blend, in the same pattern, in the same weave can be compared. Otherwise not.

Other factors

And finally, there is how soft and pliable the fibers in the fabric are, or have become with use. Here, too, there is great variation, even within the same fiber. Wool, cotton and linen can vary greatly in how soft it is from the start.

How to choose your wrap

I apologize if I do not exactly contribute to making it more transparent to choose the right wrap. But forget for a moment all about GSM, blend, weaving etc. and look instead at how the seller or dealer describes the properties of the wrap.

If they advise against it for beginners, for example, be extra careful. After all, often a seller will try to appeal as widely as possible. Shock your blood if the swaddle you had chosen for your newborn is described as a "toddler prison recommended for experienced swaddlers". A wrap that is described as beginner-friendly can, on the other hand, easily be good, also for experienced wrapers and for older children.

Even if a dealer wants to appeal broadly in his description of the coil, it is my experience that most serious manufacturers and dealers describe the characteristics of their products honestly. Nobody wants disappointed customers - quite the opposite!

Try if you can

You get the best assessment of a wrap by trying it on. However, that may be easier said than done. Some manufacturers hold gram or pop-up events. Others have their wraps for sale at retailers with brick-and-mortar stores. Many private parties also hold "grams" - private events where you meet and try each other's coils. Maybe you're lucky that a participant has exactly the wrap you're looking at.

Use the experiences of others

If it is not possible to try the wrap, you may be able to find other users' reviews and descriptions of it. Ask in online forums for those interested in wrapping. Many manufacturers also let their customers add product reviews to their shop. You can often also find reviews online if you search for the name of the wrap. Here I can highly recommend the Danish site Wraptrack .

Get guidance

If you feel a bit out of control, there is help available. My first encounter with the wrapping world also made me completely crazy. My best advice is: Forget for a while everything about the optimal blend, GSM etc. and start by finding a wrap that you think is beautiful. You can then take a closer look at whether its features suit your needs.

As a manufacturer and nanny, I can honestly say that I am genuinely interested in matching my products to the needs of my customers. I make a living from satisfied customers and happy babies. 😊 If you need guidance, you are most welcome to contact me. You can catch me on both Facebook , Instagram and email .

Best wishes,

Christine - owner, Nordic Slings

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