The last of the golden light fades from distant peaks and as you go to open the tent door – the zipper jams. As darkness rapidly descends and you scramble to find the headlamp, you’re reminded that looking after your gear is a priority that is best done on a regular basis in the basement storage room, kitchen table, or even the living room floor – anywhere rather than trailside.
So, how do you fix a sticky zipper? If you’re thinking lubricant, think again. Lubricants just attract more gunk. Our tent jammed because of a build-up of micro-fine sand – courtesy of wind and eroding stone. If we were at home, we could clean the zipper teeth with an old toothbrush and water. We could check the problem area and see if any of the teeth had become bent and straighten them with a needle. Instead, we left the damaged side closed and awkwardly entered and exited the dome on one side of the door and saved repairs ‘til we got home.
Quick tips for taking care of your tent:
- Read the instruction sheet and follow the advice that comes with the purchase of a new tent.
- Keep tent zippers clean (wiping off mud, grit and dirt as soon as possible).
- Use a footprint to save wear and tear on the bottom of your tent (a footprint or tarp for below your tent is easily replaced; the bottom of your tent – not so much)
- If necessary, clean tent with water but do not use any soap products.
- Always hang out your tent after a trip to completely air dry before storing (to avoid possible mould and mildew)