January 12, 2023 4 min read
GSM stands for Grams per Square Meter and is the standardized method of quantifying the weight of fabric, especially where it pertains to Merino Wool layers and/or other outdoor apparel, gear and goods.
Why is this important? Well, there are a number of reasons one might want to know the weight of a garment, from perceived-to-actual warmth and thermoregulation generated by said Merino Wool layer, all the way to literally counting weight for extended and demanding trips into the backcountry (these folks are sometimes referred to as “pound counters,” people who very much consider the individual weight of every wool layer, piece of gear, and snack they plan to haul into the wild).
However, if you’re someone who just wants to score a few Merino Wool base layers for an upcoming trip or round-year use and you’ve never considered fabric weight before, interpreting gsm can, at times, be a little daunting.
Here at Duckworth, we consider just about anything under 200 GSM to be a lightweight wool layer. In our Montana Merino shop, those wool layer families include the following:
Next, we move on to our midweight Merino Wool layers and base layers, which live between 200-300 gsm.
Finally, we move on to our heaviest Merino Wool fabrics, our Powder Merino Wool fleece line and our 100% Merino Wool button-down shirts: Sawtooth and Snowcrest.
Think of it like an inverted pyramid - toss on the lightest, thinnest Merino Wool layers first (by way of gsm), before tossing some heavier gsm Merino Wool layers over them. Layering Merino Wool clothing really boils down to a matter of preference and anticipated weather conditions.