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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Zippers and Pliers

While planting, there's a few things you see plenty of: Peanut butter, duct tape, zippers.

If your contract isn't based out of a motel, logging or outfitter camp (often called motel show), there's big chances that many everyday life necessities will come with a zipper: Tent, sleeping bag, rain jacket...Therefore, there's a big chance than some of those zippers, confronted to the extremes of climate, wilderness and personal abuse will break.

And trust me, there's nothing worse than a zipper breaking off on a buggy night.

To avoid getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, many planters will jump in their tent, opening and closing the entrance as fast as possible to let as few little buggers as possible in. Repeated a minimum of four times a day, usually more (a tent is the perfect place to feel an urge to pee at 3AM, but there's a solution to this as well; a piss bottle!) for at least 2 months, often more, and combined with dust and rain, it's no wonder than many zippers won't zip.

Therefore, the first tip is to simply take your time. It won't be the end of the world if a few bugs get in! If you'd rather have them all dead before going to bed, use a lamp and hunt them down, it shouldn't be too hard! The same applies for anything else, from your hoodie to your sleeping bag. The label might say it will resist to -10 celsius, but if it isn't sealed, you'll shiver yourself to sleep!

But even the best zippers might finally give up after years of loyal services. It's 11PM, you're tired, the bugs won't let you rest and the chick/dude you had your eyes on just hooked up with someone else! Don't panic, you won't have to sleep in the bus/crummy/minivan yet!

Here's the trick: Simply use pliers to press the sides of the zipper. Don't press too hard, as you'll block the mechanism, but just force the sides closer, it should do the trick.

It's not a trick you can do over and over again, as you'll end up breaking the zipper permanently, but it will save your ass in case of emergency and will usually allow you to finish the season, or at least the shift before considering replacing the defective piece of equipment.

Also, here's what former planter Chomko had to add to the subject:

"Zippers often break cuz they're full of dirt. If you take Mink oil or Silicone (the kind of stuff normally used to waterproof boots) and rub it on the zipper, a cloth will take off both the dust/dirt and the oil and you'll be good to go.

Also, there are tent stores that will replace your zippers if you have a warranty on them."


Enjoy your "retirement", miss. Think of us while enjoying the "real world"...

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4 Comments:

At 9:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok i don't know how i ended up here. I'm sorta embarrased (the fact that I'm not coming back planting should have me actively avoiding these sites) but I have to share a tip I learned last year.

Zippers often break cuz they're full of dirt. If you take Mink oil or Silicone (the kind of stuff normally used to waterproof boots) and rub it on the zipper, a cloth will take off both the dust/dirt and the oil and you'll be good to go.
Also, there are tent stores that will replace your zippers if you have a warranty on them.
Have fun out there guys.
~Chomko

 
At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Victoria said...

Chomko! I found your advice useful! I appreciate it buddy. Now I have one less thing to worry about while planting. Great article. Kudos!

 
At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting how different Tree planting is in our neck of the woods. We have to scalp 12 inch square mineral soil spot, plant 10x10, break out the back of the tree hole with the shovel and all in 34-38 degree weather with a driving Oregon coast rainfall that soaks through your raingear no matter what. We rarely get plugs usually plant 2-1's or 2-2's huge 3-4 inches of bare root! No trimming, no J/L roots, bag ups weigh around 55 to 60 pounds. We all look like walking reprod out there on a 60% slope. Gotta plant at least 800 to 1000 a day to make 16 an hour. Most rookies quit first bag up. Come to Oregon if you want to see what GORILLA tree planting is all aboot.

 
At 1:07 AM, Blogger Tupperfan said...

Ha, no thanks, we plant way more than 800 to 1000 trees a day, but we also make much more than 16 bucks a day, US or CAN...

But it seems like what you do is relatively similar to British-Columbia's coastal planting.

Of course, it's a dwindling business while the Alberta planting I do, among others for client such as the Oilsands, is growing bigger and the money is still interesting. So I'll return the invitation, come to Alberta!

But then, we can also say that we do all kinds of planting up here, somewhere, from Coast to Coast, including Gorilla planting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H02ug86Bt5Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0nPnIpefrk

But I'd be definitely be interested to see the way you operate if it's not during my operating season (late April to September)

 

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