When I began wearing an activated charcoal suit back in the early 90s there was no decision to be made as to which garment to purchase. The only one available then and for several years thereafter was the original green liner from Scent-Lok. Those first suits were stiff, unbearably hot in warm weather and easily ripped; but by golly they worked!
Today, while Scent-Lok is still the big gun in the activated charcoal business, W.L. Gore, makers of Gore-Tex have jumped on board with their own activated charcoal fabric, called Supprescent, and Robinson Labs offers a complete line of activated charcoal clothing under the Scent-Tek (also ScentBlocker) label.
Today, clothing manufactured and sold by big names in the industry such as Browning, Rocky Boots, Whitewater Outdoors and a host of others too numerous to mention all use activated carbon technology. The bottom line is that today, when you go shopping for an activated charcoal garment, the choices before you can be mind boggling. To help you make that choice, here are some questions you may want to consider before plunking down your dollars.
*****Is there a difference in the effectiveness of Scent-Lok, Supprescent or Scent-Tek?
My answer to that is an emphatic, “I don’t know!” I do know this. All three are made from activated charcoal. All three sandwich the activated charcoal between two layers of fabric, although the process used to keep the brittle charcoal from breaking and migrating is different with each manufacturer.
Quality Charcoal Suits
I have worn Scent-Lok much longer and more often than the other two because it was the first product on the market and for years the only player. I also have tested both Scent-Tek and Supprescent quite thoroughly since they came out and have been well satisfied with the results I have obtained from each. I’ve even gone so far as to cut open a garment made from each of the three so that I could inspect them and although the bonding of the charcoal to the fabric differs in each case, that is the only difference I can see.
*****How deep are your pockets?
The original Scent-Lok suit was a green liner consisting of pants, jacket and hood. They were stiff, uncomfortable, hot and easily torn. They did however do the job. Today, the original Scent-Lok liner system has been much improved. They are no longer stiff, hot or easily torn, but they still do the job and the entire suit can be purchased for about $175.
On the other end of the price spectrum you can drop $500-plus on insulated, waterproof suits designed to keep you warm, dry and odor free.
*****How will you be using your suit?
This is perhaps the most important consideration when it comes to choosing an activated charcoal suit. Let’s say for instance that you live in the northern half of the country and that you do the bulk of your hunting during a two-week period in November, which we humans call the rut.
Temperatures at this time of year in that part of the country normally range between the teens and 50 degrees. There are dozens of activated charcoal garments designed to fit your needs, probably because you represent the largest sales base for these garments. In the Scent-Lok line alone you can choose from Scent-Lok Select, which is a Micro Suede suit that is breathable, very soft and extremely quiet; Scent-Lok Success, which is a less expensive poly-cotton line; or you can step up to Scent-Lok Supreme, which is a waterproof, windproof and yet breathable outfit designed for harsh weather.
If your plans include plenty of cold weather hunting check out the cold weather bibs and parkas with activated charcoal linings available from Whitewater Outdoors and Browning — also many are for sale right on this website!
Prefer A Leafy Pattern
In warm weather my favorites are a Leafy-wear system or Scent-Lok’s Surreal. Both are lightweight so that they are not uncomfortably warm in hot weather and both feature the 3-D leaf effect, which I have found to be the most effective camouflage going anytime that there are leaves on the trees.
Or let’s suppose that you are fortunate enough to do some hunting in various parts of the country. My own fall schedule this year will hopefully find me bowhunting whitetail in late August in Manitoba, elk in New Mexico in September, then whitetail in a half dozen or more states and provinces right on through January of 2002.
I’ll likely hunt in temperatures pushing the 80-degree mark at the beginning of the season and end up the season in temperatures 100 or more degrees colder. There will be days of rain and wind and snow and sleet and even a few absolutely perfect days.
Can one activated charcoal suit possibly do the job under all of these conditions? The answer to that question is yes. In my book the original liner is still the most versatile of all. In warm weather I can wear it under a set of mesh camouflage, in wet weather it goes under my rain gear and when the bottom drops out of the thermometer it goes over my underwear and under my heavy outerwear. Now that’s how you spell versatility in my book.
For a fine selection of scent control hunting clothing, click here.