No, this is not Dick Cheney’s chimpanzee. Yes, he’s safer to hunt with.

In the last installment, I recommended a few inexpensive gear upgrades that shouldn’t slip under the radar. Here are three more items that I think you’ll like.

Must-Have Base Layer: Rocky SIQ Atomic Zip Mock T

Lightweight/Compact:9

Durability: 9

Cost-Effectiveness: 7 ($38-45 online)

Usefulness: 10

Innovation: 8

It’s dead and gone. Like the Mariners’ playoff chances, like the social security that someone removes from our paychecks, like Hillary’s campaign – it’s dead and gone, never to be seen again. And I can’t say I’ll miss it. Sure, it’s comfy when you first put it on, and it smells nice out of the dryer, but after an hour or two the smell of dryer sheets is replaced with stinky little bacteria, like wearing a moist body-hugging petrie dish.

Goodbye cotton. You will not be missed.

Scent-blocking, moisture-wicking technology continues to improve year after year, and at this point there really is no excuse for wearing cotton into the field. This new stuff does the job that wool used to do, but without the weight, smell, or itchy texture. Most of us can afford just one or two improvements to our hunting clothes each year, and this is the best place to start. Rocky’s new shirts are outstanding in every regard. They are comfortable, quiet, and scent-free. They are designed with the bowhunter in mind: lightweight for those August and September days, but long-sleeved to keep the brush and bugs off. The half-zipper makes the shirt easy to take on and off, and it’s nice to have the ventilation whenever needed. These shirts are designed to fit snugly against your skin so that moisture is pulled away, so if you’re like me and fit between sizes (L to XL in my case), go with the smaller size. Two of these should get you through hunting season, and when combined with a good fleece and waterproof jacket, you’re ready for whatever weather pattern flies your way.

Rocky’s scent-removal technology is permanent, the micro-suede fabric is soft and tough without attracting burrs, and there’s even a convenient zippered pouch on the left arm for easy storage of your mouth call. With a great camo pattern to boot, this shirt will make you the best looking archer that anyone has never seen.

Must-Have Scent-Prevention System: Dead Down Wind’s ScentPrevent Personal Kit

Lightweight/Compact: 8

Durability: N/A

Cost-Effectiveness: 7 ($17-45 online depending on the kit)

Usefulness: 10

Innovation: 8

Question: What is the most common odor that you have to endure from your co-workers, spouse, or hunting dog? Nope, not that. While flatulence may be the worst odor, it certainly isn’t as common as halitosis. Since we exhale every few seconds, bad breath is public enemy number one for hunters. And at 5am, everyone of us have an odor factory attached to our tracheas (and don’t for a minute think that coffee improves anything).

Everyone has a favorite line of scent-prevention accessories, but does any manufacturer offer more options than Dead Down Wind? Their Personal Hygiene Kit provides deodorant, soap, and yes, breath spray. And with a myriad of other scent-eliminating products, they can neutralize any odor this side of New Jersey. Order their toothpaste for added anonymity.

Also, if (like me) you need a shower every couple of days in the field but don’t find elk wallows to your liking, you’ve probably discovered the value of moist towelettes. Unfortunately, buying scent-controlled towelettes gets spendy fast. So my method of choice is to buy the unscented, generic brand in bulk at any drug store, throw a few into a sealed plastic bag, and wipe away when I ripen in the sun. I use four or five to get cleaner than PETA’s steak knives, then spray down with scent remover afterward. It gets the job done at a fraction of the cost, and man, a towelette bath can hit the spot when your sleeping bag starts smelling like a junior high locker room.

Must-Have Reading Material: Mini-Bible, Appropriately Bookmarked

Lightweight/Compact: 8

Durability: 10

Cost-Effectiveness: 10

Usefulness: 10

Innovation: 10

When you get socked in to a one-man tent or bivy, there’s nothing like having some words of wisdom to make your down time up time. Here are a few of my favorite passages:

Discouraged? Flip to Job, Jeremiah or Lamentations. And realize that no matter how bad your trip is going, people have perservered through much worse. Feeling lonely? Look at the Psalms, and check out numbers 23 (awesome) or 51 (David’s prayer of repentance and restoration). Filled your tag, and feeling thankful? Read the story of Joshua or Psalm 100. Pondering the world’s problems, and wondering if answers actually exist? Try Matthew chapters 5-7…it’s the most comprehensive picture of peace and goodness that has ever been spoken, and teaches me something new every time I read it, which isn’t nearly often enough.

I also pack some hunting magazines and a journal. You never know when you’re going to need some extra motivation, and if you’re anything like me, your time in the mountains is your time for introspection. Reading successful stories from fellow hunters keeps me going on cold, miserable mornings, and I like to journal in the unlikely event that something deep and profound hits me. Three such thoughts from last season’s journal:

9/14/07 When chasing elk across canyon after canyon, bring release.

9/15/07 When chasing elk across canyon after canyon, bring bow.

9/24/07 Invent bow that shoots elk from across canyon.