Unfortunately the sands of time are catching up with me, I’m getting older and my eyes have begun to fade like most people of my age. I have recently had my eyes tested and I’ve had to get my self fitted with Varifocals.
To be fair, I’m ok with that, even though I was a bit against wearing glasses at first. I’ve been picking up cheap disposable reading glasses from local shops for a while now as close-up things such as food labels were looking a bit blurry, but a proper eye test has revealed that I struggle with long distance vision too.
It was like a revelation when I put my new glasses on for the first time and looked along the street outside the opticians. I didn’t realise how much my sight had degraded until it was restored.
I had some fun for the first week getting used to them, such as misjudging distance and bumping into things as everyone new to varifocals does, but I’m used to them now.
Something soon popped into my head. How are my new glasses going to be when I go Hiking? Can I go hiking in the rain with glasses? Will they slip down my nose or fog up? I really didn’t know the answers until I researched this, so here are my findings. I hope they help you as they helped me as a new glasses wearer and an old die hard Hiker.
Are There Specialist Hiking Glasses?
As I’d already been tested for my lenses and had my glasses made, I was probably a bit late to ask this question. My glasses were surprisingly expensive. As a previously non-glasses wearer I simply wasn’t aware of what was available in the glasses world or how much anything was going to cost me.
Were my new glasses, which looked good and worked great going to be any use for Hiking at all?
There was nothing mentioned in the literature that I received with them (literature that I could now actually read) about rain or hiking, and where I currently live in the North East of England it rains a lot.
So, are there specialist hiking glasses? It appears so, but are they specialist for hiking in the rain or for other reasons? It appears that the only benefits I have been able to find are Anti Fogging (which we’ll discuss later) and Durability (toughness).
However, something I did come across was how the shape of your glasses affects how much moisture is kept around your eyes, which will obviously affect fogging and condensation. The following video explains it far better than I could, so take a quick look if you have time, it’s very short…
What Are Anti Fogging Lenses – And Do They Work?
I managed to find the following explanation fairly quickly from the website of Vision Express a popular UK Opticians:
Anti-fog lenses have a special coating which absorbs moisture from warm air on the lens. This prevents them from fogging up. Whether you’re wearing a mask, stepping indoors during winter or enjoying a hot drink, anti-fog lenses keep your glasses clear, without you needing to stop, spray and wipe your lenses.
I realise fairly quickly that I hadn’t chosen the Anti-Fog option for my new glasses when I attended my Blood Donor’s Appointment and had to wear a mask. I was almost completely blinded by the foggy layer on my glasses after a combination of walking in from the cold outside, and my warm breath being directed upwards onto my glasses by the mask.
But if I had bought Anti-Fogging Lenses, would they have worked? I researched and read numerous reviews online and the following was the general consensus: Yes, Anti-Fogging Lenses work, apparently, and they do so by…
Anti-fog products generally work by coating lenses with a hydrophilic, or water-loving, solution. This method might seem counterintuitive because fogged lenses are caused by water! However, an anti-fog coating for glasses attracts water, making it better able to disperse the water instead of creating visible fog.
Are There Anti Fogging Treatments For My Existing Glasses?
Yes there are, but their effectiveness varies depending on which option you choose. I managed to find the following treatments for glasses that don’t already come with Anti-Fog Lenses:
- Anti-Fog Lens Coatings your for existing glasses
- Anti-Fog Sprays
- Anti-Fog Gels
- Anti-Fog Wipes
How well do each of these work? Let’s have a look at them and find out.
Anti-Fog Lens Coatings your for existing glasses
I managed to unearth a few professional coatings for existing glasses, Essilor AntiFog AR and Optifog, both from the same company and 3M™ Scotchgard™ Anti-Fog Coating. All have similar claims about their effectiveness and both are applied once only to your glasses to provide an anti-fog and anti-glare solution. The coatings are guaranteed for 2 years.
The reviews on their sites appear to show that they are effective, but I haven’t tried either, so I can’t say for sure.
There are lots of different manufacturers selling Anti-Fog Sprays to apply to your glasses, especially since the rise of Covid and the problems glasses wearers have had with fogging caused by wearing their masks.
Do they work? Apparently they do, but some work far better than others. How well they work (according to the reviews) is in no way linked to how effective they are, which was surprising.
Toulifly Anti Fog Spray is the current Amazon Best Seller at £14 for a 20ml spray bottle. It has a staggering 872 ratings at an average of 4.5 Stars. This alone says that it is indeed an effective “add on” solution if you, like me, have already bought your glasses without Anti-Fog Lenses and don’t want to pay for the permanent upgrade treatment to be done.
