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 Post subject: Zippers are Evil
PostPosted: February 17th, 2020, 2:37 pm 
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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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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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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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 Post subject: Re: Zippers are Evil
PostPosted: February 19th, 2020, 1:23 pm 
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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: February 19th, 2020, 2:55 pm 
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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: February 19th, 2020, 4:31 pm 
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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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 Post subject: Re: Zippers are Evil
PostPosted: February 22nd, 2020, 1:17 pm 
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recped wrote:
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


My first thought was that you will make someone a lovely backcountry bride, walking up a wilderness aisle in that stunning No-see-um gown. No one wants to kiss the bride, but still.

That potential bugdom has been my principal issue with sleeping in floorless sod-cloth shelters, and it does look easy to DIY a drape with some netting and a coat hanger or etc support spreader from the ridgeline of a shelter.

Hell, maybe something camp-chair-to-ground length as a personal-sized shelter, held head elevated via rabbit ears or halo from a hat or head strap. I could fit the camp chair essentials - day bag, journal, and beverage - on the ground inside that sloped netting.

I like the concept.


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 Post subject: Re: Zippers are Evil
PostPosted: February 22nd, 2020, 4:59 pm 
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That is NOT a "coat hanger"!!!!!

It is a space(force)age, 3 section shock-corded pole made from hi-tech composite materials. Achieving the perfect "drape" is not as simple as you might think, years of intensive product research was required to develop this particular device. The key is the slightly "nubby" ends which are inserted into the custom designed "pockets" to establish the proper flow.

It is not some cheap piece of junk from China either, it was developed (and probably used by) the VC when dealing with the notorious Mekong Delta bugs, that along with sandals that never wear out spurred the advanced manufacturing that has become the backbone of the industrial powerhouse of Vietnam.



People say "that bride has a beautiful gown/veil, too bad he/she stinks like they've been hanging out with the big bad wolf for a month and forgot the deodorant".

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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: February 23rd, 2020, 3:57 am 
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Quote:
People say "that bride has a beautiful gown/veil, too bad he/she stinks like they've been hanging out with the big bad wolf for a month and forgot the deodorant".


That'd be me an apt description of me flying solo recped. Less money spent on everything, including laundry, the more time freed to paddle and live freely. Like hulls, compromises to be made somewhere. :lol:

Nice screen. I like it. I've used the cheap-crap synthetic ones, and the expensive natural-fibre ones both in India and China. The natural-fibre breathes better in the heat and feels cooler.

I'd definitely consider this companioned with a light tarp for good-weather ultra-light camping. Thank-you for the suggestion.

Draw-strings, compression-straps, pull-over anoraks, and snap-clip buckles will save the world! Or at least my sanity. :thumbup:


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 Post subject: Re: Zippers are Evil
PostPosted: February 23rd, 2020, 10:57 am 
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recped wrote:
It is not some cheap piece of junk from China either, it was developed (and probably used by) the VC when dealing with the notorious Mekong Delta bugs, that along with sandals that never wear out spurred the advanced manufacturing that has become the backbone of the industrial powerhouse of Vietnam.


I am curious about how it came to pass that so many tents are now manufactured in Vietnam. I remember seeing my first “Made in Vietnam” tag on a reputable brand tent and thinking it odd. Now I kind of expect it.

There must be some industry backstory on how that came to be.


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 Post subject: Re: Zippers are Evil
PostPosted: February 23rd, 2020, 12:33 pm 
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I'd guess it's partially because tents and shoes are old technology, mechanization for these industries were probably brought to Vietnam by the French during the colonial period. At the end of the war with no money, embargo's and plenty of cheap labour they were the areas which were both necessary for the local population and could be done using old existing/surviving infrastructure.

In more recent times (last 15 - 20 years) even the Chinese started to offshore production to low-cost labour locations while retaining the production of things like electronics that required a more skilled workforce and more costly equipment.

This is just quick speculation on my part, I'm sure there are some (many?) books written about the revival of Vietnam in the post-war period. One thing I'm fairly certain of is that Vietnam was more developed than Malaysia, Indonesia and other southeast Asian countries.

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 Post subject: Re: Zippers are Evil
PostPosted: February 23rd, 2020, 3:16 pm 
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recped wrote:
I'd guess it's partially because tents and shoes are old technology, mechanization for these industries were probably brought to Vietnam by the French during the colonial period.


Some of the well known “name-brand” badge tents coming out of Vietnam are pretty high tech, with cunningly designed spider connections and carbon poles. A far cry from French Indo-china tents of the 50’s, or even the GI tents of the 60’s and 70’s; those were essentially the bastard offspring of a Boy Scout pup tent grandmother and the DNA of a randy grandfather Eureka Timberline.

Same for shoes and sandals, not exactly old car tire soles anymore. Although, for a lot of cheap foam sandal soles, some impervious tire tread on the bottom would be preferable; freaking sand spurs or greenbriar will puncture right through a flimsy foam sole.

recped wrote:
In more recent times (last 15 - 20 years) even the Chinese started to offshore production to low-cost labour locations while retaining the production of things like electronics that required a more skilled workforce and more costly equipment.


From what I have read, and what littler I understood, the Chinese have started buying up Vietnamese tent manufacturers, or at least out-sourcing their tent “production” to Vietnam. There must be some peculiar regional expertise/existing facilities for tent manufacture.

recped wrote:
This is just quick speculation on my part, I'm sure there are some (many?) books written about the revival of Vietnam in the post-war period. One thing I'm fairly certain of is that Vietnam was more developed than Malaysia, Indonesia and other southeast Asian countries.


Damn, I’d love to read that book. The recent phenomenon of certain things, non-electronic things, especially sewn items – tents, tarps, bags, clothes, hats and shoes – each developing in a specific bustling manufactured country of origin, must have regional backstory reasons.

Oh look, Korean autos catching up to Japanese makers, or etc. This cheap Wally World tee shirt is a product of Bangladesh. It used to be sewn in Haiti, and before that in now defunct South Carolina mill towns. There’s a manufacturing history story there.

Even in US “possessions”; Puerto Rico was, for a time (thanks to massive, since expired pharmaceutical company tax breaks), the center of GMP facility drug production. It was cheaper to abandon those multi-million dollar Good Manufacturing Practice plants outside San Juan and move to off-shore foreign production.

The global marketplace is weird, and is operating heavy machinery under the influence.


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