Last Updated on January 20, 2023
An instant tent is one of the most popular choices of shelter while going out on a camping trip. There are other methods of shelter as well, but bringing a tent is the most convenient. However, an annoying problem a tent user has to deal with is the tent zipper.
If you have ever owned a tent, chances are it has already broken at least once. If this is true, you may be able to fix it yourself, which will save you a lot of money.
Types of Zipper
Before rolling up your sleeves and getting busy fixing your tent zippers, it’s useful to get some knowledge about zippers themselves. There are usually three types of zippers, which are Coiled zipper, stamped plastic, and stamped metal.
- Coiled zippers are mainstream lightweight zippers. The teeth of these zippers are made of coiled nylon or polyester. The way it is built is very flexible thus it is best for curved tapes used in tents. They wear slowly over time as well.
- Molded plastic zippers are zippers where the teeth are molded directly on the zipper tape. The materials used in these types of zippers are cheap so they are the less expensive option. Most of the time If one of the teeth gets broken then the whole zipper is beyond repair.
- Metal zippers have metal teeth pinched onto the zipper tape. These types of zippers are the most durable but on the flip side, they are not very flexible.
How to Fix Tent Zipper
There are a number of things that can happen to your zippers, like separation breaking or jamming. The main culprit of most of these issues is usually the slider. So you should check it first then see if there’s any dirt stuck in it, and ensure that your tent is lubricated enough. Here’s how to fix some of the most common zippers problems.
Fixing a stuck zipper
A zipper can be stuck in many ways. Debris or a sizable chunk of dirt can cause it to jam. Pulling the slider rashly and carelessly in a jammed zipper can cause the teeth to bend. Thus, the zipper will be stuck at the position of bent teeth.
To fix a stuck zipper
- Use soap and water to clean out the dirt. Remove the soap and try to pull the slider back and forth. It should move smoothly now.
- If the teeth are bent then use pliers or tweezers to fix the teeth. The zipper will be able to open and close effortlessly once you straighten the teeth.
Repair split zipper slider
Sometimes while pulling the slider, you might apply more pressure than necessary, which causes the teeth to separate. Specks of dirt can also separate the teeth.
- If the separation is caused by dirt or any other sediment, then remove it with water. Use a rag to remove the soap afterward.
- Pull the slider all the way to the end. Take a scissor and snip the separated part of the zipper, just in front of the slider. Make the cut a few centimeters deep, reaching the zipper tape. Insert the slider through it and your zipper can go up and down.
- Take a needle and a thread, and stitch the part where you have split the zipper. Resew the stopper seam carefully where the track meets the tent fabric. This keeps the slider from coming off the track.
Fixing a separated zipper
Sometimes zippers can come undone or separate after zipping them. It’s one of the most common problems with dated tents. The main offender of this issue is the slider. As the top body and the bottom part of the slider gets a considerable gap between them, it fails to connect the zipper properly.
- To fix this matter, you’ll need a plier. Gently Squeeze the bottom part of the slider with the plier and hold this position for a few seconds. Move the slider back and forth to see if the zipper is working properly.
- Repeat the process if the zipper still isn’t connecting. Apply more pressure this time.
Some useful tips and tricks regarding tent zippers
- Use a zip-tie or paper clip as a temporary fix for the broken pull tab.
- Don’t force the sliders if they are stuck, try to work it out gently instead.
- Keep the zipper free from dirt and lubricate it regularly.
- Always take a tent repair toolkit with you whenever you go out camping.
Video: Tent Zipper repair