Introduction: Tactical Paracord Zipper Pull
This is a super simple, but useful way to make tactical zipper pulls out of paracord, heat shrink tubing, and a bit of fire.
The benefit of this zipper pull design is that it's silent - no jingling or jangling as you walk along. Additionally, the heat shrink keeps everything nice and tight against the bag, so there's no snagging loops or anything as you're walking through dense underbrush.
Step 1: Remove the Old Zipper Pull
Most zippers will still have a zipper pull on them. Some are metal, others are some sort of string or cordage, often capped by a plastic bit that functions as the actual pull (these are what I had). There's nothing wrong with these, but I wanted something a bit more streamlined.
Remove the old zipper pull by any means necessary.
Step 2: Cut Your Cordage
Next, cut your paracord into a 7.5" (19cm) length. This will be long enough to make a reasonable pull, but won't be too long and awkward to use. After you've cut your length (cut them all at once if you're doing multiples), pull the small middle cords out of the cordage. 550 paracord has 7 internal cords that you'll need to remove.
Step 3: Thread the Paracord Through the Zipper Body and Tie an Overhand Knot.
Almost finished. Thread the cord through the zipper body, making sure the two sides of cord are equal. Then tie a simple overhand knot and pull it towards the live ends of the cord, leaving a tiny bit of frayed cordage at the end. Burn the end of the knot to fuse it together. Let cool.
Step 4: Cut Heat Shrink Tubing to Length and Shrink On.
I had heat shrink tubing from Harbor Freight that worked great for this application. Cut the tubing to length and slip over the paracord zipper pull. I was just able to slip the unshrunk tubing over the knot. Heat the tubing until it's as tight as it will go. Let cool.
Your zippers are now awesome.