Eliminate Zipper Problems – Canvas Bell Tents

by | Apr 22, 2022

Don’t let a stuck zipper get between you and your bell tent.

The good news is that Stout Tent will teach you how to fix your zipper problems in five easy steps. Stout Tent is the only company that uses High-Quality #10 Plastic Molded Zippers for our tent doors and groundsheets. We know first-hand how superior plastic zippers are to your typical metal coil zips because we put our tents to the test in the event rental world. Our zippers survive being manhandled by festival-goers (you can read between the lines of their state of mind) multiple times every summer.

Typically, zipper problems are a result of user error.

We find that campers sometimes over-tighten their tens to make them super secure, which causes outward pressure on the zippers. Over-tightening can stress the tent canvas and cause zippers to fray and tear over time.
Fortunately, this is an easy fix.

Follow these steps to solve your zipper woes.


1. Make sure your guylines are not pulled too tight.  Try loosening the ropes just a bit in the front, which should give you more slack to zip up.
Stargazer A-Frame Door Zipper
2. Check that your groundsheet (thick PVC material) is pulled tight; no wrinkles inside on the floor.
3. Make sure the groundsheet doesn’t bend towards the zipper and interfere with it.
If the zipper feels too ‘tight,’ resist the urge to force it.
***These steps fix most tent zipper problems!*****

These first three steps fix most zipper problems; however, we have a few more suggestions if you still have issues.

4. Sometimes dusts finds its way into the groundsheet/canvas zipper track (this usually doesn’t happen to the vertical door zipper). You can fix this zipper problem by vacuuming out the track with a standard home vacuum. Alternatively, you can clean the track with zipper lube; we like StarBrite and Gear Aide, but any Silicone-based lube will work.
5. Stuck Zipper:

Another common tent zipper problem is that the slide gets stuck. Your zipper slide can get stuck in the tape or attached canvas of the tent, preventing it from moving across the chain. Try pulling the tab back until the thread comes free. If the fabric becomes so stuck that lines are mixed up in the teeth, you may have to unwind each thread individually from the teeth (sorry). Use scissors for the most challenging knot. 

Hopefully, you have followed these steps to troubleshoot your zipper problems successfully and are now enjoying your fully-functioning bell tent. If you’re still struggling with your zipper and need a professional replacement or repair, we like to recommend reaching out to your local RV or Boat shop. These shops work with commercial-grade canvas and zippers and will know how to help you. Of course, if you’re using a Stout Tent bell tent, you can reach out to our excellent customer care team for assistance.


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