Replacing a Broken Zipper

9:35 p.m. on September 15, 2008 (EDT)
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2 forum posts

Got a tricky question for ya, as I've had trouble with it. See, I just picked up an standard issue Israeli Army backpack from a friend I made overseas, but the trouble is the main zipper is shot. Ripped at some points, lost teeth in others - bad news all around. What I need to do is replace the whole thing, but I don't have the equipment to do it.

Anybody know of a place that is able to do this sort of thing? It doesn't have a brand, so I can't send it to any brand repair shop. Also, I want to get a higher gauge zipper so this sort of thing doesn't happen again, so it'd be nice to bring it to a place that is familiar with outdoor gear so they know which kind of zipper I'd be looking for.

Point is, this pack is too good (and too rare) to just toss it and settle for another pack. I'm willing to shell out to get this thing fixed, so let me know what ya'll think.


Big Moose

10:16 p.m. on September 15, 2008 (EDT)
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3,956 forum posts

Hey BigMoose,
Unless you have the Commando SF 65 liter pack or the big LRDG 115 liter recon. pack made by Smamit, it's not worth messing with unless you want to do it just for the heck of it.
Does your pack have large curved zipper on the main opening?

All the "standard issue" IDF packs I'm aware of are easy to find at online surplus stores for around $40.00 - $60.00 USD.

The Commando SF is worth about $130.00 USD in new condition, and is a good (not great) pack for general use.
I'm not sure what the LRDG is worth, but it is made specifically for hauling recon gear, it is a huge pack with closed cell foam padding to protect sensitive gear.

Any decent seamstress should be able to replace a zipper for you, but they may charge a premium for a "once off" project like that.
Best bet would be to find a friend/relative with some sewing skills to replace it for you. IMO

Good luck!

ps- the zippers wear out quickly over there in the sand, like a lot of stuff.

3:01 a.m. on September 16, 2008 (EDT)
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1,902 forum posts

I bet Penny could do it for you. She's in Seattle, but does work by mail. I know her from another site.

ps. I edited your post for unacceptable language. Be aware this site is moderated and closely watched for inappropriate language.

8:35 p.m. on September 16, 2008 (EDT)
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2 forum posts

Hey guys,

First off, sorry about the language and thanks for checking me on that. I was in the zone and unhappy about the whole deal, so I'm glad you were there to check me.

I'm reluctant to buy a new pack since this one was given to me by a soldier, so the sentimental value is what separates it from just another pack. If it completely bites it, I'll be sure to check out those sites since the packs are diesel, but I'm willing to pay for a new zipper.

Looks like I'm calling around to tailors and seamstresses (is that right?) to find someone to do the job.

Thanks guys, you've been a great help. I'm sure I'll be back on here with more questions before I hit the AT, so talk to you soon.


11:38 a.m. on September 17, 2008 (EDT)
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Although they are becoming more rare in this throw-away society, a good shoe repair shop can replace zippers on packs. Look for one that specifically says they do purses and luggage. They have the heavy-duty sewing machines and can get the large, long zippers needed (I suggest the YKK large-tooth pack zippers for more durability). We still have 4 shops within 5 miles of me that do this work, but then I am close to Stanford University, which is a fairly international community. Well, actually, 2 of the shops are owned by the same family, so maybe I should say 3 shops, but 4 locations.

Tom, there used to be a good shop in Pasadena and one in West LA down in your area that did this sort of work. Though they may be gone now.

3:32 p.m. on September 17, 2008 (EDT)
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1,902 forum posts

Bill, A16 in WLA might take in repair work, but I'm not sure. They do send out down bags for cleaning-had mine done through them. There is a luggage store on Sepulveda that sends out repairs-I had a suitcase zipper pull fixed there.

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