Subjecting a zipper to dust, water, or mud is just about the fastest and easiest way to damage it. But still, zippers are used on some of the most exposed and expensive equipment.
Items such as awnings and rooftop tents are some of the most vulnerable since these are often always left on the vehicle to deteriorate in the rain and sun. Add in several days of trail use and most people end up finding themselves tugging a stuck zipper at camp while uttering obscenities.
The good news is that you don’t have to deal with the same issue. Here are some quick and easy techniques to extend the life of your investment and enjoy your camping trips and travels to the fullest.
Cleaning Your Zippers
If you recently bought your awning and tent and the zippers haven’t seen a speck of dust at all, then consider yourself lucky because you are a step ahead of the game. You can simply go to the next step.
But if your accessories have been mounted on the car for over a week or have already seen light dirt road use, it is best to start with some good cleaning. You can use a toothbrush or any light bristle brush.
Make sure you find a dry environment before you undo the zipper and then run the brush all over the teeth. The purpose here is to get rid of excess dirt or dust before you get the area wet. You can also use a can of compressed air to blast off any residual particles.
Wipe down the teeth and the entire zipper with warm soapy water and wash away the remaining residue. Dry off the zip with a clean microfiber and make sure there are no leftover threads or any other debris.
Protecting Your Zippers
Once the zippers are cleaned, they will now need lubrication and resistance from the elements. Opinions differ on what works best but beeswax or other similar products will often work well. Use any solution of your choice and apply a thorough coat of this to both sides of the open zipper. Run the slider back and forth a few times and wipe away the leftover lubricant. Repeat as needed until the slider cleanly runs down the entire teeth.
Caring for Your Zippers
The last part of this travel tip is almost common sense. However, most of you might have done this while irritated in camp. If your zipper gets sticky or clogged during a trip, avoid tugging on it. Keep a can of compressed air or a rag in the vehicle to keep the track clean. Wipe this down as best you can then ease the zipper back and forth until it completely breaks free and repeat the cleaning procedure even when you are off the trail.
You see, your zippers also need the care and maintenance they need. But if any part of your zipper ends up damaged, such as the zipper pulls, you can always buy their replacements from reliable zipper suppliers.