How to Keep Your Goggles from Fogging in Winter

Above Treeline in Whiteout Conditions

Above Treeline in Near-Whiteout Conditions

If you’re standing on a 5,000 foot mountain in a whiteout, in winter, in blowing wind, with a cliff behind you, the last thing you want are fogged up goggles.¬†Here are a few tricks I’ve picked up over the years to keep seeing straight and clear, and away from the edge.

  1. Don’t ever put your goggles on your forehead or over your hat. If you’re climbing a peak, the sweat from your brow or the moist air from your breath will freeze on the lenses.
  2. Don’t put your goggles in a backpack pocket with wet or damp gloves, hats or crampons because the moisture will freeze on them. Keep them in a ‘dry’ pocket, and wrap them up in a fleece balaclava to avoid scratching them before they’re needed.
  3. Don’t put your goggles in the pocket of a breathable jackets because the moisture permeating through your coat will freeze on them. Need I say more?
  4. Don’t let any blowing snow fall inside your goggles when you take them out of your pack and put them on.
  5. One you put your goggles on, leave them on.
  6. Zip up your hard shell/soft shell all the way up around your neck to limit the amount of moist air from inside your clothing that might vent up your neck and into your goggles.
  7. Don’t overdress or over exert yourself because you’ll generate more perspiration and water vapor that can fog or freeze on the inside of your goggles.
  8. Get a balaclava with an extended snout and lots of air holes, like the Serius Combo Clava (worn in photo above), so that moist air from your breath vents up well beyond the outer surface of your Goggles and not up inside them.
  9. Buy goggles with double lens. These act like storm windows and help prevent fogging.
  10. Get goggles that have a lot of vents along the top and bottom to release moisture that can fog and freeze on your lenses.
  11. Make sure that your googles fit correctly over your face and form a good seal on your forehead and cheeks without any air gaps around the edges.
  12. If you wear glasses underneath your goggles, coat them with Cat Crap anti-fogger. Don’t do this to your goggles, which probably already have an anti-fog coating on the inside. Another alternative is heavily diluted Johnsons & Johnsons baby shampoo.
  13. Carry a second pair of googles, just in case the first pair still fogs up! It’s probably worth it, if only to retrace your steps and get out of harm’s way.

Out of all of these ‘tips’, the most important one is the first. Most of the people I know who’ve gotten fogged up or frozen goggles on hikes, including myself, did so because they wore their goggles on their forehead.

How do you prevent your goggles from fogging up in winter?

 

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10 Responses to How to Keep Your Goggles from Fogging in Winter

  1. Rodney February 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    used dryer fabric softener or a dry newspaper. the micro dust in those will keep them from fogging up.

    in scuba diving its common to spit in your mask, the saliva slimy layer keeps from fogging up.

    • Earlylite February 25, 2012 at 8:51 am #

      I will have to try that – cool trick.

  2. Jolly Green Giant February 24, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    About 150 years ago when I was young, thin, and in shape, I was also a top notch swimmer. Swimming every day outside or in indoor humid arenas had my goggles in a state of fog. At the time there was a waxy substance we spread on the inside of the goggle which spread cleanly without leaving any smears or haze and lasted quite a long time. It worked beautifully and I’ve seen it used by scuba divers. I suspect it may work for snow goggles.

    • Earlylite February 24, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

      What is this waxy substance?

      • Bryan January 25, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

        It’s 500 psi mask defogger

  3. Jolly Green Giant February 25, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    Many moons ago….don’t recall. I would imagine you could find it at a dive shop.

  4. kaseri February 26, 2012 at 1:04 am #

    The best solution I’ve found is the Smith Turbo Fan.

  5. Mike February 28, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    Goggles, glasses, mirroes etc all fog up for the same reason; tiny water droplets condense in the imperfections on the surface of the item. This is why using a film such as deluted soap solution works, it fills in some of these imperfections and prevents condensation in them.
    The other factor is temperature. If your warm moist breath hits a very cold anything, there will be some condensation. One way to minimize this is to keep your goggles as warm as possible while not wearing them. The best way I have found to do this is to keep them in poket close to your body (wrapping them appropriately as stated above) The closer the temp of the goggles is to the temp of your breath, the less condensation there will be

  6. lostalot March 3, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Soap stops cohesion/surface tension in water so it doesn’t form droplets but spreads out in a film.

  7. Paul October 28, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    For both my glasses and goggles I use Nikon’s lens defogger. It works and the towlettes are reuse able. It is much better then Cat Crap. AND keep the goggles off your head.

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