How to Unjam a Sleeping-Bag Zipper

A jammed sleeping-bag zipper can make for a cold night. You can crawl into your friend's bag, or fix it yourself and stop shivering.

Arrange the bag so that you have access to both sides of the zipper. For example, if you're lying in the bag, move the zipper to the top.

Cut with a knife any frayed threads that are caught in the zipper and pull them free. Gently test the zipper to see if it moves.

Pull any caught material away from the zipper at a right angle. In other words, pull it to the side, not up and down. Test the zipper again.

If necessary, pull firmly on the zipper to force it over the caught material. Holding the zipper-pull by the body rather than by the handle piece will provide more power.


  • Avoid zipper jams by aligning the two rows of teeth as closely as possible before you begin zipping. The zipper will jam if half the sleeping bag is folded under you.
  • See How to Fix a Stuck Zipper for additional zipper help.

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