Easy Fix: Zipper Not Closing Properly

Article by NEMO

Easy Fix: Zipper Not Closing Properly

All NEMO products are covered by our Lifetime Warranty and we’re happy to help repair your gear, but when the fresh air’s calling, sometimes you just can’t wait — that’s where this easy DIY fix comes in.

Zippers have a low tolerance for dirt and debris, so when a tent, sleeping bag, or other zippered item isn’t washed at least once a year, dirt can build up in the slider — the metal part that closes the zipper teeth. Over time, this build-up can spread the slider apart, making it less effective at pressing the zipper teeth together.

Tools & Materials Needed: 

      The Fix: 

      1. Clean the item in question using a technical wash. (This is also a good time to re-waterproof the item using something like Nikwax TX-Direct or Down Proof™.)

      2. Inspect the zipper’s slider; if build-up is the issue, you’ll notice that the top and bottom will have separated a bit.

      3. Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, gently press the top and bottom back together, a little at a time. Each time you make a slight adjustment, test the slider to see if it’s now working properly. Do not press together too much.

      4. With the right adjustment, the zipper should be closing properly again. You can apply zipper lubricant to help the zipper slide more smoothly, as well. Most zipper lubricants include a brush on the bottle but if yours doesn’t, you can use an old toothbrush designated for chores.

      NikWax products are great for revitalizing and waterproofing your NEMO gear.


      Inspect your zipper slider for dirt build-up.


      Using needle-nose pliers, gently press each side of the slider together.


      Test the zipper, tighten again if slight adjustment is needed.


      If you still need help, don't hesitate to contact our Customer Service team for further assistance! For more DIY repairs, check out the list our Warranty Manager and repair expert, Andrew Baxley, put together here.