how to fix a backpack zipper

How To Fix A Backpack Zipper (5 Common Issues and Solutions)

We’ve all probably encountered the annoying issue of a broken or stuck backpack zipper. It can be frustrating and seem nearly impossible to fix, but there are many ways to fix these damaged backpack zippers.

A zipper is the most critical component of the backpack. It ensures your items are secure.

If your favorite backpack’s zipper breaks, you don’t have to throw it away. Ideas on how to fix a zipper on a backpack are straightforward. You can probably do it with items you already have.

Causes a broken Backpack Zipper (With Solutions)

Knowing how to fix a broken zipper on a backpack is useful. For some situations, you may need to have your backpack repaired by a professional.

Nonetheless, the hints below should be helpful for most backpack zipper malfunctions.

Fixing a broken backpack zipper will offer a temporal solution until you can make more permanent repairs. So keep reading to learn how to fix a zipper on a backpack.

1. Stuck Zippers

The most common zipper issue is stuck zippers.

It is incredibly upsetting when this occurs during a backpacking trip or outdoors.

Fortunately, you can repair most stuck zippers quickly. Lubricating it is frequently the best action and should resolve most issues.

If the cause is a buildup of dirt or debris, laundry soap or liquid detergent should loosen most zipper sliders. Apply a small amount of dish soap to the zipper and gently move it back and forth.

If the zipper is still stuck, wash your backpack and soak it in soapy water to loosen it. Graphite pencils also work better.

Run the pencil’s tip where the zipper’s slider is stuck.

Related: How to Organize a Backpack for Travel 

Some of the graphite will come off as a powder. Get the powder into the slider opening and over the zipper teeth. This will lubricate the zipper and allow you to move it.

how to fix the zipper of a backpack
how to fix the zipper of a backpack

2. Bent Or Misaligned Zipper Teeth

Zipper teeth become a nuisance if the zipper remains stuck after lubrication.

This can make them bent or misaligned, preventing the zipper from closing correctly. 

When the zipper is bent, no amount of lubrication will make it work again. Attempting to force the zipper along its path when fixing bent teeth may worsen the problem.

So, can you fix a zipper with misaligned or bent teeth? The first step is checking to see if any fabric or threads obstruct the zipper’s movement.

If there is no obstruction, use a pair of long nose pliers to realign the misaligned teeth. Don’t use too much force to avoid altogether pulling them out.

If this occurs, you may have no choice but to replace the entire zipper.

Bend the zipper teeth back into place gently and repeat for all the rest. They will all look even, and the zipper should open and close smoothly.

how to fix a broken zipper backpack
broken backpack zipper

Related: How to Wash a Backpack in Under 5 minutes

3. Slider Going Off The Track

The slider may occasionally mess up even if your backpack’s zipper has no bent or misaligned teeth.

This could be due to using too much force to open or close the zipper or the presence of obstructions.

Fortunately, this is usually a simple fix. Again, you should make sure that nothing is in the way of the slider’s path.

Place the slider to the ‘open’ end of the zipper, where it should be when the zipper is closed.

Each track should have a piece of metal or plastic clamped onto it. When moving the zipper, the plastic keeps the slider from moving further.

Do not use force. The slider will snap into place, and your zipper will function normally.

how to fix a stuck zipper on a backpack
how to fix a stuck zipper on a backpack

Also Read: How to Wash a North Face Backpack

4. Broken Sliders

If the slider is broken, you will likely need to replace it. Check your scrap zippers for similar components.

Otherwise, a zipper replacement kit may be required. You could then attach the new slider to your backpack.

If the slider is still attached to one or both zipper tracks, you must remove it before replacing it.

how to fix a zipper slider on a backpack
broken zipper pulls

5. Broken Zipper Pulls

Some zippers, even on otherwise strong and durable backpacks, have surprisingly light pulls. Others are made of a brittle material that wears down over time.

Broken zipper pulls, for whatever reason, are unfortunately quite common. The good news is that they are easy to fix.

You can use a keychain or paperclip to replace a broken zipper pull. It is probably the best option because it is more durable and does not appear as flimsy. The advantage is that it appears you replaced the zipper pull on purpose.

As long as you can pull the zipper open and shut it, you are good to go!

how to fix a stuck backpack zipper
keychain zipper pull

Final Thoughts

No matter how well you care for your backpack, problems will arise sooner or later. It’s   not a question of ‘if,’ but of ‘when.’

Don’t forget to learn how to wash a backpack before your next adventure!

Can a backpack zipper be repaired?

The answer is yes, but how do you achieve this? Cut the broken slider off and replace it with a new one. Have a zipper replacement kit to ensure you have all the necessary replacements.

How do you fix a separated zipper?

You can fix a separated zipper by adjusting the slider’s tension to make it grip the zipper teeth firmly.

Additional fixes include disassembling the zipper, removing the slider, and realigning the teeth. You can also use a safety pin or paperclip to hold the teeth close.

What causes a zipper to split?

Overuse and underuse are the two main causes of zipper failure. The slider’s tension weakens to the point where it can no longer exert sufficient force to pull the teeth together.

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