Malfunctions and issues with zippers are common problems that most campers experience at least once in their lives. Regardless of the quality of your tent and how much you take care of it, some sort of flaw or glitch is bound to happen eventually. In today’s article, we will discuss how to fix a camping tent zipper and share some tricks and tips that you might find handy.
A faulty zipper might not seem like something terrible, but sadly it means that you will likely have to pack and go home early, especially if you are camping in harsh weather conditions. Tent zippers are small and light, but they are crucial for your tent since they hold the mesh and fabric together, granting you cozy shelter. Luckily, if it malfunctions, there are quick fixes that you can do in a matter of minutes.
Ways of Fixing Faulty Camping Tent Zipper
There are various issues that can happen with zippers, such as separation, breaking, or jamming. Each of these problems can be fixed in different ways, with or without a repair kit. We are going to explain to you how to fix zippers using both methods.
Fixing a Camping Tent Zipper Without a Repair Kit
There are several situations in which you can fix your camping tent zipper without the use of any tools or repair kit. However, you will require pliers and zip ties, as they are the most critical pieces of gear for zipper repair. Here are the situations in which you can fix the zipper without the kit.
1. Separated Zipper
To resolve this issue, unzip the zipper so that the slider can sit at one of two ends. Afterward, just apply some pressure on the slider to tighten it up, but do so gently, as too much pressure may break it. You will need to put the pliers parallel to the slider track and press both sides of the track to fix the zipper effectively.
2. Zipper Is Stuck in the Fabric
A stuck zipper is one of the most common and most annoying issues you will encounter with camping tents. Luckily, this one is fairly simple to address and will not take much of your time. The first step is to check how much fabric got stuck in the zipper. When you determine it, push the zipper in a direction where the least amount of fabric is stuck.
Pull the fabric on the opposite side simultaneously to slowly get it out of the zipper. This is something that often happens with zippers on budget tents, and the trick is to be very gentle and not use more force than is required.
3. Slider is Lagging
In order to resolve this issue, you are required to smooth out the slider with some smooth material. An ideal candidate for this job is a graphite pencil. Just rub both sides of the zipper with the graphite pencil until you smooth out the surface, and you should be good to go.
4. Slider Pull May Be Broken
When this type of issue happens, you will not be able to move the slider at all. To fix this problem, you will require a zip tie. You just need to place the pointy end of a zip tie through the slider’s eye and pull it slowly until it grips the slider tightly.
Fixing a Camping Tent Zipper With a Repair Kit
There are certain types of camping tent zipper issues you simply cannot address without tools or a repair kit. These repair kits usually have various tools, including different sizes of sliders, thread, needles, glue, seam rippers, and brand-new zippers. Here are some of the common issues that may require a repair kit to resolve.
1. Replacing a Broken Slider
Sometimes the tent zipper is beyond any easy fix and requires replacement. For this process, you will need pliers, a replacement slider, zipper stoppers, thread, and a needle. Before you replace a broken slider, you need to relocate the old slider to the zipper’s bottom.
This is a fairly simple process; first, use pliers to remove the track end stopper, slide the slider off the track, and put a new slider in place of the damaged one. Ensure that the replacement slider is the same size as your broken one, and before you fully insert it, check if its nose faces the front.
Once you have completed these steps, check if your new slider is attached adequately by closing it halfway. Afterward, you only need to add the stopper at the end of the track. You can do so by stitching it with thread and needle slowly and carefully to avoid excess threads.
2. Replacing a Broken Zipper
Addressing this issue is fairly straightforward, as it requires you only to remove the malfunctioning zipper and stitch the new one back. For this process, you will require only a seam ripper, thread, and needle.
The way you should approach this is by removing the old zipper using a seam ripper. Afterward, stitch the new zipper in the same location with thread and needle. Same as was the case with a slider, you need to make sure that the new zipper is exactly the same dimensions as the old one.
When going through the whole replacement process, make sure that there is no excess thread crossing the line of the slider because the zipper may get stuck if you fail to do so.
How to Prevent a Camping Zipper From Getting Broken in the First Place?
Although you cannot completely avoid issues with camping tent zippers, there are ways to regularly maintain them to prevent various inconveniences on your camping trips. Here are several ways you can maintain the zipper properly and prolong its lifespan.
1. Regularly Clean the Tent Zipper
Zippers on camping tents often catch a lot of dirt and dust, which can get stuck inside and cause you a lot of headaches. Luckily, there is a simple way to avoid all of that by cleaning your zipper on a regular basis. The best way to do so is using a toothbrush and scrubbing the zipper teeth with it, which will effectively get rid of the dirt.
2. Do Not Force the Zipper
Whenever your zipper gets stuck, never try to resolve the issue by forcing it through. You will just risk breaking it completely and getting yourself into a costly problem. Moreover, if your zipper completely breaks and you do not have a replacement on your camping trip, you might be forced to pack much earlier than you anticipated. If the zipper gets stuck, pull it gently.
3. Do Not Pull the Zipper Swiftly
In order to prolong the life of your zipper even further, you should avoid pulling it too swiftly. This is something that may result in a stuck zipper which can lead to other issues that can damage it. Always pull gently!
4. Lubricate a Camping Tent Zipper Properly
In order to reduce the wear and tear on your camping tent zipper, you should lubricate it every once in a while. You should do it every few months to keep the zipper in the best possible shape. As we already mentioned, you can also use a graphite pencil on the zipper teeth instead of a regular lubricant.
5. Stake the Tent Appropriately
When you stake your tent, make sure that it is staked correctly, not too tightly, as you might have difficulties moving the zipper if the whole construction is staked tight.
One of the most important things you need to do to avoid issues with the zipper is to buy a quality camping tent. Low-quality tents often have loose pieces of cloth and get trapped in the zipper’s teeth, which can cause a wide variety of issues.
However, if some of the annoying issues with the zippers do happen, there are plenty of easy fixes, with and without repair kits. We hope you enjoyed our article and that you found sufficient information to fix any inconvenient issue you might encounter. Keep maintaining your zippers regularly, and you will certainly prolong their life.
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