Waterproof/Resistant Zips
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Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Waterproof/Resistant Zips on 04/17/2010 21:07:52 MDT Print View

Does anyone know of good source for water resistant zips like the ones MSR uses for the zips on their tent fly's? I'm beginning the planning stages of a MYOG cuben fly for my double wall tent and water resistant zips seems like way to go, as that would avoid the hassle of creating a flap for the zippers.

Or is there a reason I should avoid these?

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Waterproof/Resistant Zips on 04/17/2010 21:24:43 MDT Print View

Dan,

click on zippers, make your own, in the menu on the left

Party On ! 2010

Newton

Edited by Newton on 04/17/2010 21:54:27 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Perfect on 04/17/2010 21:51:59 MDT Print View

Thanks...that's exactly what I was looking for. I'm going to ordering the double sided cuben tape from Quest anyways, so it's great to find this in the same spot.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Bottom of Zipper on 04/17/2010 22:18:19 MDT Print View

Unfortunately I realized I need a 'one way separating zipper' for this fly design so I can't by zipper by the yard. Quest does sell a #5 waterproof one way separating zipper but only in the 46" length. I'll need to wait until this tent arrives to know exactly what length I need, but if it's close to 46" I could alter the design a little.

Here's what I'm replicating in cuben:
REI Fly

Edited by dandydan on 04/17/2010 22:25:46 MDT.

Konrad .
(Konrad1013) - MLife
cuben tentfly on 04/18/2010 13:20:13 MDT Print View

I like what you're doing...excellent way to lighten up any tent. I would consider it myself if I had sewing skills. But did you ever consider the see-throughness of cuben? I can recall many nights in my normal silnylon tent, where the moon would light my tent up...or when I was at an actual campsite (as opposed to backcountry) where a nearby neighbors lantern would keep me up. I imagine its something you want to consider if you haven't already. Will privacy be an issue too? I guess it's not an issue if you've ever tarp'd it, but might be something to get used to if you're used to normal silnylon tents

edit* Doh, i remember you selling your cuben refuge x on gearswap a couple of weeks ago...ignore my comments...and goodluck!!!

Edited by Konrad1013 on 04/18/2010 13:23:23 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Cuben on 04/18/2010 14:43:24 MDT Print View

My sewing skills are quite rudimentary too, but I'm going to bond/tape everything except the zippers so there won't be much sewing. Everything (guyout points, reinforcement areas etc) is going to be 0.7oz cuben and I'll just bond a few layers together as needed. I've never done something like this before so we'll see how it goes.

Regarding transparency, I think it's going to be a non-issue for a double wall tent because of the inner net tent. The transparency of the Refuge X wasn't that bad, and this fly is going to be a slightly thicker weight of cuben, plus it'll be colored cuben, plus the inner net tent will block some light. Yeah the moon might light it up a bit but I don't think it'll be a real concern in a double wall.

FWIW, here's a picture of the Refuge X with brightly colored sleeping bags inside which gives a pretty good idea how see through it is. This photo is taken a few hours before sunset on a cloudy day. It would be a bit worse in broad daylight.

RefugeXPatch

Edited by dandydan on 04/18/2010 14:47:35 MDT.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Bottom of Zipper on 04/18/2010 16:13:57 MDT Print View

Dan,

I hope your project works out for you. I also hope 46" is long enough for your needs.

Have you scrolled all the way down the "zipper" page at Quest to the zipper tips and information. HOW TO SHORTEN A ZIPPER at the bottom of the page may be of some help once you know the length that you need.

Party On ! 2010

Newton

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
WP zips on 04/18/2010 20:22:06 MDT Print View

Dan,
Am puzzled why you think you need a separating zipper, as on a full zip jacket, to open the door on a tent fly.
Should you decide otherwise, thru-hiker has #3 WP zips that are lighter than the #5.
There is one other issue, though. Besides being heavier, the WP zippers tend to have more drag, so are not as easy to operate on a tent fly as with the one-handed operation possible with a regular #3 zip with a flap.
Unfortunately, in the type of opening you have shown, it may not be possible to design a flap that will keep the water out. I have struggled with this issue for years, and elected to use differently designed openings, where the flap would keep the rain out. If I could find light, easy opening WP zips for sale to MYOGers, the problem would be solved.
P.S. Don't forget to get a double slider.

Edited by scfhome on 04/18/2010 20:22:41 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Re: WP zips on 04/18/2010 22:25:02 MDT Print View

"I am puzzled why you think you need a separating zipper, as on a full zip jacket, to open the door on a tent fly."

