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How To Fix The Common Problems In Zippers Of Hiking Jackets And Backpacks

Learn the easy steps to mend your zippers in hiking backpacks and jackets. Understand the common tips and easy techniques.

Tensions with Zippers can create a nuisance when everything else seems to be normal. This article uncovers simple and effective steps in repairing the zippers in your hiking backpacks and jackets. 

Hiking is nothing without backpacks. It is always essential to know the basic tricks to fix your necessities.

You can read further and employ the steps to repair zippers in your hiking backpacks and jacket.   

Fixing a Zipper that came off on one side

When your zipper is only on one side in the backpack or jacket, it may be because of the problem in the track or slider. In some cases, the slider would have worn out or maybe bent teeth. You can read and follow further steps to mend your zipper.

Examine  the track to fix the underlying problems :

Inspect whether the track has any problem. Look for any bent teeth and missing teeth. If there are any bent teeth,  you can straighten them using the plier.

You can apply the lubricants (petroleum jelly, crayon wax)  in the teeth and tracks to make it smooth and check whether the problem can be resolved.

Move on to the next step if you haven't detected the problem.

Remove the stopper at the end

To bring the slider out of the track, you have to remove the stoppers at the end and few teeth. Pluck the stopper and teeth using a plier.

Be careful that you shouldn't ruin the fabric of the hiking backpack or jacket.

Widen the slider using a plier :

Check the slider to know whether it has lost its clamping power. Open the slider using your pliers and bring it out of the track.

Reattach the Slider :

Insert the widened Zipper into the slider following the method below.

Refix the Zipper and the slider head  using a fork

If you have a fork with four tines, then bent one of the tines forward, and if it's a three-tine fork, go ahead.

Place the zipper head in the fork, leaving the zipper head's opening for the track to slide inside.

Now rest your fork in an elevated place with the head not slanting down.

Bring your zipper track, and you can orient either side of the track in the opening of the zipper head.

Place the track in a 'V' shape on either side of the head's opening.

After you follow the above steps, pull it forward. Now your slider will be positioned perfectly in the zipper track.

Tighten the slider

Once your slider is back on track, you can tighten it properly with the plier. Make sure you don't pinch the slider too hard.

Check if your slider glides throughout the track smoothly. In case of the over-tightened slider, widen it if necessary.

Fix the misaligned Zipper

You will not be able to seal the zipper in such cases. Something must be blocking the track sometimes. If that isn’t the case, follow further steps to fix the zipper. Make sure you follow the steps one after the other until you resolve the issue.

Locate and inspect the unaligned area

Usually, this happens if the teeth don't close correctly. Check for any cloth or impurities stuck between the teeth.

If you couldn't find any, move forward following further steps.

Use the pliers to repair

If you find any bent teeth (bad conditioned teeth), straighten them up with the pliers.

And if the problem is not with the teeth or track, pluck few teeth and the stopper of the track.

Pluck two to four teeth towards the end on each side of the track.

Remove the slider and then insert

Bring the slider out of the track. Check out the slider and insert it into the track. Make sure you have tightened it with the plier.

Don't overstress the slider; if so, it may change its shape.    

Sew the end

Sewing is done to cease the slider from running off the track. After the slider is settled properly, make the needle ready to sew.

You may find a hollow in the place without the stopper and few teeth. Tie a knot as a stopper.

Fixing a self unzip Zipper or lose Zipper

A loose zipper can cause big trouble. Your hiking backpack zipper opening up often can land you in trouble. Slider is the core reason in most cases. Even though it is a severe problem, you can fix the issue following the simple steps below.   

Widen the slider

Have a thorough check on the slider head; make sure it hasn't gone useless.

An ineffective slider must be changed instead of enforcing other steps.

In case of a good slider head, widen and move it towards the end.

Use the plier to widen the slider and remove the stopper

You need not check for bent teeth to fix this problem because the slider didn't stick; it is moving freely unnecessarily.

The plier's job is only to pluck away the teeth and the stopper at the end of the track.

Examine the slider after bringing it outside.

Reattach the same slider or a new one, if needed, into the zipper track.

Tighten the slider

After you bring the slider to the track, tighten the slider head.

You can tighten the slider using the plier.

You must be careful enough not to stress the slider as to lose its original shape.

Tighten it so that the slider won't run away off the track.

Sewing the end 

Sew the end of the track with the needle and thread.

This knot that you sew acts as a stopper.

Check the zipper track

Check the zipper track if necessary and run the slider throughout to make sure it moves softly.

Add some lubricants if needed not to have any further problems.

Fix a stuck zipper

In such cases, you will not be able to move your slider because of the rough track. This is a serious issue that often happens in zippers. A stuck zipper in your jacket or a backpack is for sure disastrous. This can be rectified by employing the simple steps explained below.

Use lubricants

Check the area where the Zipper is stuck for any impurities or dirt.

If you couldn't find any, make use of any lubricants (petroleum jelly, crayon wax) and even laundry or dish soap.

Dilute the dish soap in water and rub the mixture in the stuck Zipper or the entire zipper track.

Wait to see whether it has loosened, and try moving the slider.

Graphite pencil if needed :

Rub the lid of your graphite pencil in the track concentrating more on the stuck zipper track.

Rub it all around, and once you finish it, try moving the slider.

Even if this doesn't help move on to the next step.

Plier can fix it for sure :

If the lubrication and the above steps didn't help you, check on all the teeth in the track.

Bring the teeth into their original shape if you find any bent teeth.

Once you manage to bring the teeth into the usual shape, the track and the Zipper will work effortlessly.

Replace a Broken Slider

When you are all set for hiking, make sure you have one or two zipper pulls with you, whether you have broken the slider in the hiking backpack or the jacket.  You can use the zipper pulls in case of urgency by following the further steps explained.

Change the broken slider 

Bring the slider out of the track if it's still on the track.

Remove the end stopper and few teeth to bring the damaged slider outside.

Check whether you can widen and then tighten to fix the slider.

If the slider is not worth fixing,  better afford a new slider.

Reattach the new slider 

If you are attaching a new slider, make sure the size is the same.

Insert it using a fork or freehanded.

Sewing is important 

Sew the end of the track where you have plucked away the teeth.

Sewing it stops your slider from slipping away.


Tips for Care and Maintenance of Zippers

  • To maintain the Zipper in good condition, use lubricants.
  • Apply it in the track so that the track will be in smooth and soft condition.
  • Always use your slider and slider pull gently.
  • Gentle use lasts your zippers longer, so don't pull your Zipper forcefully.  Always clean your zippers after using them.
  • Depending on the fabric, wash or dry wash your backpacks and jackets.
  • Additional concentrations are needed in cleaning the zippers. 

Tools you can carry in your hiking backpacks for repairing zippers

When you are preparing your backpack for hiking,  pack certain essential tools that might help you mend the zippers of your jackets, sleeping bags, backpacks, etc.

Carrying such tools won't consume so much space in your backpack.

  • Plier
  • Lubricant (crayon wax, beeswax, powdered graphite, paraffin, or any jelly  )
  • Thread and needle
  • Graphite pencil
  • Fork (if needed)
Tools you can carry in your hiking backpacks for repairing zippers

If you are not following any methods, try taking care after reading this article. Taking care of the zipper track will help your track withstand in good condition.

How do you maintain your zipper track in good condition?

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backpacks, Diy, How To, jackets, zipper

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