Set Up & Maintenance

How To: Stop Goggles Fogging Up


It’s the Holy Grail for goggle manufacturers: the goggle that won’t steam up and cause you to go blind. We’ve seen the question around the internet a lot recently so we thought we’d answer it as best we could here: how do you stop goggles from fogging up?

It’s the Holy Grail for goggle manufacturers, but just like the sacred chalice, it’s never actually been achieved.

We’ve seen some crazy tech over the years – from Smith Optics’ fan-assisted ventilation system to the Marmite RuRoc design that claims to integrate goggle ventilation into a helmet – but in reality, just like the sacred chalice, it’s never actually been achieved. Of course some goggles are better than others, but even to top-of-the-range models will mist up occasionally.

Here’s some handy tips to stop your snowboard goggles from fogging up.

Avoid Warm Air

Goggle fog is caused when the warm air from your body hits the inside of a lens that has been cooled down by sub zero temperatures outside – the water in the air condenses into tiny droplets that cling to the lens, obscuring your vision.

Fogging often happens when you tuck a face mask or balaclava under the bottom of the goggle. Doing this channels warm air up onto the lens and will have you blind in no time.

One of the easiest ways to stop this happening is to avoid letting the warm, moisture rich air from your breath coming into contact with the inside of the goggle, which often happens when you tuck a face mask or balaclava under the bottom of the goggle. Doing this channels warm air up onto the lens and will have you blind in no time.

Instead you can just keep your chin and neck covered, like James Stentiford in this powder basics video, or invest in a face mask with a breathing hole. Or  (ladies we’re looking at you) grow a beard.

When not riding, it’s best NOT to leave them perched atop your head as that’ll channel heat and sweat from your dome and hat into the lens. The same goes for when you jump into a packed gondola after a sweaty powder run and catch every other persons’ heat and moisture – take ’em off and keep them down low as heat and condensation both rise.

Sometimes it’s just too fun to not let your goggles steam up. Photo: Rene Schnoller by Matt Georges

Keep Them Away From Sweat

Another classic reason for goggles to get all steamed up is people wearing them whilst working up a sweat, either from hiking or rolling around in powder trying to stand up. For the former, take a pair of sunglasses with you for the way up and stash your goggles in a pack (rather than your humid pocket); for the latter learn how to stand up in powder without wasting too much energy here.

Photo: Oli Gagnon

Keep Them Ventilated

All (good) goggles will come with some sort of ventilation system to keep air flowing through the inside and move warm, moist air away, normally with some sort of foam mesh at the top and bottom (though these rad Dragons now use a hard plastic grill). Obviously you want to keep them clear, so if you do end up tomahawking and rolling around in the snow give them a little check to ensure it’s still clear. Likewise make sure no face masks, helmets or hats are blocking the vents.

If they do get blocked up, be gentle! Most likely the snow will have frozen so don’t just rip it off else you’ll be taking chunks of mesh away too, a few gentle taps should suffice. And as the best way to keep goggles is by moving air through them, the faster you ride the more ventilation you’ll get out of them.

Worst case scenario

If The Worst Does Happen…

Like The Hitchhikers’ Guide To The Galaxy says: DON’T PANIC. The absolute worst thing you can do to wet, steamy goggles is mash a soggy lens bag around the interior, scraping ice and slush around and smearing every inch. At best you’ll just exacerbate the problem, at worst you’ll irreversibly damage the coating of an expensive lens.

Instead, either pack a spare lens on those steamy powder days or head over to a nearby cafe/restaurant and utilise their hand dryers (but don’t put them so close that you melt them!). You want to evaporate the water away and then use a dry microfibre lens bag to gently polish away any residue. If there’s no hand dryer then gently dab at it with some dry toilet paper until it’s acceptable.

Got any of your own tips on how to prevent or handle goggle fogging? Any brands great and keeping your vision clear? Any that are truly awful? Let us know below.

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