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I just read this article in an email from a hunting friend. It's by Michael C Corrigan at Fastestbows.com Makes me wonder if I spent to much money. What do you think??

Do activated-carbon garments really work?

I have been a bow hunter for more than twenty years; during this time I have watched the commercialized hunting arena develop.

Got a comment about this article or subject? Let us know! Read what other people are saying.

The extreme commercialization of bow hunting has, in my opinion, resulted instances where hunters have been duped. In fact, I can think of several products that are down right gimmicks and obviously seek to play upon consumer ignorance and slob hunters looking for success shortcuts.


The question has been raised: Can activated-carbon scent elimination clothing really give you an edge against the nose of this animal?
I was once asked, “What do you think is the biggest gimmick on the (outdoors equipment) market is today?” I will warn you up front that my response to the question, which follows, may be a bit painful. Furthermore, I will say that if you do find my response painful, it’s likely that you spent your hard earned wages on the product that I’m about to scrutinize.

Here goes: I believe the biggest gimmick on the outdoors equipment market today is activated-carbon scent elimination clothing that are being marketed under various brand names. You know the ones I’m talking about, so I won’t name names. I’m talking about all of them.

If you’re a bow hunter and believe in the effectiveness of these special garments, hopefully you aren't so angry that you stop reading this article. Because if you read this in its entirety, I promise that you will learn something.

There is a difference between ignorance and stupidity, and I would never dream of calling my fellow bow hunters stupid. It’s the ignorance (i.e. the lack of knowledge) factor that has led many quality and even professional bow hunters to be fooled by the claims made by the manufacturers of scent elimination clothing.

I plan to educate you, not point fingers or spit propaganda. Before I do though, I’ll tell you a bit about myself. I am a biologist by education and received my Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University. I’ve worked in the environmental protection field for more than ten years.

I have worked with various forms of activated-carbon, the same material that is used in the many brands of scent elimination clothing. Many of you have read articles by authors that claim their scent elimination clothing was pinnacle in helping them tag the biggest buck; without it, the hunt would not have been successful.

What’s new? That is a common marketing strategy used to push new equipment. Bow hunters, despite what gear they choose, are a traditional bunch. Many of us have gained knowledge on how to hunt our query and what equipment to use through word of mouth and testimonials of other perceived more knowledgeable bow hunters.

When Chuck Adam, for instance, talks or writes, I listen and pay attention. I’d be crazy if I didn’t. He is without question a knowledgeable bow hunter and we all stand to learn a lot from an experienced bow hunter like him.

The problem with these scent elimination garments is, unless you have a science background and to an even greater extent, have worked in the environmental protection / remediation profession, you simply cannot posses a clear understanding of how activated-carbon works.


Structure of coconut husk activated-carbon seen through an electronic microscope.
So, as I promised, I am going to tell you how activated-carbon works and why it is my opinion that activated-carbon scent elimination garments are ineffective. Then you can take the information presented here and make an educated decision for yourself.

activated-carbon comes in several forms and is used in many applications as a filtering or cleansing media. activated-carbon can be manufactured from carbonaceous material, including coal (bituminous, subbituminous, and lignite), peat, wood, or nutshells (i.e., coconut shells or walnut shells).

The manufacturing process consists of two phases: carbonization and activation. The carbonization process includes drying and then heating to separate by-products, including tars and other hydrocarbons, from the raw material, as well as to drive off any gases generated. Heating the material at 400–600°C (752-1472°F) in an oxygen-deficient atmosphere that cannot support combustion completes the carbonization process.

activated-carbon comes in the form of a very fine powder, which is impregnated or weaved into the textile fibers of garments. It also comes in a granular form. Both forms are used in various applications including to purify both water and air. Some of the popular drinking water filters and mechanical air filters on the market use activated-carbon as a filter media.

activated-carbon is an extremely porous material with high ratios of surface area to unit weight. One pound of activated-carbon contains up to 100 acres of surface area!

activated-carbon has a particular affinity to organic materials such as volatile organic compounds or VOC’s. Human odor is composed of different gaseous molecules of VOC’s and other chemicals such as hydrogen sulfides, which are absorbed by activated-carbon.

