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 Post subject: Zippers are Evil
PostPosted: February 17th, 2020, 2:37 pm 
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Joined: September 16th, 2019, 1:47 pm
Posts: 73
Seriously. They completely fail long before the gear wears out. Always at the worst possible time, and in the worst possible place. I don't trust 'em, and never will. :doh:


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 Post subject: Re: Zippers are Evil
PostPosted: February 17th, 2020, 3:40 pm 
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Joined: July 21st, 2004, 7:58 pm
Posts: 489
It's usually just the sliders that fail. You can buy replacements on the internet, or if you are lucky, find a repair shop that will do if for a few bucks. Last season killed the zipper on my tent, the one on a fleece and my wife's Goretex jacket. Had them all replaced for $20 or so.


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 Post subject: Re: Zippers are Evil
PostPosted: February 18th, 2020, 3:05 am 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Daniel Odd Job wrote:
Seriously. They completely fail long before the gear wears out. Always at the worst possible time, and in the worst possible place. I don't trust 'em, and never will. :doh:


Zippers are one of the great inventions, like many inventions they needed to be reinvented several times before being perfected.

The problem with zippers is twofold, they are susceptible to failure for a couple of reasons, salt & sand/dirt and user mistreatment being the primary ones.

In modern outdoor gear especially tents or dry suits there is the additional cost, quality zips (eg YKK) are often one of the most expensive raw material components so many lower end manufacturers use cheapo versions (this is why you can buy a tent for sub $100 at crappy tire that uses more material than a +$500 topline brand). With dry suits you can cut costs on fabric (true Goretex ain't cheap) and sell a suit for 50% less even though both might have the same quality zips.

Replacing the sliders (which are the first thing to go) can be done for tents, it's pretty cheap and can be DIY'd pretty easily. Full replacement is usually prohibitively expensive and needs to be done by someone with the proper skills. (Sport Sewing Shop here in Toronto charge $50/m and tent zips are usually very long (my longtime bug shelter has huge round doors, replacement cost +$400 installed!), $50 slider replacement (4 for 2 way zips on 2 doors) installed, diy $20. The $50 fix gave me two more years of use but even those are failing after spending about 100 nights is mostly sandy conditions.

A somewhat recent phenomenon is the ultralight syndrome which "forces" manufacturers to use the popular undersized zips so they can shave weight. This is fine for some situations like when the item containing the zip is of relatively low value or low stress situations. These days the lower quality zippers and small sizes (more susceptible to failure in my opinion) are found even on otherwise good quality gear.

I know how maddening it can be when you are paddling in the super buggy parts of Northern Canada and your bug shelter or tent zips fail, been there....done that (and it was UGLY!).

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"What else could I do? I had no trade so I became a peddler" - Lazarus Greenberg 1915


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 Post subject: Re: Zippers are Evil
PostPosted: Yesterday, 1:23 pm 
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Joined: June 28th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 1698
Location: Freeland, Maryland USA
What Recped said. Dirt, salt, dust, design and mistreatment. Especially with the frailty of some zippers, even on pricey Ultralight gear. An easy way to save weight towards a UL description is to use less robust zippers.

Camped in blowing dust or sands environments it pays to run a piece of wet sponge across (open door) zipper teeth. Takes seconds and a surprising amount of crud may come off the open teeth.

At the least the zippers then sound better; crud-toothed zippers do begin a peculiar cry for attention, zipping not-a-good-sound GRRZLLLGNASH, versus a smooth pulling quiet slither zzzzzzz.

Design matters. Some of the circular or oval door zips demand using two hands, one to hold the fabric taut behind the pull, one to circle zip/unzip the slider tab. Especially if you have staked out the tent awkwardly cocked verklempt on uneven ground.

Think about old school, two zipper entry pulls on something like an A-frame Timberline door; those two straight /__ pull zippers lasted damn near forever. Circular door zips need more caution, care and feeding.

Mistreatment, zipper abuse and negligence is a user issue; forcing zippers just a bit more when things start to bind up is rarely a good idea, or (makes me grit my teeth) leaving tent or vestibule doors halfway closed or unzipped flapping in the breeze. By negligence I mean not taking 30 seconds to wipe a damp sponge along the opened teeth when the zippers start sound sickly (or before).

Zipper lubricant is a whole nother personal preference. For desert dust and fine blowing sand I like non-sticky Teflon Dry Film. Comes in (home use) aerosol spray or (camp use) “liquid”. Ignore the 1oz spray bottle of alcohol, that’s for a different purpose.

ImageP1280013 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Lotta zipper discussion. Your lubrication preference may vary, but keeping the teeth occasionally sponge cleaned is a no-cost no-brainer easy exercise.

http://www.canoetripping.net/forums/for ... ipper-care

recped wrote:
I know how maddening it can be when you are paddling in the super buggy parts of Northern Canada and your bug shelter or tent zips fail, been there....done that (and it was UGLY!).


Doesn’t need to be super buggy north country, and I’ll see you a dense cloud of late season salt marsh mosquitoes. As much as any piece of gear I want the tent to be a sure fire refuge at night; I can deal with buggy shit when I’m awake, just let me get a good night’s sleep.

Gawd bless the two door, two vestibule tent; if one no-see-um mesh door zipper fails I’ll duct tape that bastard closed and deal with the adhesive residue repairs on that side when I get home


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 Post subject: Re: Zippers are Evil
PostPosted: Yesterday, 2:55 pm 
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Joined: July 12th, 2016, 3:01 pm
Posts: 154
Had a $230.00 Patagonia down vest... zipper failed. For that price the zipper should have been BIFL.


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 Post subject: Re: Zippers are Evil
PostPosted: Yesterday, 4:31 pm 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Mike McCrea wrote:

Doesn’t need to be super buggy north country, and I’ll see you a dense cloud of late season salt marsh mosquitoes. As much as any piece of gear I want the tent to be a sure fire refuge at night; I can deal with buggy shit when I’m awake, just let me get a good night’s sleep.

Gawd bless the two door, two vestibule tent; if one no-see-um mesh door zipper fails I’ll duct tape that bastard closed and deal with the adhesive residue repairs on that side when I get home


I added a new item to my required gear last Summer, it both resolved my paranoia about busted tent zips and also solved the issue of a floor-less shelter that sometimes cannot be 100% effectively sealed.

https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5011-723/ ... to-Shelter

Image

I really really hate nodding off for a nice long sleep and waking up 8 hours later to find that a small number of bugs have been feasting on me for a few hours. It also means that when conditions are right I can forego the tent/shelter altogether and sleep outside (as long as I can hang from something) and enjoy the fresh air. It does interfere with star gazing but it's nowhere near as bad as being inside a tent/shelter and not being able to see anything.

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"What else could I do? I had no trade so I became a peddler" - Lazarus Greenberg 1915


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