There are many misnomers concerning activated carbon lined hunting clothing’s ability to adsorb and therefore eliminate a quantity of human odor, so let’s shed some light on what activated carbon is and does.
1. Activated carbon is one of if not the most adsorptive substances known to man.
2. Due to its high degree of microporosity, the surface areas of the primary, secondary, tertiary pores along with the exterior surface area of one gram of activated carbon has a surface area of approximately 2.17 tennis courts.
Fact: The American College Dictionary defines adsorb as: “to gather (a gas, liquid, or dissolved substance) on a surface in a condensed layer, as when charcoal adsorbs (sucks in) gases”.
Webster’s Dictionary defines adsorb as: “A process by which molecules are taken up on the surface of a solid by chemical or physical action. Large amounts of gases, for example, may be adsorbed on the surface of a porous material such as charcoal”.
3. Activated carbon is used in thousands of filtration processes for adsorption purposes and many are likely used within your home and automobile.
Even with these undisputed facts an activated carbon lined suit is not a magic bullet. It works only as well as the hunters dedication to properly care for it and use it in conjunction with other gear. The words “dedication to properly care for” immediately eliminates (a quantity of) hunters from the scent-control regiment category.
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My History with Carbon Clothing
In the mid 1990’s after talking to some respected non-endorsed bowhunters that were effectively using carbon clothing I researched activated carbon, liked what I read, saved some money, and bought a liner suit.
After a couple seasons of not getting winded I was so impressed that I begged Scent-Lok’s Greg Sesselman for two years to join his staff. He didn’t know me from Adam, but my unyielding persistance persuaded him (to get me off his back) to put me on staff. My persistence was based solely off of my belief in the product.
If you have read any of my articles over the years, you will know I am a man of principle. I have passed up many opportunities over the years to further my “career” in the hunting industry because they were things I did not believe in. Activated-carbon clothing made me a beleiver because it worked on the ultra-wary white-tailed bucks I have chased on the highly pressured public lands I hunt annually.
Without question, the proper use of an activated carbon lined suit used in conjunction with other scent-control measures on gear has raised my success rate on mature bucks more than any other factor.
I talk to many hunters at in-store promotions and at seminars that have suits and get winded. Always wanting to aid hunters in their quest, I delve into how they care for their suits, and if they care for them properly, what else they do to reduce as much scent as possible.
Every hunter I talked to made at least one of the following mistakes concerning a scent-control regiment:
1.Using leather or Cordura boots instead of knee-high rubber or neoprene boots. When is the last time you saw a pair of leather or Cordura waders? Never, because they breath and let air and water (moisture) in and out. Every fox or coyote trapper also uses rubber boots and elbow length rubber gloves to keep from leaving odor at sets.
2.They tuck their pant legs into their boots allowing air and odor to escape every time they take a step. When you properly drape the pant legs over your boots there will be 10-inches or so of carbon-lined pant legs to suck in (adsorb) that air and odor.
3.They wear their rubber boots while getting gas, walking on oily driveways, working on the farm, or other non-hunting related places. It doesn’t always have to be a human odor that spooks deer; mature bucks are often spooked by any odor that is foreign to where they survive.
4.They don’t wear carbon gloves. Just consider the odor left on everything you touch while walking in, climbing, or on stand.
5.They never wear a head cover with an attached facemask that covers their mouth and nose. When properly dressed the only portion of your body that is not covered with a carbon layer should be your forehead, eyes, and ears. You breath from your mouth or nose and those areas should be masked. Hunters tend to replicate what they see hunting personalities on TV and in videos do and most of them do not dress properly, but where they hunt it is not as necessary to be scent free.
6.They wash their carbon suits instead of properly reactivating them in a clothes dryer. This is partially the fault of the suit manufacturers because while they do mention to use a dryer for reactivation and occasionally wash a suit to get rid of physical dirt, they do not emphasize the fact that over-washing will over time cause a loss of carbon.
7.They do not properly store their suits in an odor-control container such as an air-tight bag or a Scentote.
8.They improperly wear their suits in restaurants, in the vehicle, getting gas, etc. I have witnessed this on many occasions in my travels.
9.This one is pretty much universal. They never wash their fanny or backpacks that hang in the tree with them, yet they get into them several times during a hunt and after each hunt to reload them with their bare hands. Packs quickly turn into large human scent wicks unless frequently washed in odorless detergent.
10.They hunt too low or exposed, get seen and of course blame it on their suit because god forbid they did something wrong. Every hunter does things wrong, and that is where learning comes into play. When a hunter (me included) becomes to smart to learn, he becomes ignorant and stagnant.
A scent-control regiment requires a specific type of individual and not all hunters are cut out for that type of work ethic and dedication. If as a hunter you are not willing to go through the entire laundry list of required criteria to keep your human odor as minimal as possible, don’t take getting winded out on carbon technology, take it out on yourself.
John Eberhart has never spent a dime on a hunting lease or an outfitted hunt. He hunts primarily public land and highly pressured private parcels in the Upper Midwest. Over the past 30+ years, he has killed dozens of P&Y-class bucks. He attributes his success to a tireless work ethic and an all-encompassing approach to scent control. He hails from Michigan.