Anti-Fog Gel is claimed to be a highly effective and long-lasting solution suitable for a range of different eye-wear, such as glasses, diving masks, motorbike helmets and ski goggles and is used to reduce and eliminate foggy lenses.
There aren’t as many offerings of Anti-Fog Gels as there are sprays, however gels are a lot more affordable.
This one, Brightwipe StopFog Gel has a 4.5 star rating is only £4.95 for 10g (equivalent to 10ml).
Anti-Fog Wipes work exactly as you would expect. You wipe your glasses with them and your glasses don’t fog up.
Anti-Fog Wipes come in to types, disposable wipes and reusable wipes. The disposable wipes come in boxes of up to 200, and although the box is relatively small for what it is, I wouldn’t want to be carrying it around on a hike with me.
The other, reusable wipes are a buy it and keep it affair. I’m quite impressed after reading the literature and reviews on the current Amazon Best Seller, The LifeArt Anti-Fog Wipe. A single cloth that comes in a resealable bag and can be used up to 700 times. I think this one would be a better space saving idea for hiking.
It comes in at £8.95 and has a 4 Star rating from 20,000 reviews!
Should I Wear Glasses Or Wear Contact Lenses When Hiking?
If we were talking about me here, it would be an easy no, as I have only once tried to put a Contact Lens in and really didn’t like the experience so decided to stick with glasses.
However, what about you? If you are ok with wearing contact lenses and you also have glasses, then the general consensus appears to be to go hiking in your contact lenses.
The reasoning being:
- Your Glasses can slip down at inopportune moments
- Your Glasses could get broken easily on a hike
- You may struggle to keep your Glasses clean
- Your Glasses may fog up
- Contact Lenses offer wider peripheral vision then Glasses
- Contact Lenses are easier to replace than buying expensive Glasses if you damage either
- Contact Lenses will give you clearer vision on a rainy hike
So the consensus is, if you can wear contact lenses, then wear them when you are hiking, especially if it’s raining.
How Can I Stop My Glasses From Slipping When Hiking?
Stopping your Glasses from slipping when you are Hiking could be vitally important to your safety, but shouldn’t be an issue if you follow a few tips and make a few adjustments.
The following are the main reasons that I could find for slipping glasses:
- Having Oily Skin from Sunblock or Moisturiser
- Having a Wet Face from Rain or Sweat
- The Frames being too loose for your face
- The Nose Bridge being incorrectly fitted to your nose
For both the wet face and the oily skin a simple solution would be to wear an elasticated eyewear band around your head from the arms of your glasses as shown here.
Obviously the solution for loose frames and a poorly fitting nose bridge would be to either adjust and tighten them yourself, or take them to a professional to have them fitted to your face properly.
How Much Will Rainy Days Affect The Visibility When Wearing Glasses?
Wearing Glasses shouldn’t affect the visibility any more than it would for a non Glasses wearer if you take care of their maintenance. That is unless of course you allow your glasses to get dirty, foggy or covered in a film of water.
My personal visibility would be affected a lot more if I took my Glasses off and put them in my pocket than if I wore them, even if they were a little dirty. The onus is on the Glasses wearer to keep them clean and free of obstructions.
Will Wearing A Hat Help?
Wearing a hat, as long as it has some sort of peak or rim will certainly help to keep the rain off your Glasses. However, wearing a Beanie or Wooley Hat isn’t going to make a difference.
Anything that will keep the rain off your Glasses and still afford you visibility will be of help, even putting your Hood up mon your coat if you have one.
What’s The Best Way To Clean Glasses On A Rainy Hike?
From what I have read when researching this and from my few limited hikes in the rain since I got my Glasses, the answer appears to be to use a proper Glasses Cleaning Cloth regularly that has Anti-Fog treatment or properties.
So, IMHO something like the The LifeArt Anti-Fog Wipe would be the best solution for keeping Glasses clean and fog free on a rainy hike.
Can I Go Hiking In The Rain With Glasses? – Conclusion
Yes, you can definitely go hiking in the rain with Glasses. Providing you have a means to keep your Glasses clean, keep your Glasses Fog-Free and keep your Glasses on your head, then there should be no problem.
If you are able to wear Contact Lenses, they may be a preferable alternative offering many benefits over Glasses, especially for longer through hikes, but Glasses should be fine too provided you take care of them.