I'm just learning all the zipper terminology so hopefully I say this correctly. I need the zipper to separate at the bottom so I can flap open the door. I believe this zipper type is called a 'one way separating zipper' and then a zipper that opens at both ends (ie. a jacket) would use a 'two way separating zipper'. To my newbie knowledge, zipper sold by the yard can not be made to be separating.

"Thru-hiker has #3 WP zips that are lighter than the #5"

The "#3 Uretek Waterproof Zipper" from Thru-Hiker looks perfect but I don't see how I could make the bottom end separating. I'm totally new to this and I could be wrong (hence this thread) but it seems that when you buy zipper by the yard you can only make non-separating zips (ie. pit zips). Is this wrong?

If I do end up using a non-waterproof zipper and a flap, I would probably have to incorporate velcro and then hopefully the flap touches the tent to secure the velcro when I zip it up from the inside. The zippers seem like the hardest part of this project which I why I'm trying to get them figured out first.

"If I could find light, easy opening WP zips for sale to MYOGers, the problem would be solved."

Have you seen the YKK Aquaseal zipper? It's a new design of waterproof zipper that doesn't have a lot of drag like traditional waterproof zips. The downside is that I haven't seen it in light gauges yet. Helly Hansen started using these in their Odin line a few years ago and now Arc'teryx is starting to use them as well. Other than the weight they seem great, so hopefully they do a lighter version.

"Don't forget to get a double slider."

Thanks. This is exactly the type of stuff I'm likely to forget as this project is huge jump over other stuff I made (stuff sacks, custom silnylon groundsheet, pack mods).

Nia Schmald
(nschmald) - MLife
Re: Bottom of Zipper on 04/19/2010 03:18:04 MDT Print View

"Unfortunately I realized I need a 'one way separating zipper' for this fly design so I can't by zipper by the yard."

You are not likely to want a separating zipper. These are used when you want the two halves of the zipper to seperate completely, like in a jacket. In general, tent zippers always remain joined at the top. What you need are top and bottom stops to keep the zipper slider from falling off.



Unfortunately quest does not have the #5 zipper stops but owfinc does. There are was of making your own zipper stops, by melting or bending the zipper teeth but the manufacturer stops look much more professional.

Nicholas Miller
(nmiller08) - F

Locale: Montana
zipper by foot on 04/19/2010 08:43:22 MDT Print View

you can definitely do this with "non separating" zipper by the foot.

Also, you can generally make a zipper end without the stops described above by folding the open end of the zippers back on themselves and sewing it down so that the zipper slider is prevented from coming off. (though stops are nice.) I've only done zippers that do not have the water guard on them though, and those water proof zippers always seem very stiff (which would affect making a folded stop as opposed to using a metal stop). FWIW, I think thru-hiker has the crimp-stops shown above and would probably throw a couple in with your zipper order if you ask.

Nicholas Miller
(nmiller08) - F

Locale: Montana
bottom stop on 04/19/2010 08:46:59 MDT Print View

and regarding the "bottom stop" from Nia's picture above, it is possible to simply sew the zipper beyond the fabric and stitch back and forth across the zipper (depending on the machine, but I think pretty much anything will sew through a #3 coil) to make a fabric stop at the bottom. If necessary, you can cover up this area with a little patch, I think there's a description of this on Quest's website.

edit: Yeah, same page where Nia got that picture...

http://www.questoutfitters.com/zippers.htm#MAKE YOUR OWN ZIPPERS

under "zipper wedges"

Also has info on doing homemade "top stops" by zigzagging back and forth to make a thread stop. I agree with Nia though that the actual stops are nice if you can get them.

Edited by nmiller08 on 04/19/2010 08:53:11 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Bottom Stops on 04/19/2010 10:51:09 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the help. So it sounds like if I install a continuous zipper and use a bottom stop then I will be able to disconnect the zipper at the bottom and flap the door open.

In another week or so the tent that I am making this fly for will arrive, and then I'll be able to measure the original fly and get a good idea what sort of zipper length I need.

I talked to cubic tech today to get the cuben ordered. Looks like 9 meters of 'Olive Drab' 0.75oz cuben is coming my way :) Hopefully that's enough because they only sell in 9m increments.

Nicholas Miller
(nmiller08) - F

Locale: Montana
one-way on 04/19/2010 14:22:50 MDT Print View

correct about the operation...the difference between a one-way separating zipper and a two-way is that the two-way can unzip from both directions. like a jacket that has two zipper pulls so that it can be unzipped from the bottom even when it's fully zipped. There are some helpful diagrams on that Quest page.