Think of activated-carbon as a common sponge that you would use to wash dishes with. Take a sponge and place it in a cup of water. What happens? It soaks up the water. The sponge, like activated-carbon, has thousands of little pores and channels running through it. When activated-carbon soaks up human “stink” odors, it does so through a process called adsorption.

Stinky gasses (i.e. human odors) are adsorbed into the many micro pores on and within the activated-carbon and are retained there. Now, what happens when a sponge becomes saturated?

A sponge that is saturated with water cannot adsorb any more. Hold a saturated sponge full of water in your hand and you will observe water dripping from it. When activated-carbon in a water or air filter becomes saturated it is called breakthrough.

Forms of activated-carbon





www.chemvironcarbon.com

In short, when a water’s or air filter’s filter media (i.e. activated-carbon) becomes saturated with contaminants, the filter is rendered useless and the contaminants contained in the water or air stream pass through the filter. After a while, you will be drinking dirty water or breathing stinky air until the filter is replaced. Makes sense right?

Think of activated-carbon as a molecular sponge. As is the case with any sponge, activated-carbon can only hold or adsorb so much stinky stuff. Once activated-carbon becomes saturated with contaminants, it must be reactivated or replaced entirely.

What do you do with a sponge that is saturated with water? You squeeze it to release the adsorbed water so you can reuse it. Or, you simply get a new dry sponge. Like the sponge analogy, activated-carbon must be “squeezed out” so to speak, in order to reactivate it for reuse.

Now you know how activated-carbon works. Most of the information I just provided can be found on some of the more popular scent elimination garment manufacturers’ web sites.

So far you might be thinking to yourself “Wow, activated-carbon really works”. Well, it does work, sort of.

activated-carbon is a fine filter media, but using activated-carbon as the key component in a scent elimination garment is not a practical application.

Unlike a common kitchen sponge, you can’t just leave it on the counter and let it dry out. In order to re-activate activated-carbon, it must undergo a process called Pyrolysis. To fully re-activate saturated activated-carbon, you must heat it to approximately 800 °C or 1,472 °F, in a controlled atmosphere of low oxygen concentration to reduce the possibility of combustion.

This is scientific fact and is even stated in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Engineering and Design, Adsorption Design Guide, Design Guide No. DG1110-1-2, if you’d like to check it out for yourself. This fact is not however mentioned on any of the popular scent elimination clothing manufacturers’ websites.

One of the most popular scent elimination clothing manufactures instructs consumers to simply place worn garments in a common household clothes dryer for 20 to 30 minutes to re-active the carbon in the garment. The average temperature generated by a clothes dryer does not even come close to being able to generate the extreme temperatures necessary to drive out contaminants absorbed in the many micropores and channels of activated-carbon. In fact, most residential clothes dryers only heat up to a temperature that is well under 200°F.

Those of you, whom use water filters or air filters in your homes, think about it. Why can’t you just boil your filters in hot water or throw them in the oven or microwave for a few minutes to re-activate the carbon filter media. You can’t; that’s why. You don’t own special multi million-dollar pyrolysis thermal regeneration equipment that produces enough heat to re-activate carbon. Therefore, you have to buy new filters every now and then.

Re-activating carbon for industrial uses is big business. Type in the words “activated-carbon” in your favorite Internet search engine and you will see what I’m talking about here. In order to fully reactivate the activated-carbon in one of the many scent elimination garments on the market, you might as well just throw the garment in your campfire, because the extreme heat necessary to re-activate the carbon would likely destroy the garment anyway.

Forgive my sarcasm, but I tend to get irritated when I see good folks getting duped. And as a class, I think bow hunters are a pretty good bunch. So as a product, I think all the activated-carbon scent elimination clothing products on the market are nothing more than gimmicks.

