The zippers on our tent doors started giving us problems in Bolivia. The zippers would no longer close without leaving large gaps between the teeth. Five days ago one of the zippers totally failed. The teeth started to unravel mid zipper so the door would only close halfway.
So there we were on the Altiplano, with freezing temps and a howling wind. The mesh may not be much but it keeps some of the wind and sand from whipping through the tent. With one door half open and the other with significant gaps in closure, we had a couple of long nights.
Our tent, the Nemo Losi 3, won Gear Of The Year award by Outside and Best All-Around 3 Person tent from Backpacker. We are now questioning the rigor with which tents are tested for these awards. In many ways, the Nemo Losi 3 is a great tent (size to weight ratio, weatherproofness, pole and stake quality, large outer vestibules)…except for the zippers, which are crap. And unfortunately, zipper function is pretty important in overall tent performance.
Our Nemo Losi 3 has been with us for only 5 months. We’ve slept in it approximately 85 nights. Admittedly, we are hard on our gear. But we have high expectations for an award winning tent that retails for $350 and comes with glowing recommendations. To compare, our previous tent, the Marmot Titan 3, was with us on the bikes for over a year and was used for about three years previously on camping trips. Its zippers still worked great.
We arrived yesterday in the city of Jujuy in northern Argentina with the sole goal of finding someone to sew new zippers on the tent doors. After asking around we found Jesus at a saddle shop who said he could fix it. It’s two weeks before Christmas, we’re confident our tent is in good hands!
12 hours and 300 pesos ($25) later, we have a tent with doors that close! Hooray!
I love how we can get most things fixed. It’s frustrating sometimes because it’s nearly impossible to find high quality gear replacements, but if what we have is repairable there’s someone down here who can fix it.