October 17th, 2020
Wall Tent Zippers: How to Properly Care for Them
Taking Care of Your Wall Tent Zippers for Longevity
Wall tents, due to their durability, versatility and spaciousness can be a steep investment. Much like any other expensive gear, wall tents require the proper maintenance and care to realize and prolong their lifespan, which can, effectively, be a lifetime.
A major component of ensuring the wall tent continues to perform as expected and stand up to the harshest weather conditions is keeping the zippers in mint condition.
As you’d imagine, zippers are essential to the correct functioning of the doors of the tent. White Duck’s wall tents, for example, not only have a primary canvas door but also heavy-duty mesh doors as a secondary layer, both of which are equipped with military grade zippers.
Types of Zippers
There are two commonly found types of zippers, each with unique advantages over the other.
- Coil zippers, also known as “spiral” zippers are made from a coiled nylon or polyester monofilament and receive their name from their make as well as the way the teeth look coiled. These teeth are attached to a nylon or plastic lining, making them the more flexible and versatile of the two types of zippers and ideal for curved features.
The flexibility of coil zippers also allows for some stretch in the material that they are attached to which is especially important in sporting goods and luggage that may be packed full.
Coil zippers also allow bi-directional movement, meaning a slider can be attached to both sides of the zipper and can function in either direction. This is an especially useful feature on items such as tents and luggage.
- Tooth zippers, also known as Vision or “chunky” zippers, are made from metal and are much heavier and stiffer than coil zippers. The types of metal used can vary, but are commonly either aluminum, gunmetal, nickel, antique nickel, or brass. These types of zippers are often used as a decorative accent, so the choice of metal is often chosen with fashion and aesthetic appeal in mind.
Being made of metal makes tooth zippers very durable, but not very forgiving when the material around them stretches. They are also not ideal for curved closures as the teeth themselves are not flexible. Lastly, although metal teeth have less of a chance of breaking off than the teeth on a coil zipper, a broken tooth will result in the entire zipper having to be replaced for either model.
Taking Care of Tent Zippers
Taking care of the zippers on your tent is crucial for your tent to function properly. Without a properly functioning zipper, not only could it be difficult and frustrating to use but also the heat retention and water resistance of your tent could be compromised, and you may have to learn to share your space with some crawly critters!
To take care of your tent’s zippers and avoid these pitfalls, there are a few easy measures that can be taken:
- Clean your zippers: Always keep them free from dirt, grit, leaves, or anything else that may get stuck in the teeth or push the slider off its track. Along with ensuring that nothing clogs the zipper while in use, it’s also best to shake the tent out after use, followed by wiping each zipper off with a cloth to prevent any buildup or dried-on debris.
- Never force a zipper that gets stuck: Forcing a stuck zipper can lead to breaking part of the zipper, which can potentially lead to the whole zipper needing to be replaced. If your tent zipper happens to get stuck on the tent or a loose string, carefully work out and remove the piece of fabric or string instead. Alternatively, if a coil zipper gets stuck on its own teeth, gently attempt to wiggle the slider and loosen the stuck teeth or else the teeth may pull off from the tract.
- Zipper lubes are designed to keep zippers working smoothly by greasing the teeth of the zipper, allowing the slider to move easily. These work especially great for worn zippers, particularly older tooth zippers, but they do require a bit of extra attention to the cleanliness of the zipper itself. The greasiness of zipper lubes can easily catch dirt and dust, so it’s important to wipe and clean your tent zippers regularly and to ensure the tract is clear before each use when using a zipper lube on your tent zippers.
- When setting up a wall tent, always unzip all zippers while placing the tent over or removing the tent from the frame. Attempting to slide the closed tent over the frame can put too much stress on the zippers, risking the chance of damaging both the zipper and the tent itself.
Written by Mike Williams
Mike is an avid outdoors enthusiast with a great love for the American West Coast. Having graduated with a degree in Communications, Mike quickly moved into freelance writing for a variety of brands before joining the White Duck Outdoors team to work in a role and industry that excited him..
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