Waterproof zippers, how well do they work?
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David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Waterproof zippers, how well do they work? on 02/07/2012 11:06:56 MST Print View

Anyone have experience with waterproof zippers they would like to share?

Ease of use, durability, water resistance?

Michael Duke
(mpd1690) - F
Positive Experience on 02/07/2012 11:13:01 MST Print View

I've used a waterproof zipper on a pack hip belt pocket I made. It was VX07 with a waterproof zipper. I was in a heavy sustained downpour. I thought that I would undoubtedly have water in the pocket by the end of the day. The VX07 was saturated on the face fabric. However, when I reached camp, everything was bone dry, including my phone (I use it for pictures). So definitely a positive experience for me.

Christopher Zimmer
(czimmer) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Waterproof zippers, how well do they work on 02/07/2012 11:26:04 MST Print View

They work great. I find them much easier to install then regular zippers, because of the coating they are a little stiffer and easier to sew. I find them much easier to install the pulls on as well. I would say the only negative thing about them is the price increase over regular zippers.

Colin Krusor
(ckrusor)

Locale: Northwest US
Zippers on 02/07/2012 15:10:53 MST Print View

Chris and Michael,

Are you referring to the coil zippers with the tape-like layer of urethane on top? I haven't actually worn one of this type out, but I have read complaints about their durability for high-use applications. The slider abrades the rubbery layer on top, apparently. It has been claimed that tightly mating plastic tooth zippers (like the RiRi Aquazip) are equally waterproof but more durable (although much more expensive). I can't provide any evidence for or against these arguments, just thought I would pass them along.

zip

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Waterproof zippers, how well do they work? on 02/07/2012 15:22:00 MST Print View

Hi Dave

They can be a real drag to do up ... especially in the cold.
Meant literally.

Cheers

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
On a tent? on 02/07/2012 15:31:06 MST Print View

How about on a tarp/tent?

Replace the zipper and flap on a shelter with a rubber coated zipper?

Martin RJ Carpenter
(MartinCarpenter) - F
Water resistance on 02/07/2012 15:57:32 MST Print View

CF water resistance, the RIRI's are certainly meant to be notably more water resistant than the 'standard' YKK things - they've been starting to crop up in a few high end waterproof jackets in recent times. Mind you YKK seem to have some sort of actually waterproof zipper now (the aquaseal).
(Brief description of both at the top here: http://www.phdesigns.co.uk/techfab.php? , although other people using them too.).

How relevant that is if they're not going to be under stress I don't know.

Ryan Slack
(RWSlack) - F - M

Locale: Minnesota
dislike on 02/07/2012 16:53:56 MST Print View

I will not buy any piece of gear that has a urethane-coated zip. From my experience trying things on and using loaner gear (jacket, backpack, accessory pocket), they are a severe hassle. I've usually needed to use both hands to operate the zipper. I can't imagine using one for a very long zipper on a tent. Flaps are nice, if constructed to avoid snagging. No experience with RiRi.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: On a tent? on 02/08/2012 02:17:38 MST Print View

Hi Dave

> How about on a tarp/tent?
Well, that's the funny thing. I use ordinary plastic coil-coil #3 zips on my summer and winter tents. They last for ... well, I have never had to replace one, anyhow.
I gave the fabric tape a good spray with DWR at the start, and they haven't leaked noticeably yet. Yes, I do have a silnylon storm flap over the zip - sometimes it does even cover the zip!
Works for me.

Cheers

David Olsen
(oware)

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Roger, interesting on 02/08/2012 10:56:56 MST Print View

I have used mid shaped tarps with no flap and no DWR spray along the Washington coast
and didn't notice any drips. Maybe it is just the perception that a leak will be a problem? Maybe too it is in snowy/rime conditions that a flap is needed to prevent the
zipper from freezing even with a resistant zipper tape.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Roger, interesting on 02/08/2012 11:56:13 MST Print View

Same experience David

I use regular zippers, no flap, and don't seal seams either in Oregon and Washington and never noticed any drips. Many times with heavy rain and wind.

However, I don't have anything directly underneath the zipper, but you should do that anyway because when you open the zipper to get in and out water will drip down there.

