Zeolite: New Scent Control Magic?


There are few things in the woods that have saved more whitetails than last night’s camp chili.

Let's not go into details and just state simple facts: Deer can smell really, really well. Deer hunters are fond of chili. You can see where this is going . . .

Deer hunters worry an awful lot about odor. They also happen to produce a lot of it. It wasn’t all that long ago that hunters had darned few options for combating the nose of the critters they were chasing. There were various cover scents, unscented soap and the tried-and-true method of keeping the wind in your face.

Then things got technical. And interesting. The first carbon suits hit the market about 20 years ago and the scent-control industry was born. Today, scent-suppressing products are a major part of the hunting market. This year’s SHOT Show was no exception and the term “zeolite” was used an awful lot.

I’m not a scientist and readily admit that when folks start talking about chemical compounds and isotopes, my eyes begin to glaze over. But here’s what you need to know: Zeolites are essentially synthetic forms of carbon that are claimed to adsorb more odor and – best of all – last much, much longer than natural carbon.

Scent-Lok, the originator of activated carbon clothing, unveiled a new carbon technology they’ve dubbed “Carbon Alloy” which contains activated carbon, treated carbon and zeolite. The new combination is claimed to include 33 percent more adsorptive ingredients and able to adsorb hydrogen sulfide (a strong breath odor) by more than 300 percent.

UnderArmour also released a new scent-control line that features zeolite. Under Armour claims zeolite is able to adsorb more odor than carbon and retains 99 percent effectiveness after 50 washes. The Under Armour Scent Control line also uses a dual-attack approach. The fabric is designed to adsorb and capture odor with the zeolite and it also uses antimicrobial fibers to prevent odor.

Now here’s the question that must be asked: Does zeolite work? Like I said, I’m not a scientist. Nor have I played one on TV. But I am a deer hunter and I have used Scent-Lok (and other carbon-based products) for a long time. And I have seen definite results. Carbon does seem to reduce human odor so long as you keep the clothing clean and recharged. Is it 100 percent effective? Of course not. But does it reduce human odor? In my experience, it would seem that it does indeed. It’s not foolproof and it’s not going to keep deer from winding me on occasion. But I do believe it helps.

The downside of carbon has been in it’s relatively short lifespan. There is no debating that carbon adsorbs odors. That’s been proven. What’s been questionable is whether that carbon can be reactivated for sustained use. The synthetic zeolite may have solved that issue. If it has, this stuff could be a real game-changer.