Goggles are an important piece of equipment that you definitely want to have when skiing or snowboarding. Being able to see clearly and keep snow and ice out of your eyes is a necessity for safety and having fun out on the mountain.
While most ski goggles do a great job of protecting our eyes, they are not much use if they become fogged and you are unable to see through them. With new technology, many of the high-end goggles have anti-fog coatings, vents, and even built-in fans. But with all of this technology, none of these goggles can completely escape the inevitable. They will all be susceptible to fogging at one time or another.
Fogged goggles are really a pain and it has happened to most of us at one time or another. Thankfully there are some simple things that we can do to help prevent our goggles from becoming a sleep mask. To help us prevent fogging, let’s first take a look at how and why they fog up in the first place.
Why do My Goggles Fog up?
Simple science can explain why our goggles become fogged. It all comes down to condensation. If you didn’t sleep through it like me, you may remember from 4th-grade science class that when warm moist air is cooled, it produces condensation or water droplets. On a large scale in the atmosphere, it would be rain or snow!
Fog on a lense is created when there is warm moist air on one side and cool air on the other side. The warm moist air comes into contact with the cool lense and forms condensation, which are tiny little water drops that we see as fog on our ski goggle lenses. So in a sense, it is like you have a microscopic rainstorm taking place in your goggles and on the lenses.
So, now that we have had a science refresher and see how the fog is created, why does it happen to our ski goggles? First of all, our goggles are on our heads, which is the hottest part of our body, so this creates warm air inside the goggles. Our head sweats and there may also be moisture in the foam of the goggles and even just the air itself. The third factor is that we are usually skiing in cold weather, so it is cold on the outside of our goggles.
All these factors come together to create the perfect storm (pun intended). There is not much we can do about most of these factors such as our body heat and the cold weather outside, but there are some things that we can eliminate or at least mitigate.
Tips to Keep Your Ski Goggles from Fogging
We can’t completely prevent a lense from fogging, the conditions in which we wear ski goggles are just to conducive to creating condensation. There are some things that we can do to reduce the possibility and hopefully have a fun day of skiing without worrying about it.
One of the first things that we can do is purchase ski goggles that are not as prone to fogging. With new technology, there are goggles that have anti-fog coatings on the lenses that help to absorb moisture and prevent fogging. Double pane lenses will also help by putting a layer of air between the lenses to insulate and keep the temperature differences down.
Good air vents in the goggles will also create airflow and lessen air temperature differences while also allowing the moisture to escape. There are also goggles that have built-in fans that will increase ventilation even more. All of these features are meant to reduce moisture and temperature differences.
There are also products you can buy that can help to keep fogging at a minimum. There are anti-fog sprays that you can spray on the inside of your lense. These usually have some type of chemical such as alcohol or detergent that helps to absorb moisture.
I have also seen fans that can be added onto goggles to help improve ventilation. They are often made to fit specific goggles so they may be hard to find for your goggles.
Microfiber lens cloths can be great to remove condensation from your lenses if they are already fogging. It’s a great idea to carry a few in your pocket in case you need to clear your lenses. Using your gloves is one of the worst things you can use to wipe your goggles, this will only add more moisture from your wet gloves and you could possibly scratch your expensive lenses.
One of the most effective things that we can do is get into the habit of limiting actions that may create the conditions that will fog our goggles. There are also things that we can do to be proactive in preventing condensation.
1. Don’t put your goggles on your forehead or around your neck.
It is very common and I see it all the time, but putting your goggles on your forehead or even around your neck, when you are not using them creates a perfect environment for fog and condensation. The heat and sweat from your forehead or neck are trapped. If you are wearing a hat or scarf, the garment will most likely have moisture in them which will add to the conditions. Try to cut this habit out and find another place to put or carry your goggles.
2. Keep some space between your garments and your goggles.
When you are wearing the goggles on your face, try not to have any garments such as face masks, scarfs or hat tucked under or against the goggles. They will direct warmth and moisture directly into your goggles and they may also block the venting. All of these things will cause your goggles to fog very quickly.
3. Make sure the goggle vents are always clear.
The vents on the edges of your goggles are very important in reducing condensation. Skiing in snowy or icy conditions or taking a tumble can quickly lead to snow and ice in the vents. Check the vents frequently and clear them anytime they appear to get clogged with ice or snow. Don’t knock the ice and snow into the goggles, try to knock it to the outside of the goggles.
4. Give your goggles some open-air time.
Give your goggles some breaks during the day. Take them completely off so that the open-air can get to them. This allows them to dry a little and to cool down if they have become heated up from your body or face.
5. Allow goggles to dry completely.
At the end of the day, make sure you take your goggles out of any bag you may have put them in so that they can thoroughly dry. Set them in a dry place where they can dry out very well overnight. You might put them near a heating vent, just don’t put them so close that they will melt. The foam on the edges of the goggles often holds a lot of moisture so it is important to get them completely dry before your next day of skiing.
Almost everyone who participates in any winter sport that requires goggles has had the experience of their goggles becoming fogged. While it can be a real hassle there are a few steps we can take to reduce or even eliminate fogging. Hopefully, our explanation of why goggles become fogged and our tips on how to prevent fogging will help you have a nice clear day out on the mountain.
Do you have any tips on how to prevent ski goggles from fogging? We’d love to hear from you, so please leave your comments if you would like.
As a young kid, I traveled from Indiana to Colorado where I first learned to ski. Over the years my love for skiing grew and eventually as an adult I was able to move to Colorado where I can always be close to the mountains. Writing about skiing gives me the opportunity to continue to be involved in a sport that I have always enjoyed.