You would be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t struggled with a zip before. Broken zips have ended the life of many pieces of gear, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Repairs are a bit tricky, but it is possible.
The first step is to determine if the problem exists with the slider or the zip’s teeth. If the teeth are damaged, a trip to the local boot maker or gear repairer may be in order, as this usually involves unstitching the old and sewing in a new set of teeth. But damaged sliders can be replaced with matching sized sliders. Check the size stamped on the front of the slider and purchase a replacement one. You may find redundant sliders of the same size on old clothes or gear so it can pay to strip these of parts before you dispose of them.
Using a seam ripper, unpick the stitching at the bottom of the zipper. If a zip stopper is used on the teeth (a small clip which is attached to the teeth to stop the slider going to far), break this off with pliers. Now carefully slide the new slider, nose first (the pointy end of the slider) on to the teeth. Resew the stitching and squeeze on a new zip stopper (if needed)
Tip: zip slider replacement can be challenging, particularly in the field. FixnZip is a zipper repair tool which attaches without the need for tools. It easily installs onto zips and covers a range of slider sizes. It is a great addition to your trail repair kit.
Estimated Repair Cost:
Slider: $1-5 (dependent on size and style)
FixnZip: approx. $15