How to Repair a Jacket Zipper

Salvage a few more years out of your favorite jacket with these zipper fixes.

Keyword: zippers, jackets, broken zipper, hiking, backpacking

With all the abuse zippers take, it's no wonder they sometimes fail. Many manufacturers repair or replace a zip free of charge if the jacket is under warranty. But you can also correct a range of problems without sending your shell away for 6 weeks. Try these quick field repairs and more durable home remedies to get your zip sliding again. To prevent future problems, vacuum or brush the teeth and apply a silicone lubricant after each big trip.

What You'll Need

  • McNett Seam Grip
  • McNett Tenacious Tape or other waterproof tape
  • Multitool with pliers and knife
  • Weights (hardcover books)
  • Baby powder

Split Zipper Track

  1. Pull the slider through the split and back to its origin. Use force if necessary.
  2. Advance the zipper toward the split while pinching the slider with pliers to push the teeth back into alignment.
  3. Test the zipper action and repeat the process until it moves smoothly.

Damaged Teeth

  1. Realign the mangled teeth with the blade of a knife.
  2. Run the zipper over the repaired teeth while pinching the slider with pliers to reinforce the alignment.

Zipper Seams

  1. Turn the jacket inside out and place it on a flat surface.
  2. Use weights to hold down both sides of the tear, pulling the fabric taut.
  3. Apply thin layer of Seam Grip to the rip. Avoid gumming up the zipper track.
  4. Cover the seam with blank paper and add weights to secure the bond and prevent bubbles. Let dry 24 hours, then remove any glued-on paper.
  5. Reinforce the seam by laying a strip of waterproof tape along the tear.
  6. Brush the tape edges with Seam Grip. Wait 24 hours, then dust the seam with baby powder for a nonsticky surface.