ESSENTIAL SKILLS

Tent Zipper Repair: How to Fix Your Broken Tent Zipper

a tent zipper repair
John C. Porter
Written by John C. Porter

You may have a tent with a zipper that just does not cooperate. So you yank on it, restless, and after that what happens? The tent’s slider gets full scale of whack, and eventually, the zipper just quits zipping.

You could return it to the producer for a substitution, but that will definitely cost you some dollars in transportation, and also a repair expense of the organization, and above all, you will be without your camping tent for some while.

a man checking tent zipper

A better solution? Carry out the tent zipper repair yourself.

It is usually the nightmare of most campers: you are moving in for the nighttime in a billow of mosquitoes, and just as you are wildly trying to shut the tent, the zippers on the entryway come up short. The dreams streak before your eyes, while you’re tormented by parasitic bugs the entire night.

So, before trying to sleep in such a tent, you need to fix the zippers properly. In this article, we have made ready some essential information you need, to effectively and efficiently fix your broken tent zipper and the proper ways you need to maintain and prevent the zipper from failing again.

Reasons for Failure of Zippers

The zipper is generally referred to as the parallel lines of metal, nylon or plastic teeth. The zipper is bolted together by means of a sliding metal tab commonly referred as a slider. At the point when your tent entryways fail to close, it is likely due to the fact that the slider has already been worn out by dirt and sand and cannot in any way close down the zipper’s teeth.

You can avoid this occurrence to a specific length by giving your zipper a regular cleaning.Everybody fears the possibility of shutting the zipper on their camping tent, just to have it disjoined behind the slider and expand back open. In a violent rainstorm or substantial mosquito plagued region, this can possibly make life miserable.

broken tent zipper

Luckily, there are a few things you can do to repair this in the camp field. More often than not, the coil or zipper teeth are fine, and you only need to replace the zipper slider. Then again, if the teeth, or coil, pull out of the woven tape, then you need to replace the whole zipper.

The reason for zipper failure happens because people tend to take a hold of the zipper slider tab and draw far from the fabric of the tent – this can make it less demanding to utilize the zipper with only a hand, but puts weight on the two parts of the zipper slider tab forcing them to disjoin.

Only a minor piece of spread amongst the two parts of the slider can cause the teeth of the zipper to not lock in. These things will bring about the failure of any size zipper. A bigger size zipper will fail, similarly as fast as a smaller one. But, unless the zipper slider is made with metal, the metal utilized is fairly soft and abuse of usage will definitely destroy the biggest one as fast as the littlest.

How to Fix a Broken Tent Zipper?

Which section of the zip is damaged will let you know how you can fix it. In the event that the teeth are damaged in any way, then it is better you just replace the entire zip, which isn’t a thing to be suggested doing mid outdoors trip. If the teeth are quite recently misaligned, then running the slider here and there a couple times will definitely fix this more often than not.

the teeths of a zipper

If it is the slider that had been broken, then you might have the capacity to repair that yourself. This section of the article will show you how to go about doing it. If the zipper slider is stuck, then you might have the capacity to slacken it utilizing some WD-40, but you need to be very watchful not to get any of it on the flysheet of your tent.

You can find out more on our article how to fix any broken zippers to save on money.

First Aid Treatment for Tent Zippers

At the point when the zipper had already been damaged, you can begin the fixing by attempting ‘first aid treatment’ for your zipper by softly crushing the jaws of the sliders unitedly a little bit so as to enhance better closing of the teeth. In case of emergency, the first attempt is to crease the back end of the zipper slider with a pair of pliers.

Somebody around will likely have a multi instrument with a pair of pliers on it in case you do not have. It just takes a minor bit of creasing, excessively, and you will bolt the slider and not have the capacity to move it at any length. This is a brief repair at the most, and the slider needs to be replaced at the earliest opportunity.

Repairing Zipper Slider

If that does not work well for you, the next attempt is to replace the tent’s sliders. Fear not. It is a simple task, particularly if you were sufficiently insightful to get some extra sliders in the correct size before you left. In the next section, we are going to show you how you can properly replace the slider.

Replacing the Slider

While not the most effortless thing to do, it is absolutely conceivable to replace the slider in the mid of your camping trail. You should have some approach to clip the threads and evacuate a portion of the stitching that is on the zipper.

You will likewise require a needle and thread to shut it, and obviously, you need to get the correct size substitution slider. Zippers arrives in various sizes. Sliders are not generally compatible among zipper brands, so unless you already have a YKK slider model, don’t make use of it with a YKK zipper.

