Tents tear, lantern mantles fade, zippers fall off track. Overcoming these and other backcountry breakdowns requires you to be equal measures seamstress and handyman. With a well-stocked repair kit and the skills to fix anything (in this case a faulty zipper), you’ll be well armed to survive and thrive in the woods.
Step 1:** Most of the time, a zipper that separates or won’t close can be blamed on the broken or worn slider. This can often be fixed by gently squeezing together the bottom of the slider’s wings with pliers. Crimp the top and bottom halves on both sides together slightly, testing the zipper before crimping again. If this doesn’t fix the problem, you’ll have to install a replacement.
Step 2: Remove the defective slider by using pliers to carefully pull off the metal or plastic stop at the bottom of the zipper. A closed-end zipper–meaning one sewn together at the bottom–will have to be opened by removing the stitching. Be careful not to tear the zipper tape. Now you can slip the broken slider off the bottom of the zipper.
Step 3:** Match the size and style of the new slider to the old one. Slide the wide end onto each side of the zipper, making sure the slider is upright and facing outward. Slowly push the slider upward so each side of the zipper is even with the other; continue until several rows of teeth are locked together below the slider. Hold both sides of the zipper together and slowly work the zipper up and down to ensure that the zipper is even and there is no buckling.
Step 4:** Replace the stop at the bottom of the zipper with a new one, or sew a makeshift stop in place of the metal or plastic version. To do this, thread a needle with 18 inches of all-purpose thread and tie the ends together with an overhand knot. Stitch several loops through the zipper tape between the bottom two teeth until you’ve built up enough thread to stop the slider on its downward pass. If repairing a closed-end zipper, don’t forget to stitch the zipper back into the fabric.
• Patch kit
• Speedy Stitcher
• Replacement zippers
• Replacement mantles
• 1-inch webbing
• Parachute cord
• Pole splicer
• Seam sealer
• Safety pins
• Cable ties
• Duct tape
• Stove/lantern repair parts
• Cord locks
• Shoe Goo
• Nikwax waterproofer
• Shock cord
• Sewing kit
• Replace broken backpack hardware.
• Seal a leaky tent seam.
• Repair a faulty lantern or stove.
• Stitch up a torn tent.
• Splint a broken tent pole.
• Replace lantern mantles.
• Glue a loose sole on your hiking boots.
• Tape up a hole in your sleeping bag.
• Renew the water-repellent finish on your rainwear.
• Replace tent pole shock cord.
• Weatherproof your boots.
• Repair torn mosquito screen.
• Seal a hole in a flat sleeping pad.