Camping tent zipper problems can be very annoying and frustrating, but can most likely be solved easily through proper care.
How To Fix Tent Zipper?
– Nothing is more frustrating than waking up at 2:00 am and having to get out of your warm sleeping bag to fix a zipper on your canvas tent. Open the two halves of the zipper pull apart from one another just enough so that you can slip a finger into the opening.
– Take a thin string about 10 feet in length and pull it into the tent through the zipper.
– Now thread one end of the string into each half of the zipper and tie a knot so that it holds tightly to both halves. You will now have a loop passing between both halves of the zipper as well as a loose loop extending from each side.
– The two loops will allow you to pull up on one side while you are pushing down on the other to zip your tent back up.
– Take the loose end of the string that is at each side and tie it in a knot, making sure you leave enough loose so that both sides will be able to pull through easily when you are ready for bed.
– Take the looped end of string and tie it to something stationary, such as a nearby branch or large rock.
– Now slide the two halves of the zipper back together and pass each half through its corresponding loop before tying it in a knot. This will ensure that your tent stays zipped up even when you’re not around.
– You may have to repeat this process a few times throughout your trip, but at least you won’t be getting out of your warm sleeping bag multiple nights in a row.
Following are the types of zippers:
Coil – These zippers have a very smooth action and they are the most popular choice. They come in many sizes and colors, and can be found in most department stores.
Nylon coil – This type is great for heavy duty outdoor gear, such as tents.
Plastic molded – These zippers are a good choice for a more durable nylon zipper. They have teeth on both sides so they can be opened from either side of the zipper, and they will easily last an entire camping trip.
Coil plastic tooth – This type is very similar to the plastic molded zipper except that instead of having two different colors, the teeth and zipper tape are all one color.
Separating coil – Also called “invisible zippers” these work well for projects where you want to avoid seeing the zipper. They are great for jackets, sleeping bags, tent seams, and other clothing or gear where you don’t want to see a visible zipper.
Coil – The traditional zipper tape. Great for outdoor gear, not recommended for clothing.
Nylon coil – A very durable material perfect for outdoor gear, yet flexible enough to be used in smaller zippers (from size #3-5). It is also good for jackets and sleeping bags.
Plastic molded – Very durable and weatherproof, great for outdoor gear. It is also commonly used in rainwear and other items where it will be exposed to the elements.
Vinyl – A cheaper alternative that can be easily found at your local fabric store. Can also be used with a separating zipper when you want to avoid seeing the zipper on the garment.
Plastic tooth – A good alternative to nylon coil, especially when you are concerned that metal may damage your outdoor gear. It is also very durable and weatherproof, great for rainwear or other items exposed to the elements of nature.
Tips For Fixing A Broken Zipper
– Replace the zipper entirely.
– Unzip the jacket and sew a new zipper in its place. Be sure to use matching thread or you could end up with an unsightly mess!
– When replacing the zipper on your sleeping bag, put it vertically rather than horizontally because it will be less bulky.
– Sew loops along both sides of your sleeping bag and attach a small safety pin to each loop. When it’s time for bed, you can simply slip the safety pin through both loops so that you don’t have to unzip the bag completely in order to get in and out of it.
To keep your zippers in top shape:
– Rinse out any dirt or sand that might have collected inside the zipper. You can use a toothbrush to scrub the teeth clean.
– Lubricate all metal zippers twice a year to keep them working their best. Be sure not to use oil because it will attract dirt and make your zippers sticky, but rather use a wax designed for lubricating zippers.
– Clean your nylon coil zippers once a year by scrubbing them with bleach. Rinse the zippers thoroughly so that there is no trace of bleach when you are finished.
Fixing a stuck zipper
– If the zipper teeth are misaligned, hold the two halves of the zipper together and move them up or down until you can easily slide the pull along between both rows. Now that they’re lined up properly, slip one side of the zipper over the slider. Then take an object with a dull edge (such as a butter knife) and place it between the zipper teeth. Holding the object in place, pull the slider down.
– If your zipper pull came off completely, you can fix it by attaching a key ring to one half of the zipper. Thread the other end onto your replacement zipper pull and you’re good to go!
Fixing a broken zipper
If your zipper is broken, you may be able to fix it using supplies from around the house. When zippers are broken, they may also get stuck or not stay closed.
– A zipper slider fell off? Take a key ring or split key ring and attach it to the bottom of the pull. Thread the other end onto your replacement zipper pull and you’re good to go!
– If you also need new zipper sliders, buy them in bulk online so that they are always available when you need them.
– Damaged bottom stops can be replaced with a key ring or split key ring. Just attach the replacement to your zipper, then thread the other end of your zipper pull onto it!
Fixing a separating zipper
If one side of your zipper has come loose from the tape, simply sew it back down.
– Locate the separation and pin both sides together. Using matching thread, sew along the length of your zipper using a basting stitch (long stitches that can easily be removed later).
– Continue sewing until you reach the end of the zipper, then remove all pins and test your zipper to make sure it’s still working properly.
– To make your stitching extra durable, sew a second line of stitches directly on top of the first. Be sure to remove all pins before trying your zipper again!
Tent Zipper Tips
– Always use very gentle soap or detergent when washing your tents. Avoid using heavy chemicals, harsh cleaners, and abrasive soaps as they can deteriorate the zipper as well as weaken or damage other components of your tent.
– If you find that your tent’s zipper is constantly getting stuck on the fabric’s coils, unzip the zipper completely and apply a liberal amount of lubricant to both sides of the coil. Allow the lubricant to set for an hour, then work the zipper up and down several times so that it can spread.
– If you are looking for replacement zippers because yours is no longer working or has torn, you will need to find ones that are compatible with your tent’s brand and model. Replacement zippers are available through most major retailers of camping equipment, or you can order one online for easy shipping.
– If you have a broken zipper on your tent fly (the outer covering), it is definitely time to replace the fly. Replacing a zipper is a much harder task. A new fly will come with a new zipper attached, and all you have to do is slip it on.
– Unless you live in an extremely dry climate, avoid storing your tent with the zippers open as this can cause them to seize up. Also be careful not to store your tent where water can drip down on it. Over time, water can cause the fabric to deteriorate and even rot away.
– If your tent zipper starts getting stuck but isn’t completely broken yet, use a doubled up garbage bag or rubber band to help zip the two halves together. This should give you enough leverage to get through until you can replace the zipper.
– If you are replacing old zippers with new ones, remember that the teeth should face downward so that they can hold things in place. If your zipper is facing upward, it will be next to impossible to get past the zipper’s bottom stop.