How To Fix A Tent Zipper

How To Fix A Tent Zipper — Quick And Effective Tips

Zippers have a tendency to fail at random moments. Since most tent doors employ zippers, it’s a whole lot of trouble if one fails during camping. I’m going to suggest some tried and tested tips to cajole a tent zipper into working again. Many of the tips on how to fix a tent zipper work for regular zippers as well, so this could be useful beyond its use in just tents.

Caring For Your Tent Zipper

Some care is better than tent zipper repair. I’m not suggesting that you bend over backward with tender loving care for the tent, but responsible use and maintenance goes a long way. 

Keep The Zipper Clean

Dirt, dust, and sand can find their way into the zipper. These things getting caught in the zipper teeth will eventually lead to problems. The easiest way out is to keep the zipper teeth clean. This can be done with the regular maintenance of the tent. It’s also a good place to start if you notice a problem.

Take an old toothbrush and run it along the teeth of the zipper, carefully cleaning it. This should get out any dirt or muck stuck in the teeth, and allow the zipper to work well again.

Don’t Force The Zipper

Finding a zipper that’s stuck, the instinct is to just force it through. That may work a few times, but the zipper is eventually going to fail. Go slow, and try to fix the problem as soon as you see it.

Good Zipper Movement

I’d suggest not aiming at the new record for how fast a zipper can be moved! Use a steady, deliberate movement to open and close the zipper.

Set The Stakes/Pegs Right

For many tents, placing the stakes too taut and tight can put undue pressure on the zipper. If the tent is staked too tightly, you’ll notice there is some trouble moving the door zipper.


Lubricating the zipper teeth is a good way to keep the zip in good health. Vaseline and similar materials are not good lubricants for a tent zipper. Instead, just rub a graphite pencil or use something like Windex Lubricant.

Tent Zipper Repair On The Fly

Most of the zipper problems generally have to do with the zipper slider. See if the zipper teeth are okay and clean, and try one of these fixes. 

Press Down On The Slider

Using pliers, gently press down on both sides of the slider. Remember, the operative word is gently. Tightening a zipper slider this way is a temporary fix, and you should look into replacing the slider at the first opportunity. This method works best with metallic sliders, and plastic sliders being rigid are unlikely to work as well. Still, a gentle press may save you a ton of work. 

Replace The Slider

Slightly more complicated than the previous idea, replacing the slider is still a convenient fix. You’ll need an end nipper tool, needle nose pliers, and of course, the replacement slider. Here are the steps to fix a tent zipper by replacing the slider:

  • Move the old slider to the bottom of the zipper.
  • Use the end nipper to pinch and grab the stopper securely.
  • Gently remove the stopper from the fabric, ensuring it is not damaged.
  • Remove the old slider.
  • Place the new slider on the zipper. You may need something like this zipper repair kit. Ensure that it has the same direction and orientation as the previous slider.
  • Place the new zipper stopper and gently press it into place using nose pliers.
  • Move the slider a few times to ensure the zipper is working as desired.

Quick Fix Replacement Of The Slider

It is possible that you may not have all the tools needed to replace the slider. In such instances, I prefer something like the FixnZip replacement slider. True to its name, this one is a quick fix and zip solution. It is not ideal, but it will do the job quick and easy. 

Simply place the new zipper where necessary, and tighten the nut. When you’re ready for full repairs, loosen the nut and the slider will be available. This is a stopgap arrangement for a zipper that separates and a fairly useful one at that.

Zipper Stuck In Fabric

If tent zipper is stuck in fabric, check the amount of fabric it has covered. Push the zipper in the direction where it will have to move over the least amount of fabric. At the same time, gently pull the fabric in the opposite direction; out of the zipper’s way.

Zipper Replacement

For more intensive problems, like where you need to replace the zipper, I’ll suggest using a tent zipper repair service. Working to replace a full tent zipper takes a lot of skill and knowledge of the tent fabric. It’s better to let the professionals handle these problems.

Some people prefer to get rid of the problem altogether and replace the tent zipper with velcro. I don’t think velcro is nearly as secure and easily managed as a zipper. And it doesn’t play that well with waterproofing. But hey, it is a viable solution. Again, I’d talk to a professional repair service before taking on such a project.

Tent Zipper Fixes And Convenience

Zippers fail. Knowing how to fix a tent zipper can save you from inconvenience while camping. At the very least, you won’t have to deal with the elements. I hope these simple tips can be useful in fixing zipper issues one may unexpectedly face during camping.