Gearheads and outdoor novices alike, everyone can appreciate the joy of fixing gear gone awry. If you are in need of new ideas for repairing gear, tips on maintenance, or just want to “MacGyver” your way out of any situation, Backpacker Magazine’s “Complete Guide to Outdoor Gear Maintenance and Repair” is the book for you. It’s written by Kristin Hostetter, Backpacker’s longtime gear editor. Here Hostetter gives a few fixit tips excerpted from her tome, a true gear junkie’s textbook if ever there was one!
Tip #1: How To Replace a Zipper Slider — It’s possible to remove and replace a slider on a non-separating zipper without creating a pesky sewing job. Smaller zippers can often be easily pried off with a flathead screwdriver. Just work the head of the screwdriver under one of the “wings” or into the rear opening and try to pop it off. Be careful not to gouge yourself — it sometimes takes a little force. If it doesn’t give using a screwdriver, don’t risk damaging the coils or teeth, move on to the next option (see photo below).
Mid to large zippers require specialized tools. The best option is a pair of carpenter’s pinchers (above), which can easily bite through even the beefiest zippers.
A super-simple method for replacing a slider on a non-separating zipper entails using an ingenious device called a Fix An Zip, which comes in a variety of sizes to fit most any zipper. It’s a two-piece metal slider that thumbscrews into place on any zipper track, coil or tooth.
You simply place the Fix An Zip slider over the two sides of the zipper and tighten the thumbscrew. Then attach the included zipper pull, and you’re back in business.
The only downsides to the Fix An Zip solution is that it’s a tad bulkier than normal sliders and it’s not as aesthetically pleasing. They come in one color only: no-nonsense metal. A worthy trade-off for the fix!
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