How to Replace a Zipper Slider

However, the first approach in removing the slider is to take off the one that was already there. To do this, you need to take it off from the tape end, at the back/flat end of the slider. When you remove the slider from the tape, the zipper teeth will be disjoined. You will then be inserting the new slider on front/round end first. While it is highly conceivable to put a zipper slider on from the flip side, it is to a great degree complex and the teeth should be locked in before doing this.

Therefore, when, supplanting the new zipper sliders on an entryway that has two main zipper sliders, you should work from both door ends so as to successfully replace the zipper sliders. And for the tent fly, you will be replacing it from the extreme top end, not the base stitch of the tent’s fabric.

Grab a set of small pliers or needle nose pliers and gently squeeze the slider back together.

Replacing the zipper sliders can be somewhat frustrating since you will need to get both tape sides in the front/round end of the slider. Ensure that the teeth are facing the removed slider groove You will likewise need to evacuate the textile patch covering the zipper end. It has bunches of fastens in it – slice through the textile if important, you won’t replace it. Take it totally off and discard it.

Ensure that you can disjoin the teeth to the end so as to insure that you have taken off all the stitch lines crossing the teeth. Attempt to clip as few lines as important to remove it. Now, pull off the slider from the tape. You need to be careful because it can be stranded on the opposite side as there is only a small opening for the zipper slider tab to pass through.

Right Selection of Tent Zippers

When it comes to selecting zippers for camping tents, quality can’t be compromised. Just imagine you tucking in to spend the night after an extremely blustery day of outdoors, only to find out that the tent zipper stops closing, and its teeth have also come loose. Without a good repair kit and substitution zipper available, the campers will definitely be in for an intensely wet, icy, and blustery night.

There are two main kinds of zippers often utilized in camping tents and any other canvas things.

Coil Zip

This is the first type of tent zipper and is also regarded as ‘spiral zip’, this kind of zipper has a continuous material coil, running through both zip sides. Its principle feature is its adaptability. It can be utilized on curved tent entryways and bags/suitcases with curved openings. Nonetheless, its primary downside, is that it can wrinkle or pack up on itself, easily, therefore, resulting into adhered zippers that refuse to close or open.

zipped up the tent to join the zips together

Tooth Zip

This is another kind of zipper, and is otherwise regarded to as the Chunky or Vislon zip. The name “Vislon” originates from the corrosive and water-proof Vislon plastic that this zipper kind is generally made of. It is likewise known as the “tooth zip” in view of the way that the zipper teeth is formed straightforwardly on the tape. While extremely tough, this kind of zipper can be rendered futile if each of the teeth pieces gets broken or dislodged.

Huge, Grabby Zipper Teeth

Both coil and tooth zippers arrive in open-ended and continuous structures. Continuous zips cannot be opened on one or both ends and they always come in protracted pieces that can be reformed to size, and while open-ended zips are the inverse and arrive in a scope of set, pre-decided lengths.

The teeth thickness and width, vary from one maker to another. It is best to check very well if the size is the right one for the tent. Choose coil zippers if a camp tent has curved tent entryways, and choose Vislon ones if durability is the primary need. In addition, pick heavy weight zippers for huge undertakings and continuous use.

Check out our other topic on how to do repair work for sleeping bags zipper, which is very useful when you’re out camping.

Ways to Extend the Life of Your Tent’s Zippers

The best quality apparatus is surely an investment. You are paying more for better materials and development. You anticipate that your gear will last more. Makers endeavor to manufacture the best items. They make use of quality materials and equipment. They put resources into better development.

Indeed, even the best parts will wear out if not appropriately maintained. Periodic, minimal maintenance will augment the life of your gear.

You would not purchase a car then disregard to wash it or replace the oil, so zippers are a typical fizzle point on backpacks. Indeed, even YKK zippers, viewed as the best brand will definitely benefit from good upkeep. When appropriately maintained, zippers can outlive rucksacks. Here in this section, we will talk about how to properly maintain your tent zippers so as to extend its lifespan.

Try not to Force It

The first approach to proper zipper maintenance and care is to not exhaust them. Over stuffing your tent can put weight on the zippers, particularly when shutting the tent. Try not to utilize the zipper to apply force. Do not apply force to a stuck zipper.

Rather, hold the track of the zipper with one hand and tenderly back up the slider, squirming it from one side to the other till the stuck textile is completely free.

In the event that the zipper split off, back it up gently again until it re-locks in. In the event that it keeps on splitting, take pliers and gently press the slider to give it a marginally tighter hold on the track of the zipper. Be mindful so as not to over tighten and stick the slider.

tent zip composite

A similar rationale applies when the material gets trapped in the zipper. Try not to apply force to it. Back out the zipper from the obstacle if possible. Make use of your hands to haul out the obstacle.

