How to Prevent Your Ski Goggles From Fogging

The first step in minimizing fogging issues is choosing quality snow goggles with well-executed ventilation. First and foremost, you'll want to make s

Are you struggling with fogging issues on the slopes? We've covered you with tips and tricks for keeping your goggles lenses crisp and clear, A quality pair of ski goggles can greatly improve visibility on the slopes, but if they get all fogged up, it doesn't matter what you're wearing. The good news is that there are several steps you can take to avoid this frustrating situation, which we break down below. 

Let's dive in.....

Why Do Goggles Fog Up?

Before diving in, it's essential to understand why goggles fog up in the first place. The science is relatively simple: When warm and humid moisture enters your goggles and comes into contact with the cold lens, the water vapor condenses into droplets and accumulates. Many tips below aim to maximize ventilation to reduce the amount of moisture entering your goggles and minimize temperature differences between the inside of your lens and the outside environment. Other preventative measures include proper drying and storage techniques to preserve your goggle's anti-fog coating, which can go a long way in retaining long-term optical clarity.

How to Prevent Your Ski Goggles From Fogging

Fog Prevention Tips

1. Choose a quality pair of goggles

The first step in minimizing fogging issues is choosing quality snow goggles with well-executed ventilation. First and foremost, you'll want to make sure you opt for a model with a double lens—similar in concept to a double-pane window—which the vast majority of modern designs have. The frame design is also essential: If air can move effectively through the sides, top, and bottom of the goggles, condensation won't be able to build up as quickly inside. All else being equal, a goggle with more vents will fog up less frequently than one with fewer, although it's also essential to make sure that the helmet you plan to wear doesn't block your goggles' vents (we recommend trying them on together).

A final piece of the goggle design puzzle is the anti-fog coating. This hydrophilic (i.e., moisture-attracting) barrier is applied to the inside of the lens and designed to disperse any moisture across the surface so that light can still make its way through (any water that accumulates will be film-like rather than droplets, which makes it much easier to see). We've found Smith's anti-fog treatment to be particularly efficient and long-lasting, and it's featured on models from their premium I/O Mag to the budget-friendly Range. Plenty of others excel here, too, including Anon and Oakley. To maximize effectiveness, you'll want a good fit with a solid, gap-free seal at your forehead and cheeks. And keep in mind that any excess material inside your lens will impact airflow, so if you want to wear glasses under your goggles, consider purchasing prescription inserts from a brand like SportRx or wearing contacts instead.

2. Pair with a well-ventilated helmet

Goggles are just one part of the equation, and a well-ventilated ski helmet can help considerably keep air moving and you from overheating. The first indicator of overall ventilation is the total number of vents, with pricier lids typically boasting more than budget designs. For instance, Anon's top-of-the-line Merak ($320) features a generous 19 vents, while their budget-friendly Raider 3 ($90) has only six. Another critical distinction between looking out for is whether or not the vents are adjustable. Fixed vents can allow unwanted moisture and cold air inside, while adjustable vents allow you to better regulate temperature depending on output and conditions. An effective helmet venting system should direct air from your goggles through intakes at the front and release the heat out the top and back.

3. Resist wiping the inner lens

We've all been tempted to pop our goggles off and wipe snow or moisture off our inner lens on stormy days or after a fall, but be forewarned: This can cause damage. In addition to potentially scratching or smudging a pricey lens, wiping can degrade your goggle's anti-fog coating or film. As hard as it may be, we recommend allowing your goggles to air dry whenever possible. 

Many premium options include a micro-fiber storage bag or wipe, which can help blot light powder off or clear up any water streaks if the situation is particularly dire. Never scrub or use paper products like paper towels or napkins; these are much more abrasive and can damage your lens. Smith offers cheap solutions in their NoFog cloth (coated in a solid detergent to keep your lens clean) and Snow Eraser (a soft sponge to wipe away moisture). But again, leaving your lens alone when it gets wet is the safest bet for boosting its lifespan and preserving the anti-fog treatment (we cover the reapplication process below).

4. Avoid putting your goggles on top of your helmet

As we covered above, your goggles and ski helmet work as an integrated unit to move air up and away from your face. Moving your goggles to your forehead will cause the heat and moisture emanating there to fog up (remember that heat rises), so it's essential to keep your goggles on during the ski day. Suppose you're dealing with an uncomfortable fit or visibility issues from fogging or fingerprints. In that case, we've found that carefully lifting them off our faces slightly for a few seconds (a good chairlift activity) can make a difference. If it's an ongoing problem, try popping into the nearest lodge to let your goggles dry out entirely before carefully and gently dabbing or blotting any problem areas with a microfiber cloth or running them under a hand dryer (keep them a considerable distance away, as too much heat can be detrimental). 

5. Keep the vents clear of snow

Keeping your goggle and helmet vents free of snow and other debris will help them perform at their best, as any blockage will inevitably inhibit some of the venting abilities. If your ski gloves have snow, brush them off before touching your face or adjusting your helmet or goggles. After a fall, take either or both off and carefully tap them to clear any excess moisture. And again, remember never to wipe wet goggles with gloves—this will only exacerbate fogging issues and potentially cause irreversible damage to the lens.

