Easy Steps To Fix Your Backpack’s Detached Zipper

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Last Updated: April 26, 2022

When a backpack zipper breaks, it isn’t very pleasant, especially when it may happen before packing for something important. The good thing is, in this article, you will find quick solutions if the zipper comes off on either of the sides.

Read below some fixes on how you can reattach your zipper again without any replacement.

Why does the backpack zipper detach from one side?

It can happen if the slider gets worse due to heavy usage or if you open or close a lot. It detaches because the bar that’s supposed to hold the pull deteriorates, and the clamp detaches from both sides or one.

If one of the tracks has an issue, then the zipper could be hanging on the other track. The sliders’ clamping effect needs to be improved for the zipper to work again.

A problem with your track can also cause the clamp to open up, which is why it’s essential to increase the slider’s clamping effect for the zipper to function properly again.

Fixing the slider when the zipper is on one side

It would be best if you had good quality pliers before you start reading further, so make sure to have one.

fix backpack zipper that came off on one side

1. Check both the tracks of the zipper and troubleshoot the fundamental problems

This is an obvious but often overlooked step.

Checking the zipper and the tracks can help you finish your job much faster instead of having to repeat the same process over again. For example, imagine a situation where the slider’s edges have widened, and the slider lost its clamping power. It may give you the illusion that the zipper on one side is perfect while the other side is detached. However, you can’t tell unless you inspect it closely.

When checking your backpack tracks, you may encounter an issue where the teeth are bent or missing. If the teeth are missing, then to fix the zipper, you will have to place a stop where the teeth runs in the track. If you place the stop correctly, it won’t go to the area missing the teeth.

On the other hand, inspecting your zipper closely may reveal the problem when it stops on the track. If this happens, you need to repair the zipper again before moving onto the next point.

2. Widening the slider by using a plier

To get a clamping effect like with a new backpack, you need to open up the sliders using your plier and undo the closings to expose the track’s end.

At this stage, you have to be very careful not to break the zipper before you can fix it. Applying a lot of force might cause the paint to come off.

If the slider is wide enough, you may proceed to the next point.

3. Reattach the tracks on the slider

If your backpack’s zipper came off on one side, you need to slip the tracks in the slider. You have two choices here:

  • Use a fork to secure the zipper
  • Use your hand to secure it

In both cases, start from the closed side of your backpack.

Using a fork is way easier than fixing the closed side with your hands. To do so, you need to place the slider on the middle thong, and the other thongs need to be inside and close to the end of the slider. Pull the fork up after placing the slider on the middle thongs.

Your task is almost complete once the slider is attached on both sides. It’s best to make sure that both sides are aligned, and the zipper works well like before. Do not pull it out from the tracks, or else you will have to repeat the entire process.

4. Making the sliders tight

Finally, pinch the sliders together until they are tight enough to hold the sides together. Pinching too with force may cause the same problem repeatedly, which means you would have to start from step 1 again.

Test out the zipper after following all the steps and make sure it runs smoothly through the teeth of the backpack. Go back to step 2 if it doesn’t go through the teeth in one go.

How to fix a backpack zipper that came off on one side

1. Lubricate the zippers’ teeth

Sometimes the teeth of your backpack may need a little help from lubricants to get it working again: everything from wax to crayons and vaseline is fine. This works well especially when getting the zipper unstuck from fabric. However, use your common sense and make sure the material used doesn’t stain your backpack or zipper.

2. Your teeth aren’t a plier

It’s impossible to use your teeth as a plier when it comes to unzipping or making the zipper tight. Using your teeth will damage the zipper and make it unrepairable.

3. Use adhesive tape to pull the zipper through the bottom

The most challenging task here is to align the tracks and threading the zipper. Adhesive tape (masking tape) can help you make the task easier by making the space smooth for the slider before it gets to the teeth.

Use small pieces of equal adhesive tape around the edges of the tracks. Leave sufficient space hanging from the track and your tape.


You may want to get a new backpack if your zipper comes off on one side. However, following the fixes above can help you reattach your zipper again without having to pay for anything.