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When it comes to choosing a zipper for your tent, there are two main kinds: a topstitch zipper and a tensioned zipper. Topstitch zippers are found on most canvas products, while tensioned zippers are usually found on nylon products.

Zippers usually consists of two parts: a slider and a handle. The slider is what you pull down to close the zipper. The handle is attached to the slider and holds it closed.

How To Fix A Tent Zipper

The slider itself is actually just a piece of metal that slides along the length of the zipper tape. When you pull the slider down, it pushes the teeth apart, allowing them to slide past each other. 

As long as there is enough tension on the zipper, the teeth will stay locked together. If you stop pulling the slider, the teeth will lock back together again.Coil zippers are the most flexible, durable, and easy to use type of zipper. Coil zippers are made of metal wire that coils around its own axis when pulled apart.

These zippers are available in different sizes, and you should consider the length of your tent and the number of entrances before choosing them. Coil zippers are great for tents that have curved entrance ways because they can easily be adjusted to fit any shape.

If you plan on using your tent often, then you should go with a heavier weight coil zipper.

Vislon zippers are also excellent and are ideal for large projects and long lasting tents. They are made out of plastic and are extremely strong. You will need to adjust the length of the zipper after installation. Vislon zippers are not recommended for small tents or those that are going to be used frequently.

Although zippers are designed to be strong and long lasting occasionally they do break and it’s useful to know how to fix them escpaially if you are in the great outdoors camping and need some security at night. 

Thankfully a broken tent zipper isn’t the end of your camping trip. You just need to know what to do if you encounter a problem. Let’s look at a few ways to fix a broken zipper 

Step 1 

Before making moves to to fix or replace double check that it is actually broken. If your tent zipper doesn’t seem to move at all, you may need to examine the zipper itself. Check to see if any fabric is caught in the teeth. You should also try spraying some lubricant onto a Q-tip or piece of cloth.

Use the lubricant to run it along the length of the zip line. Try to get some inside the zipper pull, making sure not to apply too much lubricant. Once you’ve done this, try moving the zipper to see if it works. Sometimes this can be enough to solve the problem. 



If it’s clear the zipper is stuck you can try using pliers or vice grips to attempt to repair the zipper. It is always a smart idea to pack extra hardware when  you go camping  if there is ever an emergency, including an unexpected broken zipper.

A good tool is neither big nor heavy, and can easily fit in a backpack or glove box, ready to grab in the event of an unexpected emergency. If a tent‘s zipper slider gets too dirty, it could become physically warped. That is when you might need to resort to hand tools.

Locate your zipper’s slider at the top of the zipper. Place the slider between the plier’s handles. If the plier’ s handle is facing you, then the slider must face away from you. You may need to slide the slider down the zipper until it stops.

Then, gently push the two ends of the slider towards each other. You may also hear a click when the slider meets its stop. Once the slider is properly positioned, you can close the zipper. If you have squeezed the slider too hard, you can try using a flat-head screwdriver to push the slider back out.

You might need to go slowly at first, then speed up once you see the slider starting to move again. Be careful not to damage any parts of the slider while trying to fix it.


If your tent zipper is actually broken and not just stuck you may need to replace it. This may be a job for when you retune form your trip. 

You will need to remove the old slider first. If the zipper is made of plastic, you should try to keep the plastic intact while removing the old slider. If the zipper is metal, you should cut the old slider away.

Next, you will need to get a replacement slider. Make sure to get the correct size for your tent. Once you have the slider, you can install it back into place. Then you can sew the zipper together again.

Removing zippers from tents is easy with th right tolls but what of yuo don’t have one handy? Well,  before you start ripping your tent apart, check to see if there is a makeshift tool that can help you. For example, you could try using an old toothbrush to get the job done.

Or you could just use your fingers. That may be your only option if you are on atrip. Once the zipper is unzipped, slide the slider back down the track until it stops at the lowermost point. If there is a stopper preventing the slider to go further, gently pry it off. Move the slider down the zipper track until it comes off.

Next, grab your needle and thread and sew a new zipper there. You don’t need to be an expert seamstress for this part either. Just a basic knowledge of sewing will be enough.

Tooth replacement 

Tooth replacement 

It may be that you need to replace the teeth if they’re missing.

Replacing a tooth on a zipper is easy using your zip tool. Simply remove the old tooth from the kit and replace it onto the zipper. Your new tooth should fit perfectly.

To ensure that your new tooth stays put, grab your sewing needle and thread and sew the tooth in place. You can also use a small amount of silicone sealant to help keep your tooth in place. 

In summary 

A broken zipper isn’t the end of the world. With the right preparation and toolkit you can fix your tent zipper in no time. Happy camping ! 

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