I do not believe, based on sound science, these garments are even effective the first time you use it. Think about it. Each garment would have to be manufactured and placed in a sealed, scent proof bag when shipped and remain sealed on the shelf at retail stores. This is not the case, however.

From the minute the clothing is manufactured, it begins to adsorb “stink” and continues to adsorb “stink” while awaiting an ignorant, misinformed consumer to purchase it. It is likely that the activated-carbon contained in the garment is already completely saturated with “stink” upon being purchased.

Many of the scent proof garment manufacturers somewhat acknowledge this, in an attempt to bring some legitimacy to their product. They recommend that you immediately wash and re-activate garments by placing them in a clothes dryer as soon as the product is purchased. Funny, they also happen to recommend their own brand of laundry detergent that is special made for these special garments.

As I explained above, washing and drying the garment is merely an exercise in futility. At best, the only way these garments could be manufactured and utilized effectively would be if they were designed for one time use. In other words, they would have to be disposable.

The military actually uses activated-carbon suits as a kind of chemical protection garment, but they’re a single-use, disposable garment and not intended for multiple washings.

Here is something else you should consider before purchasing one of these products: activated-carbon’s adsorption effectiveness when used in an air filter application becomes greatly reduced when it is wet. So what happens when you sweat during those humid early season bow hunts? That’s right, your clothing gets wet and becomes even less effective.

A leading manufacturer of activated-carbon garments admits that no laboratory testing has been conducted to determine the effectiveness of the clothing when it is wet from hunter’s perspiration.

So why the craze? Why are so many hunters rushing out to purchase these garments, when the science-based fact is that they don’t work?

As I mentioned earlier, consumer ignorance is one reason. I think another reason is that many hunters so badly want to believe that they can purchase something that will render them invisible to a whitetail’s or elk’s nose.

As I said earlier, many of you have read articles by authors that claim their scent elimination clothing was pinnacle in helping them tag the biggest buck; with out it, the hunt would not have been successful. I truly believe the fact that these hunters who wore these garments while achieving success, can be chalked up to being merely a coincidence. Many of the authors who wrote these type articles failed to mention they were wearing their lucky hat and that their lucky rabbits foot was in their pocket at the time.

All sarcasm aside, I think many successful hunters who wear these special garments fail to recognize that they have been consciously paying closer attention to personal hygiene techniques before every hunt.

You must understand that none of the success story articles that push these special garments are based on science studies. They are opinions; misinformed ones at that.

I’ve talked to a few technical representatives with some of the more popular scent elimination clothing manufacturers and none of them have performed controlled scientific studies to demonstrate the true effectiveness of these garments. However, they claim to have “field tested” the garments. Come on folks. How do you field-test these garments?

It is said that a deer can smell nearly 1,000 times better than humans. You cannot legitimately observe the effectiveness of these garments or read a whitetail’s mind. No one, to the best of my knowledge, has contracted a non-biased independent laboratory or university to demonstrate the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of this clothing.

It is my belief that the manufacturers of these specialty garments know what the results of such a study would show; therefore it would not behoove them to undertake such an exercise. So they just claim the garments are field tested by the product-pushing pros.

As stated earlier: This is just my opinion, but it’s one based on sound science, education and a realistic view of product marketing techniques.

Now you can form your own opinion. Good Hunting.

Biologist and environmentalist Michael Corrigan is an avid bow hunter and enjoys educating other bow hunters.

ED NOTE: Though this article does contain scientific merit, the opinions of the author do not necessarily represent the views of this web site.
 

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I doubt they would be nearly as effective as they say they are. They are basicly a military MOPP suit, and they only are good for 12 hours once opened.
 

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work for me

I really think I have more deer come from down wind side with suit on.

