Step 1: Know the science behind goggle fog
The first step to learning how to keep goggles from fogging up is knowing what causes goggles to fog up in the first place. Your face, being inherently warm (and heating up even further when you’re active), heats the air inside the goggles. The difference in temperature and humidity between that pocket of air and the cold air outside causes condensation on whatever separates the two – similar to a cold beer sitting on the counter on a warm day.
Except, this time its the lens right in front of your eyes as you start speeding through the forested backcountry..
The snow goggles that prevent fog the best will be ones that sit far from your face, feature good ventilation, and have lots of interior volume, meaning it will take longer for your steamy face to heat the air inside. For those of us who wear glasses inside ski goggles, our lives are just that much harder with another set of lenses that sit even closer to our face. Which is why it’s important to choose the right goggles to fit over your prescription eyeglasses.
Step 2: Become the fog
Preventing foggy goggles starts with cooling yourself off, especially your head, neck, and face. Avoid unnecessary clothing layers, and let the act of skiing/snowboarding be your sweater!
Wearing thick beanies, balaclavas, and neckwarmers are also going to trap moisture and heat from your breath and body, and drive them up through the ventilation vents of your ski goggles. So if you’re going to wear them, make sure the material does not come inbetween your face and the foam layer of your goggles, and try to keep some space around the bottom ski goggle vents.
Step 3: Monitor goggle airflow
The best winter goggles (any decent pair, really) will have a variety of vents and air pathways to keep fresh cool air coming into the pocket of the ski goggle. As mentioned above, be sure that nothing is blocking these vents, especially snow. As snow melts through the vents and into the foam, it’s only going to increase the humidity and moisture inside the goggles.
If you’re wondering how to keep goggles from fogging up, don’t brush the snow off with your fingers, and don’t blow it either. Both of these will drive the snow deeper into the holes and into your goggles (blowing will just send warm, moist air straight in with the snow – what are ya, stupid or somethin?). Instead, tap the goggles upside down to knock the powder loose from the vents.
Step 4: Attack from the rear
You did everything you could, but your ski goggles keep fogging up anyway. It’s never happened before, you swea—calm down, man! We’re going to get through this together.
Your initial reaction might be to start sticking your fingers up there and wiping around. Don’t do that. not only will you just move the moisture around, but you’ll create streaks and possibly damage the delicate space-age material on the inside of your lens.
Instead, keep a small microfiber towel in a dry pocket and dab it gently on your goggle lens, wicking up any moisture. At the beginning of the day, you may want to think about applying anti-fog spray to both the inside of your goggle lens as well as your eyeglasses (if you wear glasses under your ski goggles). Cat Crap is a common product many folks use with success, but our personal favorite are these Nikon anti-fog wipes, which apply a light, dry compound to the lens, and the three-pack will last you all season.
Step 5: Upgrade your goggles
If you’re using OTG (over the glasses) goggles and you’re still losing the fight against fog, you might want to consider upgrading your goggles to a pair that have better lens coating, ventilation, and interior volume.
Give those crumbling goggles from the late 80’s a proper snow burial and take a look at something like the Smith Knowledge Turbo Fan OTG (pictured), which has a small 2-speed fan to keep your goggles fog-free.