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zips for camping


  • zippers are a common component of your camping trip that is at risk of failure
  • the quality of materials used for teeth, tape, sliders, and UV treatment, can determine rate of wear and breakdown
  • many prefer zippers manufactured by YKK as these have a reputation for quality and reliability

Look after your zippers

  • never force zips, if fabric gets caught, gently work it out
  • lubricate the full length of the zip regularly but don't use oil-based lubricants and as lubricant attracts dirt, wipe it clean afterwards
  • clean the zips regularly to remove sand, dirt or dust
    • shake after use
    • wipe down with cloth
    • use a toothbrush
  • keep zips closed when erecting tents

Troubleshooting and repairing

zip keeps coming apart

  • the problem is most likely the slider and not the track
  • repair the slider
    • often this occurs because the slider has become too wide
    • this can be fixed by using pliers to squeeze the slider a bit to return it to its proper width
  • replacing the slider
    • remove the stitching or the bottom stop at the bottom of the zipper which is acting as a bottom stop
    • pull the slider off the track
    • slide on a new slider onto the track - the nose or pointed part of the slider needs to go on first
    • pull up the slider until you can see 2-3 inches of locked zipper
    • re-sew the bottom stop with 15-20 stitches using a needle and thread

zip gets stuck at a certain point

  • first make sure there is no material caught in the slider
    • if so gently remove, you may need soap to help and perhaps a needle
    • sometimes you will need to cut the material to get it out
  • otherwise the problem is most likely the track and not the slider
    • damaged teeth generally mean you need a new zip
    • sometimes use of lubricant such as graphite from a pencil, candle wax or WD40 silicone may help

broken slider pull

  • try using a cable tie inserted into the slider in place of the pull
  • some chunky zips have a lock device and replacing the pull with string may allow it to be unlocked

Types of zippers

coil vs chunky

  • coil zips consists of continuous spiral of nylon sewn onto both tape sides of the zip and require a coil type slider
    • these are great for curving zips such as for D doors of tents
    • main drawback is that they can easily kink or bunch up on itself resulting in stuck zippers that refuse to open or close.
  • chunky or tooth zips consists of individual teeth that are moulded onto the zip tape and require a chunky type slider
    • these need to be in a straight line and are great for attaching annexes
    • while very tough, tooth zippers can be rendered useless if the individual pieces of the teeth gets dislodged or broken

continuous or open end zips

  • continuous zips come in 100m rolls and need to be cut to length and one or both ends closed by stitching or a bottom stop
  • open end zips are two separate components and are designed for attaching annex and jackets

zip sizes for camping

  • #5 small - used in lightweight tents
  • #8 medium - used in medium weight tents and backpacks
  • #10 large - used in heavy weight tents, luggage, etc

zip slider types

  • double pull sliders are the most common for sleeping bags and tent doors
  • single pull sliders are those for trousers, etc
australia/camping_zips.txt · Last modified: 2022/11/20 12:46 by gary1

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