Do the onion test. Plce onion in hood of scent controol suit and see if it doesnt absorb scent. You can hardly smell the onion in mine and your nose is right there a smell. Not total answer but I have talked with to many good hunters that say they work.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I seam to have had great success with my scent lok but I also clean up good and watch the wind so who knows. I did kill deer before I started using the stuff. Oh well, gotta spend that cash on something.
 

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Mossyoak

One reason I bought one. One of the guys at ranch we hunt, always was seeing deer everplace on ranch he hunted. He wore a suit evertime. I know this guy well and I just felt it had to help.
You cant argue success and this guy was having it with his.
 

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mossyoakguy - Didn't you just post this same exact article a week or so ago????

My opinion/experience hasn't changed any since then - YES, carbon suits DO work, and the military issue chem suits are a MUCH more cost effective scent control option... Also, carbon suits are still no substitute for proper bowhunting hygiene, but combine the two, and prepare to fill the freezer!!!


- georgestrings
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That would be a major brain fart for me to post the same article twice georgestrings. I just read it yesturday and found it interesting. Thought the crowd here may enjoy reading it. I use my scent lok everytime I go out. But the article does make me wonder if it is really helping that much. I'm happy if it works even a lityle cuz those whitetails have one heck of a nose. So I will continue to always hunt with scent lok. If somebody else posted the same article, then I say "oops". I didn't see it.
 

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scent suit

I cant wear one when the weather is warm. One thing about good scent suit they dont breath well. If it not atleast around 65-70degres there no way for me.
 

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Re: scent suit

Daniel Boone said:
I cant wear one when the weather is warm. One thing about good scent suit they dont breath well. If it not atleast around 65-70degres there no way for me.
And that's probably the key to their success, they don't breath very well keeping the scent close to the body, not the activated carbon. I'd guess that a very tight weave fabric would be as or nearly as effective.

Also in hot weather wouldn't you sweat more creating more scent? I've never worn a scent-loc suit, but if it's anything like a MOPP suit you'd have to be miserable.

Maybe I'll try hunting this year in a NOMEX CVCU.:D
 

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I'm not "buying" it. Scent lock suits of any kind or brand are NOT impervious. They're not astronaut suits that are air tight and do not allow scent to escape.

However, they would assist in covering up some human scent. The fact that they do assist in covering up some scent helps, but that is certainly no "easy out" for lazy hunting in not paying attention to the wind direction. You can bet your life on the fact that the game we hunt is using the wind direction....they're betting their lives on it. :cool:

When it comes to close quarters hunting there are very few "short cuts" and that goes double for bowhunters. If you're using firearms you can rely on fire power to make up the difference. ;)

Good hunting, Bowhunter57
 

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I don't doudbt that they help control your scent.The only question I have is how long will the suit last before the carbon is spent.It really is too hot during bow season to use one down here.

CB
 

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Discussion Starter #12
2 years ago I shot a nice 10 point in full velvet in North Dakota on opening day. It was 88 degrees out. I only had about a 300 yard walk from vehicle to stand. I walked in very slow with shorts and a tee shirt. No hat on till I reach my stand when it's hot. Then I put on my scent lok camo and climb up. I bought it about 5 years ago. As long as I do it this way I don't overheat like crazy. Wind was from my left and first I had a doe come in with 2 yearlings and 2 fawns. They played around for half an hour or so before wondering of to my left into the trees further. After a bit all kinds of snorting started. Then they ran back and all 5 were right under me. Well they wondered off again to my right and then Mr. nice came in from my left and met my arrow. I thought at first I must have spooked the does but they were snorting at him. Yup I still feel it helps hide my oder.
 

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is there really a point in beating a dead horse? everyone has mixed opinions, but as long as a person feels it helps them and increases their confidence then by all means use one. me personally, i'm going to conduct my own field tests; scent free control with no scent lok part of the season; then part with it. i want to see if i'm winded more with or without it. always paying attention to the wind of course. until the major manufacturers step up to the plate and offer some hard facts that they do what they say they do, we'll all just have to live with our decisions. good luck and good hunting to all.:cool:
 

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Bukhunter

deadhorse, I dont get it. This is a forum. Here where each take the advice or ideas from each other and use them in the field or in competion. I feel this is good thread and appeciate each persons opionion. Some here feel if debate or each argueing there side is bad thing. As long as one doesnt get to name calling or worst. This is good thing about forums.

