How to Avoid Zipper Catastrophe: Care and Repair

Zipper disasters are bound to happen at some point with outdoor gear, whether on bikepacking bags, jackets, or sleeping bags. However, they’re preventable with proper maintenance. In our latest video, Neil talks through various types of zippers, how to avoid breaking them, and how to make them glide like new…

Zippers are an inevitable weak point of any outdoor gear, and sooner or later, they’re bound to fail. How long that takes depends largely on the amount of care you give your zippers, and a bit of regular maintenance can go a long way to ensuring the zipper on your favorite bag or jacket has a long, healthy life. Neil does a deep dive into the topic for our latest YouTube video, which you can watch below to find his overview of different zippers and how to maintain them.

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  • Zipper repair and maintenance
  • Zipper repair and maintenance

In addition to the tips and tricks Neil came up with, video commenters came up with several methods they’ve used for treating zippers. Among the more interesting suggestions for readily available products were pencil lead, chain lube, and hair clipper oil. One viewer also suggested rubbing candles on the zipper to help it glide smoothly. Do you have an at-home or in-the-field zipper remedy? Let us know in the conversation below!

No Zips (Roll-top Frame Bags)

A lot of long-distance bikepackers might prefer to eliminate zippers altogether. Fortunately, there are a lot of roll-top options these days. Those include panniers, hip-packs, and even frame bags, which is largely the subject of this video and post. Here are a couple roll-top frame bags we like.

  • Porcelain Rocket 52hz waterproof frame pack
  • Cotic SolarisMAX Review

Rockgeist 52Hz

Originally created by Porcelain Rocket, the 52Hz is a 100% waterproof welded frame bag that rolls up at the top, thus eliminating any need for a zipper opening. Find details over at

Ortlieb Frame-Pack RC

Similar to the 52Hz, Ortlieb’s Frame-Pack RC is made from a welded PU-coated nylon and is completely waterproof. The RC is a little different in that it uses rubber attachments to keep the roll in place. We’ve only been using it for a short period of time, but it works really well. Find details over at Also, check out the half version, the Ortlieb Frame-Pack RC Top Tube.




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