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I understand that goggles fog up because of a rapid temperature change. In other words, goggles that have been sitting on a table outside (i.e., are very cold), when you put them on your face which emits warm air, can start to fog. Dangerous for skiing, so the conventional wisdom is to try to always not take them on/off constantly.

However, I just read another piece of advice: when you take them off, don't keep them on your head, because your head emits warmth.

But that seems contradictory... if your head emits warmth, then wouldn't keeping the goggles warmer/closer to body temperature mitigate the large temperature difference when you do put them on your face again, meaning it's less likely to fog??

Or, is it that your head is much hotter than your face, so there still ends up being a temperature difference, but in the other direction?

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When you do sports, your body needs to cool down. This is done by sweating: Your body vaporises water to cool itself down. Since your brain need a lot of blood, a "huge" percentage (something like 50%) of the heat is emitted by your head. If you wear the googles on your head, you put them into a "humid environment". Therefore, as soon as the temperature drops, they can not maintain the vaporised water. The water condenses.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ah so the issue is more that if you put goggles on your head, and then take them off to put them on your face, in that second they will straight up fog. Is that right? $\endgroup$ – james Dec 14 '19 at 23:14
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. They cool down, but are still humid. $\endgroup$ – Semoi Dec 15 '19 at 9:00
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    $\begingroup$ Actually joined this community just to correct you a tiny bit. Its actually not entirely true that 50% of the heat is emitted by your head. Well it is, but it comes with a bit of an explainer. A lot of heat is usually emitted through the head, because it is usually exposed when other bits of the body arent. If you were nude, it would be significantly less, still more than other places when you take surface area into acount, but not nearly the high percentage people believe.. So yeah, just wanted to point that out as isnt the point of the internet to correct people on tiny irelevant "mistakes" $\endgroup$ – TineO Jan 6 '20 at 9:49
  • $\begingroup$ @TineO: Thank you very much for pointing this out. $\endgroup$ – Semoi Jan 7 '20 at 7:03
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Possible Solutions (Based on experience and my reasoning):

  1. Buy goggles with at least three layers. I had both two and three layer goggles. This makes a big difference. I presume the outer layers help to keep the inner layers warmer? Hence the inner layers are less likely to condensate water vapor.

  2. Most Goggles have a vent at the top and at the bottom. This helps to keep the air moving, letting warmer air with water vapor to escape through the top.

  3. The same issue occurs with swimming goggles. I'm not sure 1 and 2 will work in the water version, but some swimmers spit into their goggles. This is not a particularly good idea for snow goggles. I would not recommend. This works for swimming googles because of the impurities in the saliva. Which will simply mean that you need to clean your goggles soon after. Anyway the whole process will most likely result in you scratching up your goggles.

  4. I presume some goggles may be made of or coated in a substance which decreases this effect. It is debatable how long this effect will last.

  5. Store your goggles inside your coat where they stay warm. While they are warm they are less likely to condensate water vapor when you first put them on. I have seen other people do this, but I can't remember being forced to doing this myself.

  6. Beware of balaclavas, neck/scarfs and coat hoods. These have a tendency to either obstruct the vents or otherwise redirect a lot of water vapor from your mouth and nose into the goggles. Where this has happened to me in the past it can be quite difficult to work out that it's the water vapor from your lungs as opposed to the skin around the eyes.

This guide looks quite comprehensive: SkiTripGuide

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The poor man's fogging prevention method is to coat the inside of the goggles (for swimming, diving, skiing, etc.) with (human) saliva. I can confirm from personal experience that this does work, at least for limited durations (~1 hour), but skiers may re-apply this almost any time (as opposed to divers). There are commercial solutions for the same purpose, which may or may not work better or for a longer time but will definitely cost more.

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Dress in layers so that you can remove layers as you warm up. As someone already said, sweating is what makes your goggles fog up.

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