I dont listen to advertisers. I listen to well known hunters or pros that devote there life to a sport. I also read everypone opionion here and make my own judgement to what I will do in the field.
 

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I started up a similar thread to this one last week (based on the same article). I wondered if we really aren't trying to "reactivate" the carbon in the suit. I wonder if tossing the suit in the dryer isn't just heating the trapped funk molecules up enough to get them to release from the carbon in the suit. I am not a scientist, so I can't say for sure, but it seems reasonable to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I missed your thread BowD, this is intersesting stuff to me. Right on the money Daniel Boone. If tons of people are having success with the stuff it's gotta help. As far as beating a dead horse I would kill it with an arrow instead. heehee
 

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sorry, didn't mean that the issue itself is a deadhorse, i just mean't that like most every other hunting product bought and sold there is some type of test, comparison, or scientific data to support the manufacturers claim of what it can do. so far the only thing i have seen is some highly paid spokespeople,(drury,miranda,knight, to name a few) endorse these. i, like many others bought into the hype and have a ton of scent lok. will i stop using it?, probably not. will i buy more?, at this point i don't know. so far the only serious scientific data i have seen is this article wich was written by an avid bowhunter, like those of us in this forum. i was just trying to express that until the makers offer their own tests and facts,we'll either choose to believe or not. i completely respect the opinions and views of others, so for me to call this thread a dead horse was out of line and i apologize. you are right daniel boone, these are excellent forums and i have gained a lot of knowledge and advice from them. so to all good luck and good hunting.:cool:
 

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In one word... YES!

I've seen more and bigger deer since using mine and have only once been busted with it on vs. all the time without it. Where I hunt, the deer come from everywhere so it is nearly impossible for me to hunt the wind. I'm either in them, or I'm not and when I am, the only wind that could help me is an updraft!

Since using my climaflex scentlock coveralls, I've had deer after buck after doe walk downwind and not blow me. Even stalked up on two button bucks downwind without getting busted! That is enough proof for me that they work... and I don't care how they work... just so they do.

Siefrj
 

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Seems like a great question to me!

It would seem to me that either the technology behind scent adsorption products is effective, or it isn't. I would think that the issue is relatively cut-and-dried. Either activated carbon does or doesn't help control scent; either activated carbon does or doesn't saturate quickly; either activated carbon can or can't be RE-activated in standard household dryers.

Though I am absolutely NOT the answer man on this question, surely there are people knowlegeable in this area that could address the questions.

There is ceratainly a vast amount of anecdotal evidence out there suggesting that carbon-based suits help contain scent, but I personally prefer to see something a little more scientifically founded than, "It seems to work for me." I can be a sucker for good marketing like anyone else, and I would love to know if I have been snookered to a significant degree.

I have to admit that I have seen more deer in my stands since using Scent-lok and Scent Blocker products, buy then again, I have also been that much more intentional in managing my scent, too. I was in non-scent soap, use unscented deordorant, de-scent my boots, gloves, etc., use appropriate cover scents, and have moved my stands up to 25' or so to help create a larger "scent barrier."

I would love to see someone with knowledge and authority in this area offer some definitive evidence one way or another on this topic.

-----
Indychris
 

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mossyoakguy - My apologies, I was thinking about BowD's thread - I knew we had recently discussed the very same article, though... I suppose there couldn't be any harm in bringing it up again, though... I believe the suits DO suppress scent, and that the dryer kinda "fluffs" them back into "freshness"... I don't have any "scientific evidence", but my experiences in the matter make me believe this way...


- georgestrings
 
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