At that point, try the zipper once more. Never drive the zipper past an obstacle. You will just exacerbate the issue. Diminish the force applied on your zipper by drawing from the metal tab for pulling, not from any fabric loops or pullers.

Silent zippers that have no metal draw tabs is worse compared to zippers with metal draw tabs. Continually utilizing impeccable form while zipping and unfastening your tent isn’t down to earth. Just keep in mind that the gentler you are when using the zippers, the more they will last.

Clean Your Zippers

Getting grit and dirt trapped between zipper teeth is a typical issue that will definitely reduce a zipper’s life expectancy. This issue is very common in dusty surroundings. Keeping your tent zippers clean is simple and requires small work. Dirty zippers are quite popular in the outdoors industry because they are usually left on the floor and get matched on by grimy shoes.

You should clean your tent zippers with soap and water. You can hand-wash your tent and its zippers by means of a washcloth. Make sure you wash the zipper by applying more force at any headstrong, messy spots. Ensure that you evacuate anything build up into the teeth, or impeding the free movement of the zipper. Dry your tent and zippers properly after washing.

how dirty tent coil gets

Always remember to brush off grit and dirt before storing. When absolutely necessary, a moist cloth will work for cleaning dirt and dust out of a tent zipper, which will definitely diminish wear on the teeth of the zipper; simply make sure everything is already dried before packing it up.

Additionally, make sure you clean your tent zippers subsequent to being close to the sea. Salt can be destructive to zippers. Rinse the zippers with fresh and cool water after too much exposure to ocean air or to sea air. A fast rinse and dry will help to avoid long-term damage from the salty water or air.

Lubricate Your Zippers

And finally, to enhance the lifespan of your zipper you need to constantly apply lubricant to it. Go through the extra length by applying a dry grease to zipper post ends and tracks.

Get one made primarily for outdoor gears. Campers who advocate utilizing wax neglect the fact that dirt can get stuck to it and scented waxes draw in bugs and even wildlife.

Greasing up your tent zippers can be a useful safeguard measure and next stride. By greasing up the zippers, you will surely keep them up and running. Make sure you always take time to clean the zipper before putting any lubricant. You would prefer not to trap dirt in the tent zipper.

Zipper Cleaner & Lubricant

It is possible that you might have found a lot of various recommendations on what to make use of for lubricant. You can make use of paraffin wax, pastels or powdered graphite. You can likewise make use of beeswax softened with heat gun or hairdryer to make it simpler to apply. Some campers also make use of Teflon-Silicone Lubricant. These lubricants should easily handle your tent zipper.

Concluding Thoughts on the Topic

We believe you now have a deeper understanding of how to fix a tent zipper when broken. Make sure you are always ready because you never know the day when disaster could occur and you may need to fix your tent zipper. Always take along the necessary tools with you on your outdoor trip, so you that can fix every damage and remain dry and warm.

Mesh tent zipper

Nonetheless, if your tent truly is unrecoverable and you are in need of another one, then you can check out various tent brands on the market and get the one that you like. There are significantly more zipper tips and repair products at local and online buying stores including new zipper sliders. Do not abandon those old zippers.

Make sure to read our article on the best essential gear for hiking – it’s awesome!

And also, always keep in mind that the yearly zipper day is fixed on April 29th.Do you have any tips or suggestions on the tent zipper fixing and maintenance? You can let us know by leaving us a comment in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John C. Porter
John C. Porter

John is passionate about hiking long distances. His record is over 65 miles in one day with backpacking gear. John hiked over 10 thousand miles, tried over 100 hiking shoes and visited 56 countries so far. His favourite hiking route is West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

  • Frederik Marner

    Finally someone brings up this issue! My tent zippers always get stuck. Now I know how to properly fix them! But some of my tents are already damaged from forcefully pulling the zippers down. Any way to fix this?

  • John C. Porter

    Hello, and thanks for asking! You can actually buy zipper repair kits for tents that will fix your problem right up! However, if you are in a pinch while in the great outdoors, you can use tape to seal the tent until you can get it repaired once back to civilization.

  • Fabienne Robert

    You have mentioned there are two tips of main zippers which are “Coil zip” and “Tooth zip”. With my experience I feel like for the things like tents the “Tooth zip” will be more suitable. I would like to know if anyone can give me a advise on finding which one is the best?

    • John C. Porter

      This is really down to personal preference. Standard zippers are tooth zip, so if you are used to that, go with it.

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