Zippers Part 2: Zipper slider replacement

Zipper sliders are the most common part to fail on outdoor gear. From tents to jackets and packs it seams like zippers hold all our favorite outdoor gear together. They are great at what they do, but when your zipper fails, it can leave you in the cold. Fortunately there are some easy fixes to this common problem. 

In part one, we talked about simple, quick field fixes for zipper issues. To really fix the problem, you need a new zipper slider installed.  

 

The replacement zipper slider and top stop in place.

The replacement zipper slider and top stop in place.

Slider Replacement

The best solution is to replace the slider with a new one. New sliders can be replaced quickly, and provide virtually factory performance (Zipper wear can effect their smoothness). It is critical to have the right size slider for the zipper, as well as a slider that is oriented correctly to the zipper chain (teeth) on coil zippers.  

Sliders can be replaced by a quick cut at the end of a non separating zipper, or at the top of the zipper chain that the slider stays attached to on a separating zipper, where you can often simply cut the old top stop off. Be sure to cut as close to the end as possible! A new slider simply takes the place of the old worn one and a small metal zipper stop can be clamped on.

Cutting the factory top stop off the slider side of the zipper. once removed, the old slider slides off and the new one can go right on in it's place.

Cutting the factory top stop off the slider side of the zipper. once removed, the old slider slides off and the new one can go right on in it's place.

A new top stop will keep the replacement slider on the zipper chain.

A new top stop will keep the replacement slider on the zipper chain.

On non separating zippers, you may need to work a bit to get both sides of the zipper chain lined up and meshed correctly. Also, with non separating zippers, you can also rip some stitches at one end and then sew the zipper back to the item for a more factory appearance and a more durable repair. 

We can often replace your zipper slider while you wait. The process is made easier with the right tools.

Tools of the trade. Replacement end stops, replacement zipper slider, small end nippers, small channel lock pliers and optional flat needle nose pliers. The whole job can be done with a multi-tool in the field, though these tools do make it a bit easier. Note the various end stops in the upper left of the picture. various sizes and styles are available.

Tools of the trade. Replacement end stops, replacement zipper slider, small end nippers, small channel lock pliers and optional flat needle nose pliers. The whole job can be done with a multi-tool in the field, though these tools do make it a bit easier. Note the various end stops in the upper left of the picture. various sizes and styles are available.