Fixing Common Eyewear Problems on a Thru-Hike
Glasses fogging up? Slipping off? I’ve hiked thousands of miles in glasses and learned a few things along the way.
Choosing between glasses and contacts for a serious hike can be difficult. Each choice has its pros and cons. Personally, I’ve come to prefer glasses because I don’t have to worry about losing contacts, organizing replacement shipments, and avoiding potential eye infections in less-than-sanitary trail conditions.
Long-term comfort is especially important on a thru-hike. This article addresses common issues faced by bespectacled hikers and offers tips for overcoming them.
Un-fogging your lenses
Glasses fog up for numerous reasons: Common culprits include temperature fluctuations and your own breath hitting your lenses as you exhale. Persistent fogging is a major annoyance that will have you constantly wiping off your glasses instead of enjoying the beauty of your surroundings. What to do?
Look for glasses with anti-fog coating
In my opinion, the easiest solution is to invest in glasses with a good anti-fog coating. This coating blocks out moisture and keeps your lenses clear. If you’re embarking on a thru-hike, I highly recommend this solution.
Apply anti-fog treatments
You can also look into anti-fog wipes or sprays to apply to your current pair of glasses.
Adjust your clothing and accessories
If your breath is the main cause of fogging, some simple adjustments to your clothing may solve the problem. For instance, wearing a scarf can funnel your exhaled breath right into your lenses: Try loosening your scarf or wearing your glasses a little further away from your face.
Dealing with rainy days
Rainy days often destroy visibility. How to make the best of it?
Pack a lightweight umbrella
On long hikes, every ounce counts. So, I only bring my umbrella on hikes when I expect to need it frequently. That said, there are some great ultralight hiking umbrellas out there, so toting an umbrella along isn’t as cumbersome as you might think!
Wear a hat
A hat brim can work like an umbrella and keep water off your lenses.
Bring some contacts
I often bring some daily contacts to use on occasional rainy days. Disposable contacts generate a small amount of trash to carry with you, and you may run into resupply issues on months-long hikes. But a handful of pairs provide backup in wet conditions.
Keeping your glasses safe
There’s no doubt that breaking or losing your glasses in the middle of a 3000-mile trek would be a huge hassle. How can you improve your glasses’ odds of escaping your hike intact?
Bring a backup pair
For one thing, you can prepare for the worst. These days, I usually bring a backup pair just in case, though luckily I’ve never had to use them.
Bring a case and an eyewear retainer
A sturdy case will protect your glasses from accidental drops when you’re not wearing them. I also use an adjustable cord to secure my glasses around my neck; using an eyewear retainer stops my glasses from slipping off or getting lost.
Clean your glasses properly
Pack a microfiber cleaning cloth to remove fog, sweat, or debris from your lenses; resist the temptation to wipe your foggy glasses on your shirt since this can cause scratches.
I hope these tips help you make the most of your hike. For me, investing in a pair of anti-fog glasses has been a real gamechanger that lets me appreciate every moment on the trail. I’ve had these anti-fog Ryders glasses for a few months now and have already hiked dozens of miles in them, with great results. Do you prefer glasses or contacts for hiking? Would you undertake a thru-hike in glasses?