Usually I get requests for a lightweight tallit from customers who live in a hot climate. I myself got a lightweight tallit for day-to-day summer use because I davin early, and the gabbaim seem to think that it can’t be warm in shul at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. But they’re wrong. When the air conditioner isn’t on, I really suffer, and definitely feel disinclined to pull the tallis up onto my head at all.
So I got myself a Kalil, which looks just like a traditional black-on-white tallit, but is made from a thinner weave that comes out 30% lighter than a standard wool tallit. I’ve been using it for at least a year, and so far I’m very impressed with how well it’s held up. It looks pretty much as good as new.
If you are considering the Kalil tallit, a.ka.a. Tallis Hameshubach Kelilas Yofi, be aware that it’s a bit narrower across the shoulders (meaning less tallit to bunch up on your shoulders, and in the size 60 has three black stripes instead of the more common five-stripe pattern. It also folds up very compactly, so if you are a commuter who shleps tallit and tefillin along, that might help. I once had a customer who was a bike commuter in search of a very compact tallit, so I recommend the Kalil.
Although it’s made in Israel by Mishkan Hatchelet, in the U.S. Keter markets this same tallit under the name “Tallis Hameshubach Kelilas Yofi” or “Feather Lite Edition.”
More common lightweight tallits are the Tashbetz, which comes with a number of striping options: black, white, white/silver, sky blue/silver and gray/silver. The Tashbetz is quite popular because it’s made of an airy box weave designed to reduce tallit slipping.