And my rain jacket has a regular zipper with no flap. With coil zippers the fabric of the zipper tape almost completed blocks the opening, but this is breathable fabric. There is probably a little rain getting through, but I get way more perspiration than that so it's not significant.

One time I had an annoying drip where I sewed on a velcro strip to hold the door open. That's the only thing I worry about waterproofing. Use silicone.

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
Waterproof zipper lubricant for water tight and air tight zippers on 02/08/2012 13:50:17 MST Print View

Try using McNett Zip Tech™ Zipper Lubricant on your waterproof zippers and you will “feel” a difference in sliding both in cold and warm environments.

ZipTech

Edited by KENLARSON on 02/08/2012 13:53:10 MST.

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Regular zippers? on 02/13/2012 10:19:32 MST Print View

So if I haven't gone completely brain dead, as I understand, a couple of you use regular ol' zippers with no flap and no coating on the zipper tape on shelters....and have no leakage during rain?

What about the zipper tape absorbing and holding water? Seems an invitation for mildew if one had to pack up before it could dry...especially for kayakers where it would be packed in a waterproof bag between camps. Or, am I missing something?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Regular zippers? on 02/13/2012 10:47:55 MST Print View

I think if it's raining, regardless of flap or waterproofness, the zipper tape and all your gear will get a little damp.

Mildew normally takes days.

Mainly you need to dry things out good between trips.

If you're on a weeks long Amazon Kayak trip then maybe you need to be more dillegent?

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Regular zippers? on 02/13/2012 11:10:09 MST Print View

Yeah, that makes sense.

I like the idea of using a regular zipper over a waterproof zip in a shelter door just for the ease of use (less drag, less force needed to zip & unzip). Prior to reading the experiences here, it never occurred to me that a regular zip would suffice though.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Waterproof zippers, how well do they work on 02/13/2012 11:41:59 MST Print View

The waterproof zipper on my kayak deck bag (not sure of the brand) worked great for a while, but since I open and close it often to get my camera out it gets a workout. After a relatively short time the waterproofing parts wore out and folded back, and now it's just a regular zipper with not even a rain flap.

On the other hand the waterproof zipper on my Kokatat drysuit is great, and I understand they last nearly forever. But they are really heavy and not suited for backpacking gear.

Ultra Magnus
(Ultra_Magnus) - F
Re: Waterproof zippers, how well do they work? on 02/13/2012 16:38:08 MST Print View

How about wind resistance? I've noticed several light weight windshirt and rain jackets that use a waterproof zipper in place of a zipper baffle. I know from experience that a normal zipper w/o a baffle lets a lot of wind through, so well how does a waterproof zipper block wind? My super NOT ultra light marmot jacket is double baffled, and it's freaking awesome in cold wind. With all the "hatches battened down" (all drawstrings pulled tight) absolutely nothing gets thorough. I can't imagine SUL jackets would match that performance.

I've used waterproof zippers on a couple of previous projects, only because I thought I was supposed to. I was following other myog project guides, and they used waterproof zippers and I followed suit. I just purchased a bunch more for a 'mid project that's underway, so I guess I'll find out how well it works on something bigger. I'll be sure to get some of that zipper lube to increase its life.

BM

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Waterproof zippers, how well do they work? on 02/13/2012 17:57:12 MST Print View

With coil zippers, the zipper tape almost closes the gap

The zipper tape isn't real windproof, but I sew the fabric pretty close to the zipper teeth so there isn't much of a gap

I've never really noticed it being cold where the zipper is

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Re: Waterproof zippers, how well do they work? on 02/13/2012 18:05:47 MST Print View

Darn, this would get posted after I ordered (and received) my first-ever uretek zippers for a project ("Parcho" jacket)... Oh, well, I'll get a chance to verify your negative reviews of them :)

Rusty Beaver
(rustyb) - F

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re: Re: Waterproof zippers, how well do they work? on 02/13/2012 19:16:41 MST Print View

"The zipper tape isn't real windproof, but I sew the fabric pretty close to the zipper teeth so there isn't much of a gap"

Thanks for the additional info. I understand what you're saying here but not the following:

"With coil zippers, the zipper tape almost closes the gap"

Could you explain?