Zipper Repair

When out there in nature you do not want to fiddle with a broken zipper. Repair it quick and straightforward.

How to repair a zipper

Nothing as annoying when the zipper of your tent derails, leaving you with flapping doors. Nothing quite as disappointing when your expensive tent is prone to wearing out, just as any other brand.

Don’t worry. Every zipper will derail, it is just a matter of time and usage. Simply because the slider will wear out due to sand particles.


Here is how to repair your zipper. Step by step in 9 easy to follow instructions.

What you need

  • Spare sliders

  • Needle

  • Thread (dental floss)

  • Sharp knife (or seam ripper)

  • Pincers

  • Tiny clamps (optional)

  • Scissor

Before you navigate on a long tour be sure to request a few spare sliders from the company where you bought your tent. Hilleberg did send out several times to me.


Note: I had opened the seams of the zippers before I made photo’s of this instruction, that’s why you already see the usage of dental floss.

1) Remove the little clamps at the beginning of the zipper. You can use a scissor or a seam ripper for the little clamps.


2) Open the stitches to where the zipper is connected.


3) Do this far enough so you can slide a new slider on but no too far as you need to close it by hand.


4) When the end of each zipper is loose, you can slide the slider off. Be watchful that you remember how the old slider is positioned.



5) It might need a bit of wriggling and practice, but the slider should grip both zipper sides symmetrically. You will immediately feel that the touch is smooth again.




6) The little clamps that you had to remove at step 1 must be placed back, either by a few stitches or by the original (included in your manufactures spare parts kit).


7) When using the original clamps, use a pincer to jam them.


8) Then stitching of the seams starts; be sure to do this as neatly as it was done before you opened them, so the fabric can not get stuck between the zippers. 





9) Fold the zipper ends neatly in as was originally done, so no bulky stockpiling will be created.


Your stitching does not have to be immaculate as you will most probably open it again to renew the worn out sliders. But by then you know how to : )

I hope this manual was useful to you. If you have any tips, I am interested to hear them from you.

Here is more on tent repair and the Hillerberg review.

By Cindy Servranckx

Years of traveling brought me many different insights, philosophies and places I needed to be. I lived in Pakistan, went over 15 times to India and when I stopped cycling the world, that was after 50.000 kilometer through 45 countries, I met Geo. Together we now explore many facets of life, including those by foot, by truck, by motorbike and by kickbike. Being an artist who's chasing the simple life, I keep embroidering in the abundance nature offers me. The pouches I create are for sale on

6 replies on “Zipper Repair”

Thank you, that’s really really handy. I haven’t had to do this yet but as you say the time will come. There’s just one thing that I don’t understand, why can’t it be done by just removing the end clips…and leaving the stitching intact? I’m good with pliers but needles are not my strong side.


Hi there,

The zipper ends have to be opened, as you can not get an old slider nor a new slider on a zipper when the ends are folded. See it like a train: it can not ride when the rails is folded. The ends of the zippers are always folded, otherwise the zipper would come off by first use. The end clips are more or less there to perfectize the end of the zippers, without the clips it would work too.

Good luck for when you need to fix it. And don’t worry, sewing does not have to be beautiful.

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