6. Don't overdress

Overdressing is a quick way to build up excess heat, which will inevitably lead to condensation buildup. If your layering system isn't tuned correctly for the conditions, it can cause your body, face, and head to sweat more, making it harder for your goggles and helmet to keep up with temperature regulation. Our go-to ski kit typically includes a quality moisture-wicking baselayer, appropriately insulated mid-layer (fleece, down, or synthetic), and protective and breathable hardshell or uninsulated ski jacket overtop (we look for ones with pit zips to dump excess heat quickly). Those who run cold or ski in particular frigid areas may opt for an insulated ski jacket or 3-in-1 design. Still, we value the ability to shed layers as conditions (and our output level) shift.

7. Keep moving

This one might seem obvious, but staying in motion keeps air flowing and minimizes the risk of fogging issues. It's only sometimes possible, but if you're dealing with persistent temperature control issues, try seeking longer runs or shorter chairlift lines. The colder air circulation around your face will help excess moisture evaporate quicker.

8. Use a mask or balaclava that breathes well

Many skiers use a buff or neck gaiter to keep their neck and lower face covered and protected from the elements, but the downside is that warm breath can sometimes be blown up into your goggles and fog up your lens. Utilizing light and breathable design is the first step toward minimizing condensation buildup. We like Smartwool's Merino 250 for its odor-resistant properties and soft feel, and Buff's Original Multifunctional balaclava is a proven synthetic alternative that breathes very well. And a final note: You might be tempted to tuck your neck gaiter into your goggles on cold days, but this will inevitably lead to wet, moist particles from your breath making their way up and into your lens. Keep a small gap between your goggles and mask to maintain a pathway for hot air to escape.

9. Keep a backup pair or lens handy

If all else fails, having a backup pair of goggles or an extra lens is always helpful. It doesn't have to be anything fancy—if your goggles are fogged, even an ultra-cheap couple will probably be a step up in visibility and work long enough for your go-to pair to dry out completely. Bolle's Freeze is a proven budget option that will get the job done for just $35. Many high-end snow goggles also come with two lenses, so swapping them out can be a viable solution, provided the conditions allow it (some tints aren't suitable for socked-in or bluebird days). When making the change, just be mindful of limiting contact with the lens with your hands or gloves.

10. Let your goggles dry at the end of the day

Proper care and storage are critical for keeping your goggles in prime condition, and the best practice is to let them dry entirely at the end of each ski day. We advise placing them on a clean surface in a dry, warm place and letting gravity do the rest of the work. Be sure not to leave damp goggles in your cold car or buried in your ski bag overnight, and avoid using a blow-dryer to expedite the process (again, too much heat can potentially degrade the anti-fog treatment). Once dry, storing your goggles in a microfiber or hard-sided case is best to prevent dust and other debris from accumulating on the lens when not in use. This will also help limit scrapes or scratches from packing them with other gear.

11. Reapply an anti-fog coating to old goggles

If you follow the tips above and your old goggles continue to fog up, it may be time to purchase a new pair. For the DIY-inclined among us, however, it may be possible to get a little more life out of your goggles by reapplying an anti-fog treatment. Keep in mind that results can vary depending on factors like age and condition of your goggles, and there's no standardized method or product for reapplication, so it could take some time to find something that works (and again, there's a possibility that it might not for long or at all). 

As a first step, we recommend contacting the manufacturer directly to see what they recommend. Optics specialists Warby Parker and Zeiss make spray-on treatments with many good reviews Two other popular options are Optix 55's Fog Gone and EK USA's Cat Crap balm. Follow the instructions carefully and only use soft, nonabrasive microfiber cloths to work in any coating. Suppose your lenses are scratched or damaged in any way. In that case, you can try polishing with a product like Meguiar's PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner & Polish (commonly used for headlights) or PolyWatch's Crystal Glass Polish & Scratch Remover (designed for polishing watches). Still, these tend to only work on minor surface scratches. Ultimately, the only surefire way to restore clarity is to purchase a new pair or replace the lens. Still, we can appreciate the value of extending your gear's lifespan for as long as possible.

12. Anti-fogging tech: Smith's Turbo Fan and Julbo's SuperFlow

We covered anti-fog coatings above, but some other innovative fog-prevention technologies are worth calling out directly. First is Smith's Turbo Fan, featured in their tactical Outside the Wire goggle, which utilizes a small electronic exhaust fan to move air away from the inside of the lens. The unit is well integrated along the side of the goggles, but it adds a lot of bulk and gives off a reasonably polarizing and realistic look.

For those with persistent fogging issues during downtimes (such as on the lift) or if you want to wear your goggles during high-output activities like ski touring or side-country hiking, Julbo has another innovative solution with their SuperFlow technology found on premium models like their Aerospace and Airflux. With hinges on the sides of the frame, you can push the lens away to create enough separation to dissipate moisture and avoid fog buildup quickly. You'll need to make the lens back into place on the downhill, but as we covered above, fogging is less of an issue when you're moving at a good clip.

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