Home Gear The Ubiquitous Zipper: Lube it – before you use it!

The Ubiquitous Zipper: Lube it – before you use it!


Article by Selene Muldowney

The day started out perfectly perfect – the sun was shining, the tide was cooperative, and the beach was a welcoming sight. Aside from the tiny beads of sweat pooling on my forehead as I helped lug my husband’s gear down the steep path from the parking lot to the beach – I felt content. I wasn’t going to dive this trip and instead would be the beach “wench” – but spending time with the hubby nonetheless.

Rick Stratton Diving!

Everything was going well except the part right before the dive started.

Cue the zipper fail (along with all my dreams and aspirations of catching a lingcod for dinner). The zipper wouldn’t budge. I pulled, tugged, and coaxed this primitive yet absolutely necessary clothing accessory. A century ago our ancestors envisioned this apparatus with interlocking teeth innovative and futuristic; yet today, fully positioned as a practical element of everyday use, was perplexing me. This zipper was full of potential, waiting to be done and undone. Not today.

Sweat began to drip off my forehead as I continued the grim task of closing the zipper on my husband’s dry suit. His cheer had left as his patience was swallowed by the incoming tide. Time was not on our side – we had 30 minutes – maybe 29 now and the clock was ticking. Frantically I vigorously challenged my brain as Isought to fix this dilemma – perhaps a sacrifice to the ocean gods?

In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t the end of the world, but I began to think about how to mitigate this situation in the future. One more try – one tug and some sacrificial offerings – and voilà – the zipper closed!

The dive may have been cut a few minutes short but we were on our way – or so we thought. Are you serious? The clasp on my husband’s bag had corroded and stuck to the hinge not allowing it to open. A few more sacrifices as I witnessed my husband melting into a pool of sweat as he wore his incredibly hot and heavy gear. Finally, we overcame the hinge and the dive continued without a hitch! We headed home back to the farm.

Upon returning to the farm we promptly washed all the gear including the zippers, latches, and hinges. The moral of the story – be prepared!

Lube it up!

Yep, greasing a zipper (plastic or metal) in advance is always a good plan. There are all sorts of products on the market from special zipper lube to bars of soap, balm, wax, or some people swear graphite works. I did not want to take a risk so I turned to a product I recently discovered and had great success with on several boots we use for hiking:

Iosso E-Z Snap – Zipper & Snap Lubricant. While Iosso is traditionally marketed to boat owners who are plagued with molded plastics, metal zippers, snaps, and hinges that stick due to dirt, grime, sunshine,and the corrosive effects of salt water,we found it a perfect solution for our outdoor hiking equipment and scuba gear. Iosso E-Z Snap – Zipper & Snap Lubricant promises to waterproof, lubricate and reduce friction on most fasteners, enclosures, boat and sail covers, wetsuits, and foul weather gear.

They promise and they deliver! We tested it on the drysuit zipper as well as several other zippers and snaps most often exposed to the elements and salt water and it worked like a champ. This lubricant is non-hazardous, no-staining, and easy to apply. They promise to protect new zippers and snaps against premature wear while restoring older fasteners making them silky smooth (their words). In all honesty, any lubricant that promises protection from premature wear is worth the cost, and while I am not sure silky smooth is the adjective I would use – slick comes to mind.

Iosso E-Z Snap – Zipper & Snap Lubricant waterproofs, lubricates, and reduces friction – every scuba diver’s dream as they dive into their wet adventures.

Tidbits of advice learned over the years: lube is important but how you use it can affect performance.

Rinse your zipper with fresh water after every dive. The easiest way to lubricate your zipper is to first close the zipper. Then run the lubricant up one side of the zipper and down the other. Open and close the zipper to evenly distribute the lubricant between the zipper’s teeth.

Be sure to follow the manufactures’ guidelines on your wetsuit, drysuit, or scuba gear when using a lubricant – Iosso E-Z Snap – Zipper & Snap Lubricant worked for us but we do suggest you test it out and make sure it works for you.

And yes we had a great lingcod dinner! Get your lube on! www.iosso.com