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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. Once 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.
  14. Buy a pair of Smith Knowledge Turbo OTG Fan Goggles which have a battery powered exhaust fan. They’re awesome.

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.

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  1. I’ve had really good luck with a Nikon product- anti fog cloth made for camera lenses

  2. I think you missed one very important point. Optimize the interface between your face mask and goggles. You want a butt seam not and overlap. At home put on your face mask then your goggles. Both in ideal position. Then use a marker to trace the bottom edge of your goggles on your face mask. Remove the face mask and trim along the line. Now when you’ve huffing and puffing up the mountain any breath that exits the mask will leak out the small gap rather than be forced into the goggles. Of course the cut makes a perfect gap to avoid exposure of skin and risk frostbite. It helps to open up the face mask breathing holes a little bit too.

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