Reviewed by: CAPT. MIKE SCHOONVELD
I’ll admit to being a vest lover. Marshall Dillon looked tough because he wore a vest, Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly character started a vest-wearing fashion trend in 1985 in the classic Back to the Future movie by wearing a down vest. I already owned a down vest and wore it because it gave me a warm “feeling” in my torso when I was hunting or fishing in cold weather.
Vests have always been a part of my cold weather layering system, but no more bulky goose down or thick Thinsulate for me now that I have the ScentLok Technologies BE:1 vest. The BE stands for Bowhunter Elite and ScentLok is known for producing gear and garments designed to minimize or eliminate human scent.
I no longer bowhunt so I didn’t get the vest for odor control – though my fishing companions appreciate the vest’s ability to control my “natural musk.” I’m not sure how the Carbon Alloy woven into the fabric of the vest works on fish smells.
The vest does have a thin layer of Thinsulate insulation between the layers of cloth to provide some built-in insulation, but also inserted between the layers are three, electric powered heat pads located in strategic areas. There’s a short cable located in the right front pocket with a male USB plug on the end. The plug will fit into receptacles in external power packs made for most cell phones.
In easy reach on the outside of the upper portion of the vest is a man-sized on/off switch. Once it’s turned on (push and hold the switch for three seconds) push the switch once more for low power, twice for medium and three times for high power. I’m not sitting in a deer stand in single digit temperatures; so for me, when fishing, the low heat setting is as much as I’ve needed.
Once the power level is selected, the vest will run for 45 minutes, then turn off if it’s not manually switched off sooner. The number of power cycles available depends on the capacity of the battery booster. I’ve ran mine three 45 minute cycles on low power and there was still juice left in my power pack.
Warmth aside, the vests are available in Mossy Oak, True Timber or Realtree camo patterns – or black, which is what I chose. The two hand pockets and the cell phone slot on the breast have zipper closures which I especially like when I’m on the boat.
These vests are widely available at many in-store and online locations. They can be ordered direct along with other quality outdoor wear and gear at www.scentlok.com.