How to Fix a Tent Zipper
How To

How to Fix a Tent Zipper Step By Step

Camping and other overnight outdoor activity are not enjoyable without a tent. There are additional sleeping gears that you can carry or make, but the tent is the most convenient choice. Remember the tent is your only protection from wildlife surrounding you, and you need to be safe all night long without fear or worries. This is one reason why having a broken zipper on your tent is stress and a risk to your safety. When camping, it’s advisable to carry a zipper repair kit in case your tent zipper decodes to bulge and give up on you. The question here is, do you know how to fix a tent zipper?

Check out our previous review on the best camping tent here.

There are different ways you can use to repair a tent zipper, but this depends on the type of zipper and your skills to repair it. The skills required are just the capability to handle the tent zipper repair kit. Sometimes, the zipper might sneak up on you at the time you don’t have a zipper repair kit on you, but you don’t have to worry.  Different DIY methods will help you repair the zipper making sure it will last all through the trip. One way you can avoid having to fix your tent zipper all the time is to is by buying a high-quality tent from the start. The low-quality tents have lost clothing that might get stuck on the zipper damaging it.

How to Fix a Tent Zipper

Let’s take a look at how you can repair the tent zipper with and without a tent zipper kit.

How to Fix a Tent Zipper With a tent repair kit

How to Fix a Tent Zipper With a tent repair kit

Get the best repair kit for the tent

There are different options for zipper repair kits. The best one should be the one that has differently sized sliders, a thread and a needle and a seam reaper. They are inexpensive a small enough to fit in the side pocket of a camping backpack.

Most kits don’t have pliers which are useful for many camping aspects. Make sure you pack a pair of adjustable pliers during the camping trip.

If the zipper is separating at one end or both, comes undone after closing or has openings even after sealing, the problem is most likely to be the slider, not the track.

  • Remove the seam of the zipper if it stops at the end of the track. Use the seam reaper or pliers for this since most of the tent zippers have a sewn-in-stop to keep it from opening at the end. Use the adjustable pliers and gently remove the seam before you start.
  • Pull the slider completely from the track and put it aside. Use the pliers to pull the slider if it won’t dislodge from the fabric or if it’s
  • Take the new slider and slide it on the grooves of the track making sure the zipper pull is facing the inside of the tent as you replace it. Install the slider with the pointed part or the nose part first, or the zipper won’t work.
  • Pull the slider until you can see 2 or 3 inches of adequately locked zipper. This makes sure the zipper is functioning correctly. It also gives you room to resew the stop at the end of the zipper. If there is a problem with the fastener of the zipper, unzip and reinstall the zipper. Try installing different sized zippers.
  • Resew the seam at the end using a needle and the thread in the zipper repair kit. Make sure you get the part where the track meets the fabric of the tent. 15-20 stitches across the 1-inch zipper will securely hold the track in place.

How to Fix a Tent Zipper Without a zipper repair kit

How to Fix a Tent Zipper Without a zipper repair kit

There are essential things that most backpackers and campers don’t leave behind, pliers and zip ties. These are all you need to repair the tent zipper if it’s broken.

  • If the zipper pull is broken and you are having problems pulling the zipper, you can use a zip tie to act as a DIY pull. This is an easy solution for those who don’t have the tent repair kit on your trip. Slide the pointed end of the zip tie through the zipper’s eye and place the fastener over the cord and pull to tighten until you have a 2.5 cm loop.
  • Use the adjustable pliers to bend the slider if the problem is a separating track. Unzip the opening to place the slider at the end of the zipper. For the best results, setting the pliers around the left side of the zipper making sure the track of the zipper and the nose are parallel and applying some pressure will work. Do the same on both sides.
  • When doing this, make sure the zipper is not secured so you can access the slider from both sides.
  • Make sure you don’t squeeze too hard to avoid jamming or breaking the slider
  • If the zipper is lagging, you can use a pencil and run it along the outside of the teeth to make the zipper run smoothly. A lagging zipper is a minor problem, but it’s annoying when moving in and out of the tent. The tip of the pencil deposits graphite making the slider run quickly along the teeth.
  • Use wet bar soap to remove tight clothing or fabric from the zipper. If the zipper is stuck along the track or in the teeth, check to make sure there is no stuck If there is, use soap to remove the fabric by applying it liberally and pull on the fabric gently until it comes out.
  • Be patient when pulling the fabric and also be gentle. If the zipper is stuck on a tight piece of fabric, pulling it out roughly might damage the zipper.
  • If the fabric doesn’t budge, make a small cut under the stuck area in the track. Also using a needle might help push the material through the slider or teeth.

If you don’t have a tent repair kit and you manage to repair the zipper, make sure you take the tent to a professional and have it fixed and the missing or broken teeth replaced.


We have seen that you can repair the tent zipper with or without a repair kit depending on the specific scenario. Should you need to add some more tips on how to fix a tent zipper, feel free to share in the comments section.

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