This is different from a "double" zipper pull (where one zipper tab has pulls on both sides...to zip/unzip from the outside/inside of the tent)

Edited by nmiller08 on 04/19/2010 14:24:59 MDT.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Clarity on 04/19/2010 19:36:18 MDT Print View

Thanks. Your posting has provided a lot of clarity for me. The world of zippers can be a dark and confusing place :)

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
separating zip on 04/20/2010 00:13:33 MDT Print View

Dan,
May be missing something here, but ...

A nonseparating zip just means that you can't completely separate one side from the other, as with a jacket, as pointed out above. The zipper still does separate at one end and all the way to the point where connected at the other end.

But since the top of the zip, at the tent apex on your pic, is always joined, you don't need the two sides of the zip to totally separate. You zip down from the apex, where the zippeer is always joined for and inch or less, to close the fly or canopy entry, and back up to open it.

Or maybe I am still missing something.

If you use a nonseparating zip, cut to desired length, you have to know how to mount the slide(s) on the teeth. This is a little tricky at first, but doable once you get the idea. Instructions are not hard to find-check out Quest and OWF. I use the chicken-heart method - sew the zipper in place with the slide mounted, moving the slide out of the way of the presser foot when the work reaches it on the machine.

Have tried making zipper stops from blobs of epoxy glue, and got it to work fine. But even epoxy can release its grip, so the foldback and sew approach described by Nicholas is the most foolproof.

Don't mind being told if I am way off base here.

Sam F.

P.S. Please sew, or weld or whatever, some zips on cheap material before you begin working with that cuben. Unless you are a Wall Street broker, of course - then it won't matter.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Zips on 04/20/2010 04:09:52 MDT Print View

Sam,

That makes sense. I agree with you. I was mis-understanding zipper terminology before and not realizing that a non-separating zip still opens at one end.

I will definitely be practicing on other stuff first. I'm going to order a few extra zippers since they are so cheap and I'll practice with some smaller spinnakker and silnylon pieces I have on hand. My sewing machine is crap, so I'm

On another vein, I wonder if anyone has tried to waterproof a regular zipper? I wonder if you could just mount it backwards and then use SeamGrip or something similar to waterproof it. Perhaps the coating would just wear off from the slider though.

Dan

Edited by dandydan on 04/20/2010 04:14:04 MDT.

Nicholas Miller
(nmiller08) - F

Locale: Montana
waterproofing on 04/20/2010 10:04:16 MDT Print View

Dan, that's a really cool idea. the Seam grip might wear off, but would be easy enough to reapply. One thing is that waterproof zips tend to join very closely whereas the backing tape on a normal zipper isn't a precise fit. here's a picture of a #3 coil from thru-hiker (jacket turned inside out to show back of zipper):

zipper back

You can see there's a little space in there, but I think it would be pretty darn water resistant. Water-proof zippers are really only water resistant anyway, but they can be pretty effective, the homemade version might just be a little less water resistant. However, for an exposed zipper on a shelter (depending how much it overlaps the inner net tent) you may want as much water resistance as possible.

Make sure to post your results if you try the homemade version, I want to see it!

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - M

Locale: Cascadia
Final Zipper Decision on 04/24/2010 12:10:19 MDT Print View

The tent that I'm cloning the fly of has arrived, so I was able to measuring the original zippers. They are 36" long.

I'm now ready to order some zippers for this project. What I am wondering at this point is:

1) Roughly what kind of weight savings would there be a using #3 vs. #5 zippers in an application that requires two 36" zips? Half an ounce?

2) Can I easily shorten a pre-made zipper? (I think so)

My two zipper options at this point are:

1) Buying a 46" #5 coil waterproof zipper from Quest and shortening it by 10"

2) Buying #3 coil waterproof zipper from Thru-Hiker by the foot and then having to mount my own slider and come up with homemade end stops since Thru-Hiker doesn't sell them.

Option #1 seems a bit easier than option #2, but the main question is should I go with #3 or #5 zip. I want this fly to last years of service but I don't want to add unnecessary weight. I'm a bit nervous about a #3 but if you guys think it'll last fine with reasonable care then I'll for that.

Edited by dandydan on 04/24/2010 12:13:40 MDT.

Nicholas Miller
(nmiller08) - F

Locale: Montana
zippers on 04/24/2010 13:33:05 MDT Print View

Dan,
I don't know the weights of those two zippers, so can't help you there. However, if you're shortening the Quest zipper it will be the same amount of work as the zipper by the foot from Thru-hiker (since you'll have to re-make end stops).

Durability? I'm not sure other than to say that #3 zippers have lasted me years in tents, but I've never had one on a high tension area like your fly might be. Maybe someone with some experience can chime in.