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Tent Zippers

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Tent Zippers

Postby bluefintu » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:16 pm

My wife bought a tent at Costco 16-17 years ago. Its a Northern Design, I think, but this tent has been through a lot of bad weather, snow, rain,heat, hail, wind, lots of wind, etc... My problem is the front door zipper, it splits when I try to close it. I don't want to get rid of this tent, the rain fly goes all the way to the ground and can handle some major wind. I did buy another tent for my Labor Day trip, but that tent is 14 x 10" and I don't think it will last very long. I want to save my old tent, is it possible? I have duck tape and maybe some velcro that I can improvise for a simple fix for each trip, but I'd like to see that tent as almost new. Any hiking seamstress here?
Don



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Re: Tent Zippers

Postby rlown » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:27 pm

you can try a slight crimp on the zipper unit. If that doesn't work, a seamstress person can put new zippers back on your tent. If you like the tent, that's the way to go. Markskor recently did some work on his zippers in Mammoth.. sounded like a great deal.
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Re: Tent Zippers

Postby markskor » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:55 pm

Interesting topic...
Yes recently, both of the sliders on my TT Rainbow (bug mesh) zipper crapped out, (after only ~300 nights of use too).
The cause was blowing dirt (very fine sand) that accumulated in the teeth...sliders expanded with use...and they quit working. (The trick is to keep the teeth clean proactively - occasional washing out with water only - use nothing else ever - a damp drippy towel works.) I subsequently paid a seamstress (search Mammoth Seamstress thread here for her phone #) to then adjust/close up the sliders using needle-nose pliers. She said to slide the slider to the top (all open position) and then she pinched/squared off the back ends carefully. This fix worked OK for a while, (should have washed out the teeth better before...) until I tried to adjust them myself in the field and I guess I bent them a skosh too much...sigh... thought I would have to buy another tent.

Discovered there are standard YYK zipper sizes...unfortunately my seamstress had all sizes except the one I needed. Anyway, I wrote Henry and he sent me two new sliders. This time cleaning the tent teeth well first -(a tent bath in the tub) and then paid the same local Mammoth seamstress to put the new sliders in - $5.
Good as new.

Turns out putting in new sliders is a POC and no big deal...easy fix.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Tent Zippers

Postby bluefintu » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:15 pm

Wow !!! Thanks for the information you guys! I was just thinking it was only the zipper part, not the zipper seams. I will experiment this weekend with my old tent. Hope it works out. Will let you know.
Don
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Re: Tent Zippers

Postby Herm » Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:41 am

I have had the same problem, and found an easy fix online (I think there was a tutorial I found on the REI website - and others as well). Basically, it is all about slightly tightening the zipper pull mechanism, using needle nose pliers, so that the pull better pinches the teeth. Best done at home, but can be done in the field as well with the right tool. And keep those zipper teeth clean.
Here is a YouTube video link, where the guy uses a vice grip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... a-khV4nudc
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Re: Tent Zippers

Postby bluefintu » Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:46 pm

Thanks you guys and Herm for the video. As soon as I got home I went straight for my tent and fixed it, sure wish I knew about a simple fix before I bought a new tent. I guess I'll let the Scouts use my new 10 man tent with a doggy door and I'll take my old 6-8 man.
Don
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Re: Tent Zippers

Postby fishmonger » Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:43 am

this is really useful stuff - I have had zippers with that exact problem in the past. Too bad I never carry a tool along that would allow me to field repair this, but maybe one can improvise with a few rocks. got all new tents right now, so I hope not to need to try this anytime soon :D
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Re: Tent Zippers

Postby Herm » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:39 pm

Isn't it cool how easy the fix is? I got our car camping tent back in order using the linked video. I hope more packers/hikers/people find the link useful.
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