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I wear full sun protection when I ride, including sunglasses and a tube wrap around the lower half of my face. The issue I have is that in cool weather the wrap tends to channel air from my lungs up through my sunglasses which then fog up. This is mainly a problem only when climbing hills, as at all other times there is sufficient air flow from my speed to keep my lenses free of fog. Fog obviously obscures my vision and is a safety problem.

At bit of research shows many different anti-fog solutions, including soap, shaving lotion, and special liquids made just for anti-fog. The problem is, I have not been able to get a clear answer as to whether any of these are safe or suitable for cycling. The anti-fog liquids seem geared towards things like swimming and diving, as do most of the reviews. Some of these products list sunglasses as a possible application, but do not say whether they are safe to use given the many sensitive types of coatings some sunglasses already have applied. In fact, several places I have read claim one should not use certain types of anti-fog coatings as they can affect the plastics in the sunglasses or the anti-reflective coating - it is hardly worthwhile to reduce fog if creates a new problem of reflective glare or the glasses falling apart.

Note that I'm not asking for a recommendation on eye wear as this post is doing. I already have eyewear I am committed to using, and just want to know what anti-fog solutions (if any) are safe in terms of not degrading anti-reflective coatings, polycarbonates in the glasses, or the plastic in the frames.

I also already know the trick of breathing out through my mouth and don't want to use this as a long term solution as it makes my throat very dry in a short period of time.

Update: After extensive additional research I have come across a product called "FogTech". The company claims that the product "contains proprietary self spreading water absorbers dissolved in a very special carrier that can wet plastics... The unique carrier evaporates immediately leaving a transparent micro-thin coating of Fogtech..." and further claims that it is completely safe to use even if the lenses have special coatings. The only downside is that it is very expensive - as much as $3 for a single application. Any first hand experiences with this product would be welcome - how well does it work, and more importantly, how long does an application last?

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Good question, I suspect many of us have the same problem. Presumably glasses start to fog because you're travelling that much slower up a hill, and the flow of air around the glasses in not sufficient to clear the water vapour? I wonder if it would be possible to drill small, precise holes into the periphery of the lens, and if so whether it would improve air flow sufficiently to prevent condensation? Just a thought...wonder if anyone ever tried it? –  PeteH Nov 14 '13 at 23:52
    
Many cycling sunglasses already have holes in the lens incorporated as part of the design. I don't wear glasses when climbing for this reason, bearing in mind my main reason is to keep dirt out of my eyes rather than sun protection. If I do end up climbing with glasses on I do pull them to the front of my nose and this helps a lot. –  DWGKNZ Nov 15 '13 at 0:10
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Climb faster. Problem solved. :-) –  Carey Gregory Nov 15 '13 at 1:55
    
If you scuba dive, probably your instructor would tell you to spit to your mask, rub it to all over, dip the mask in the water and you'd be ready. Nothing is safer than that. That's how I & most people dive. I'm not sure if it work above water because air keeps flowing over the glass but you're welcome to try. –  imel96 Nov 15 '13 at 4:12
    
@imel96 - I thought about that too but I'm pretty sure the spit thing won't work with dry lenses. Spit on a dry lens will just dry and make it gawd awful blurry. You need the water to make that method work. –  Carey Gregory Nov 15 '13 at 4:55

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

There are several commercial products that may or may not help: Cat Crap, Jaws Quick Spit, McNett Sea Drops, Clarity Defog It

As DIY Goes: Spit, baby shampoo, bar soap or dish soap wiped over the lens and buffed mostly off the inside of the lens.

Some folks report success with all of these methods. Do they work better than nothing? Probably. Will they Work for your style of riding? Maybe.

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Will they damage the anti-reflective coating on the lens? That's my main concern. Obviously I can try any of these myself, but having had a previous pair of sunglasses that did not have an anti-reflective coating I don't want to risk it. –  Michael Nov 19 '13 at 20:02
    
Most products don't mention any effect on fog coatings except one I can see. Clarity Defog It does claim that it will not harm existing anti-reflective coatings. defogitworks.com –  Benzo Nov 19 '13 at 21:20
    
Thanks, I had not seen that one before. –  Michael Nov 20 '13 at 16:18

The answer is "they are probably safe" and "they don't work for spit".

Skiers have exactly this same problem with ski goggles and what I have learned in 50 years of skiing is that if the goggle has an built in anti-fog coating, cleaning it with anything but a mild soap will ruin what minimal anti fog coating it has. Sunglasses generally don't have much in the way of anti fog coating. I tried everything I could find and it was all a huge waste of money.

What I have found that has largely fixed the problem for me in skiing is two things.

  1. Wear a helmet. ( this probably doesn't apply to bike helmets, but ski helmets do a lot to keep the moist warm air from your head away from the goggles. )

  2. Change your jacket.

When I switched from skiing in a Goretex jacket to a jacket that actually breathes (soft shell) 99% of the goggle fogging problem disappeared. Anything that is a vapor barrier just funnels all the warm moist air from your body directly up into your face. The only WB fabric I've found that comes anywhere close to venting well enough to use with aerobic sports is eVent.

Applying this to your situation, you need a face mask that breathes better. Either that or one that some how seals to your face at the top. There is no magic goop that will prevent fogging, the only solution is to keep the moist air away from the glasses.

After you give up attempting to keep your current sunglasses from fogging, you might try a pair of these.

Casco Nordic

http://www.xcskistore.com/casco-nordic-spirit-ii-white-nordic-ski-eyewear.html

They are very expensive, wierd looking, but they are by far and away the most fog resistant eyewear available. I've used them biking and for all kinds of skiing and they just don't fog up ever.

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The problem I've had with face masks is that they're too small, and do not reach from the top of my nose to the bottom of my chin, so they usually ride down and let hot air out the top. –  Daniel R Hicks Nov 17 '13 at 13:51

You may also consider cutting small holes in your neck tube just front of your nose. This will provide an easier channel for the air to follow, forcing it down instead of up into your eyes.

There is a breed of ski masks that do the same thing, and one that comes to mind is made from neoprene, so it is quite warm. They might not be quite to your taste, but check out these (http://www.skimaskcity.com/neodanna-ski-masks/)

Another thing that I've noticed lately in my own riding is that long-ish hair that covers over the top of the glasses increases fogging. I don't know if it applies to you, but I know I need a hair cut!

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