Condensation and precipitation are part of the water cycle we learn about as children, but they can also happen inside your snowmobile helmet. You’re not going to form a raincloud in the space between your face and visor, but you can and will still obscure your vision.
Taking steps to prevent this process is vital for your safety. Why does my snowmobile helmet fog up? I’ll explain in-depth and give several solutions.
The main reason your snowmobile helmet fogs up is that the moisture from your breath creates tiny water droplets inside your helmet. With nowhere to go, the water collects on the visor, which is cooler than the air inside. The rapid cooling forces the water to condense into visible droplets like ‘sweat’ that you see on a cool drink during summer.
5 Reasons Why My Snowmobile Helmet Fogs Up
Every snowmobile rider encounters visor fog at some point.
It is a natural result of breathing, sweating, and lack of proper airflow inside your helmet.
However, there are other reasons a helmet can fog up as well.
I will explain the 5 reasons why my snowmobile helmet fogs up below in more detail so you can troubleshoot what’s happening.
1 – Breath Condensation
Humans are about 70% water, meaning our breath contains tiny droplets as we breathe.
You can see them on a cold day because they fog up when they touch cold air outside your body.
Condensation of these drops can form ice crystals on facial hair when they freeze. The same thing happens inside your helmet.
As the warm, moist air from your mouth and nose reaches the colder surface of your visor, it creates a layer of fog where the droplets condense.
These drops can be warm and liquid, like breathing on a mirror, or they can freeze into ice.
Most of the time, helmet fog comes directly from your breath.
2 – Sweat
Some visors have a separate mouthpiece. Designing a helmet this way can significantly reduce inner visor fog, but it’s not a perfect system.
Even in freezing weather, your body can heat up from exertion, causing your head, neck, and face to sweat.
Since perspiration is still a form of water leaving your body, it can and does evaporate.
When this occurs, you get the same visor fogging as you would from breathing out, though the process is often slower.
3 – Lack of Air Flow
A good helmet should have vents to let heat and moisture escape, so it doesn’t build up inside.
However, when your helmet lacks this essential feature, or the outflow vents are blocked by hair or hats, you will get fogging.
Even an extremely well-made helmet can have this issue if there’s nowhere for the water to escape.
Air movement inside your helmet helps de-fog the visor because it naturally carries away the moisture you produce.
When the droplets escape, they no longer condense on your cold faceplate, and you can see more easily.
4 – Environmental Interference
Sometimes the fog is just fog or high levels of environmental moisture. If it is foggy outside where you are sledding, you may look through a wall of fog.
Some of this may cling to your visor, but mostly it’s just around you. You can do nothing to de-fog nature, so it’s best to ride carefully or even stop and wait it out.
Too much water in the air can become trapped inside your helmet even when no fog is visible.
If this happens, it will also contribute to visor fogging. However, most winter fog is radiation fog, which sounds much worse than it is.
As the UK’s Met Office explains, “Radiation fog usually occurs in the winter, aided by clear skies and calm conditions. The cooling of land overnight by thermal radiation cools the air close to the surface. This reduces the ability of the air to hold moisture, allowing condensation and fog to occur.”
5 – Helmet Damage
If your helmet becomes foggy-looking, you may have a non-water-related issue.
From harmful cleaning products to buildup such as dust and debris, or even scratching, a few things can cause a helmet to appear foggy when it’s not. Try wiping off your visor.
If the problem persists, you may have abraded the surface by falling or dropping your helmet.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix for scratches or chemical damage, and you will need to replace the helmet.
How Do I Stop My Snowmobile Helmet From Fogging Up
Most of the time, fixing your foggy snowmobile helmet is simple. You can get helmets that have anti-fog technology built in.
For example, the style with a separate mouthpiece is excellent for this, but there are several other solutions that I highly recommend.
1 – Heated Helmet
- Meets or Exceeds US DOT FMVSS No.218 safety standards
- Lightweight (only 3.6lbs) Aerodynamic Special Engineering ABS shell has 3 large adjustable air intake ports and a massive rear exhaust combined with a multichannel inner EPS for maximum Protection and air flow for your rider.
- ELECTRIC HEATED SURE SEAL contoured and locking shield system eliminates fogging and water penetration shield comes with 9ft long silver coated heavy duty, easy to connect, 12volt fuse protected, RCA jack cord.
- Includes breath deflector & balaclava.
- COMFORT TECH wic dri liner system is extremely soft and very comfortable. Liner is also removable for cleaning or replacing
Last update on 2023-01-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
A heated snowmobile helmet has conductive strips embedded in the top and bottom of the visor.
These strips work like the defoggers on your car windshield by channeling electricity to create heat.
These clever, anti-fog helmets offer a clear view when plugged in and can run off batteries or plug into your sled.
I recommend the VEGA Helmets V-Star Snowmobile Helmet with Electric Heated Shield Evolution from Amazon.
This sleek aerodynamic, and durable helmet offers total head coverage. The electrical heated seal keeps fog out, and the wic dri liner helps soak up sweat as well.
You can order this outstanding helmet by clicking right here.
2 – Anti Fog Spray
Anti-fog sprays are less permanent than buying a heated helmet.
However, they are still an excellent solution to keep on hand in case something goes wrong, and you or a fellow rider need a quick fix for helmet condensation.
Most importantly, you can use an anti-fog spray on the go, and it’s highly portable.
If you want to learn how this strange fog solution works, I recommend watching this video from Today I Found Out.
Although they talk about eyeglasses, the principal idea and formula are the same for de-fogging your helmet visor.
3 – Hydrophilic Sheets
A hydrophobic surface, like your visor, is smooth with low surface tension. This is why it makes such an ideal place for the fog to form.
Ideally, what you want is the exact opposite, but it still needs to be clear so you can see through the area clearly.
Hydrophilic sheets can do that for you and stick easily to your helmet’s inside.
Replex explains, “Hydrophilic coatings manipulate water in exactly the opposite way as hydrophobic coatings. They have very high surface tension, so water physically can’t form drops. Instead of beading, water spreads out in a thin, consistent layer.”
Helpful Tips To Know About Why My Snowmobile Helmet Fogs Up
Although getting fog inside your snowmobile helmet is a natural process, that doesn’t make it good.
It would be best if you never rode with a fogged-up helmet as it can lead to accidents and serious injuries.
Here are a few more helpful tips to know about why my snowmobile helmet fogs up.
- You can use shaving cream as a temporary helmet defogger in a pinch. Use a clean, dry microfiber towel and a small dollop of shaving cream. All you need to do is wipe it around on the inside of the visor and then remove any excess. Although it won’t last forever, this should buy you an hour or two of safe riding.
- At least 90% of all helmet fog is from your breath. You can tell easily because it will only happen on the side of your visor facing you when you breathe inside your helmet, and you can wipe it away, but it comes back. If wiping doesn’t remove the fog, or it’s not inside your helmet, something else is happening.
- Good vents in your helmet help prevent fog by allowing moisture to escape, but it also regulates the temperature. You may not think of sitting on a sled in the snow as an activity that makes you hot, but controlling a snowmobile is surprisingly athletic.
Snowmobile helmets are the ideal environment to form fog on a visor, but that isn’t good for riders.
Most helmet fog comes from condensation. The water in your breath and sweat collects inside your helmet, evaporates, and then re-forms in larger, visible droplets when it comes in contact with the cool surface of your visor.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do about this problem. Get a heated helmet or anti-fog spray to help reduce the issue and ensure your field of vision stays intact so you can ride safely.