Usually people want a lightweight tallit because they live in a warm climate and want less fabric on their shoulders. But this week we received an inquiry from someone who needs a lightweight tallit because he wants it to be more compact.
I travel a lot and am looking for a tallit that is as lightweight as possible, for putting on my tefillin in airports etc. I'm 5'11" and slim build. Can you recommend a good "travel" tallit? And what is the smallest size you would recommend for me?
The last tallit I bought (i.e. I bought it from myself, since I don't know a better tallit dealer) was a Kalil Tallit. I chose it because during the summer the gabbai of the shul where I daven seems to be under the misimpression that it's not hot during the early morning minyan, so the air conditioner is unnecessary.
Also, a fellow tallit dealer I work with has the same tallit, and he says it stays put on his shoulders better than the nonslip tallits.
It also happens that at the time I was taking my tallit and tefillin to shul in a soft leather briefcase and it was hard to fit my puffy tallit in with the tefillin. Then when I got the new tallit, as a side benefit I found that it took up much less space in the bag, so suddenly there was plenty of room.
As for sizing, according to my estimate a size 60 would come down to the top of his thighs. I told him he might be able to get away with a size 55, which would hang four inches higher in back.