10/22/2010

For scent elimination, is carbon out?

For scent elimination, is carbon out?
By Babe Winkelman

There’s been a lot of talk in hunting circles about carbon-based hunting clothing, which is supposed to eliminate human odor by adsorbing scent molecules. Today there are some legal questions about whether it really works as advertised; and whether the carbon clothing can truly be “re-activated” in your clothes dryer.

I’m neither a chemist nor an odor-filtration expert, so I won’t begin to speculate on the effectiveness of carbon. I’m just a straightforward hunter who has never worn carbon-based hunting clothing. I play the wind, wash my hunting clothing in Scent-Away detergent, shower with no-scent soap, and spray myself and my gear down religiously with Scent-Away spray. I use earth-scent wafers too, for an extra level of confidence.

Still, I know that I produce human scent through perspiration. Everyone does. And while I might begin my hunt as scent-free as possible before dawn, by the end of the day (especially on warm days) I believe I smell completely different to an animal – because I have perspired.

One of the perks of working in the hunting industry is being in-the-know when new, exciting hunting gear comes out – sometimes even before it gets to the stores. One of our partners on the “Outdoor Secrets” television hunting show is Hunter’s Specialties. They recently hosted their annual Pro Staff meeting in Missouri, where they unveiled an impressive new line of odor-control hunting clothing called Scent-Away Tek 4.

Scent-Away Tek 4 puts odor control where it’s needed… right next to the skin. It’s a base layer. The clothing uses silver anti-microbial yarns that basically inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria. That’s really what “B.O.” or body odor is: bacteria that’s allowed to multiply and form a colony. 10 bacteria become 20, which become 200, which become 200,000 and begin stinking to high heaven!

When perspiration hits the Tek 4 material, the silver basically says to the sweat [on a chemical-reaction level] “OK, you bacteria aren’t going to multiply on my watch!” This means you can sweat like crazy in this base layer and not stink it up like you would with non-silver clothing.

Now there have been other silver-based clothes out there, but a bunch of them just treat the clothing with silver spray or silver immersion. This works for a while, but with treated material the silver can get washed away after just a handful of wash cycles. With Tek 4, the silver is literally bonded into the threads and it lasts for the whole life of the garment, and there’s up to 33% more silver than other brands. It works as good the day you buy it as the day you wear it out.

In addition to the silver, Tek 4 helps keep your odor controlled through moisture management. This stuff is extremely breathable, so it wicks the moisture away from your skin to keep you dry and comfortable. Plus, because silver is one of the most thermally-conductive elements on the planet, Tek 4 helps keep you warm during those frigid November deer hunts. As for comfort, I can only tell you this… I’m wearing it as my PJs at night because it’s like putting on silk.

I’m anxious to make Tek 4 standard equipment any time I’m hunting big game. I’ll take any edge I can to outwit the keen noses of deer, elk, coyotes and more. Like I said before, I play the wind and believe it’s the most critical thing a hunter can do to succeed. But shifting breezes and thermal currents can turn a perfect stand site into a bad one in the blink of an eye. That’s why I’m always thankful for companies like Hunter’s Specialties – who take a scientific approach to scent control. Tek 4 clothing with silver technology, combined with my go-to Scent-Away spray, hand wipes and wafers, will make smell as invisible as possible during this year’s hunting season. And this hunter can tell you… I can hardly wait!

Good Hunting!

Babe Winkelman is a nationally-known outdoorsman who has taught people to fish and hunt for nearly 30 years. Watch his award-winning “Good Fishing” and “Outdoor Secrets” television shows on Versus (VS.), Fox Sports Net, Wild TV and many local networks.  Visit www.winkelman.com for air times where you live.