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How to Stop Helmet Fogging Up & Visor Steam Up

how to stop visor steaming upAs the weather turns cold and we have more wet days, the bane of all bikers strikes – a motorcycle visor steaming up. And if you wear glasses, they’ll mist up too, double trouble. Visibility drops to zilch and riding becomes a nightmare. The simplest solution is of course to stop breathing. However, I tend to find this detrimentally affects my riding, especially on long rides…

Stop helmet fogging – the cause

Cold air, wind chill and rain dramatically reduces the temperature of your helmet visor and glasses, such that moisture in the air your exhale condenses on these surfaces causing them to mist up.

How to stop visor steaming up

Solutions

There are many solutions you can try, all of which tackle the issue in one of a few ways:-

  1. Ventilation. Increasing it and/or directing it such as to take exhaled air away out of your helmet. This is why steaming up is a bigger problem when stationary
  2. Maintaining visor surface temperature, to prevent moisture condensing
  3. Anti-fog coatings

Let’s now look at the various solutions in practice.

Open Your Visor

Yeah, pretty obvious, but opening your visor means exhaled air doesn’t hit it and the increased ventilation forces moisture away. A bit crap at high speed or in the rain and no use if you wear glasses. Most helmets have notches to leave the visor open just a bit. This is a good compromise to increase ventilation, yet still ward off the rain a reasonable amount. Otherwise a cable tie around the chin or your helmet can keep the visor open a fraction to achieve the same.

The downside with this plan is rain can seep down the inside of your visor and splash onto your glasses. Neither of which you can wipe easily and hinders visibility almost as much as fogging up.

Increase Ventilation

Helmet Vent - stop helmet foggingOpen all your vents, especially those around chin to help blow exhaled air away from the visor. If you have a removable lower chin skirt piece, ditch it to allow exhaled air to escape down. If your helmet has an optional nose guard, use it to help direct exhaled air down and away from the visor.

Similarly, with any neck buffs stopping air escape down, adjust them to allow air flow. I also find if I wear a buff over my face, it will direct my exhaled air up to my glasses causing them to steam up.

Pinlock Insert

Pinlock insert to stop visor steam upThe holy grail of anti-fogging tech. Essentially a second visor stuck on the inside of your main visor, that acts like double glazing. The Pinlock stays warmer thanks to a sealed in bubble of air between it and the main visor, so no moisture condenses on it. Pinlock visors are incredible effective, as simple to fit, generally cost no more than £30-40. They are often supplied as standard or come ready fitted on many higher end helmets. Though, they aren’t available for all helmets.

Pinlock inserts do need regular maintenance to ensure they maintain a good seal, otherwise cold air and moisture can build up between the layers.

More details on the Pinlock site.

Buy a Pinlock insert from SportsBikeShop.co.uk

Buy a Pinlock insert from FC-Moto UK

Raleri FogStop

Raleri FogStop Visor InsertsA similar insert to the Pinlock, but designed to stick on the inside of any visor. It doesn’t need the Pinlock bolts in the visor so is a good alternative to fit to any faceshield you have or for helmets where no Pinlock is available.

More details on Raleri site.

Read my full review of the FogStop inserts here.

 Respro Foggy Mask

Respro-Foggy-MaskThis neoprene mask can stop helmet fogging by fastening to the inside of your helmet and covering your mouth and nose, to guide exhaled air down away from the visor and glasses. A well rated and cheap option, but not compatible with flip up helmets.

These masks can also tackle inhalation of air pollution as well as visor steam up.

More details on Respro site.

Anti-Fog Treatments

Anti Fog TreatmentThere are a number of different Anti-fog products you can apply to your visor and glasses to help avoid them misting up. These will either by hydrophobic or hydrophilic.

  1. Hydrophobic – a soap based coating that repels water, preventing misting
  2. Hydrophilic – that attract and absorb water droplets to stop fogging

From Carnauba wax, Fogtech, Muc-Off Anti-Fog, Shift It Anti-Fog and so on. There’s even old wives tales about using dishwasher rinse aid (I had little success with this one).

The advantage with many of these is they can also be applied to your glasses

The advantage with many of these is they can also be applied to your glasses, very useful not just on your bike to avoid steamed up specs when you park up and walk inside. Also on your internal sunvisor which is invaluable in the low winter sun but equally steams up all to easily. However, most of these hydrophobic treatments are soap based and so need regular reapplication every couple of days to remain effective.

Buy Anti-Fog treatments
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Warm Your Glasses

For those that wear glasses, I find this strategy works well: When setting off, go outside into the cold and get your bike unlocked and ready to go, then go back inside to gear up. Place your glasses on a warm radiator whilst donning helmet and gloves, then put back on the now warm glasses and shut your visor before returning outside into the cold air. If your now keep the helmet shut, your glasses should remain warm enough to avoid any moisture condensing on them.WarmingGlassesNormally, I would have been outside long enough for my glasses to cool right down, so they would instantly steam up when I put my helmet on. I’m then stuck in a cycle of opening the visor to de-mist them, but cooling the glasses down so they mist up again as soon as I close the visor… With the above plan, you avoid this vicious circle, at least for a few miles.

So there you have it, a steamed up visor and glasses can now be a thing of the past allowing you can concentrate on riding. It may be cold and wet out, but with the right gear you can still have a blast on the road.

Arthur

By Arthur

Seasoned London commuter, doing my best to stay rubber side down and never stop moving forward.

4 replies on “How to Stop Helmet Fogging Up & Visor Steam Up”

I got so frustrated with my glasses steaming up all the time in winter that I got rid of them altogether, I now wear contact lenses, best thing I ever did.

Pinlock visor inserts very dangerous when they stop working well. They are great when they work, but they don’t work for long. I don’t know what caused them to stop working but they don’t last more than a few months until the seal stops working properly and you fog up the visor under the pinlock.

This is horrible because you can’t wipe it away and it doesn’t go away easily by opening the visor… you sort of have to take your glove off, get your nail under the bottom and separate it from the visor to let the air flow get rid of the fog, it’s so dangerous.

Also all my pinlocks (Of which I’ve had around 6 in replacements and various helmets) start to fog up on the actual pinlock surface around my nose where I exhale. Yes…. actually on the plastic insert which isn’t supposed to be possible.

I think it might also stop working if it ever gets wet as well, so if it’s raining and you’re going slow and need to cool down because your breath is so hot…. it’ll get wet and then stop working.

I really can’t figure it out, I think I’m just going to end up buying one every few months…. and at £20-£30 each that’s expensive! I don’t really have any other choice though.

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