The gear you need for a Northern Lights hunt or Arctic adventure

Waiting for the aurora borealis inside the Arctic Circle can mean hours outside in freezing conditions, so you need to be prepared

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 February, 2017, 5:06pm
UPDATED : Monday, 20 February, 2017, 5:06pm

Montane Chonos Ultra Down Jacket

Although Iceland hovers around the freezing point in winter, in the rest of Scandinavia, and in Alaska, expect temperatures well below. Designed for extreme cold conditions, this goose down jacket (HK$$1,845) has deep hand-warmer pockets, and packs into its own waterproof dry bag for easy travel. RC Outfitters, Oriental House, 24-26 Argyle Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, tel: 2390 0980

Sorel for J.Crew Joan of Arctic boots

Classics of their genre, these winter boots for women (HK$1,850) from Canadian brand Sorel have a faux-fur cuff, a suede upper and a rubber sole to keep your feet warm while you wait for the Northern Lights. For socks, avoid cotton at all costs and go for merino wool.

J,Crew, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central, tel: 2628 5611

Sony DSC-RX100 V

To take good images of the Northern Lights you need to be able to manually control a camera’s focus, aperture, ISO and shutter speed. Sony’s latest high-end compact (HK$8,690) goes all the way down to f/1.8 and its three-inch tilt-angle screen is handy for composing the image (and even aurora selfies), though its metal body does rather soak up the Arctic cold.

Sony Store, 16 / F, East Point Centre (Old Wing), 555 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2882 0101

Manfrotto BeFree Travel Tripod

If you want any kind of image of the Northern Lights, you’re going to need a tripod. With a ball head that’s flexible and easy to adjust, this collapsible aluminium tripod (HK$1,590) weighs 1.4kg and extends to 1.4 metres for eye-level composing. It comes with a ¼-inch screw to attach to any camera, and a padded shoulder bag.

Yaktrax Walker Snow Grips

The Northern Lights zones are packed with ill-prepared travellers slipping and falling. Attached to any shoes simply by pulling them over the sole, these traction devices (HK$87) give you a surprisingly large amount of grip even when walking on ice. If used with shoes or short-rise hiking boots, consider also getting snow gaiters.

Seven travel-friendly binoculars and backpack telescopes for stargazing on the go

Polar Buff

An absolute must in any kind of cold, this microfibre tubular garment (HK$275) fits around the neck to keep body heat in and cold air out. It’s so much more effective than a scarf, best paired with a thick woolly hat and, if it’s below freezing or there’s strong wind about, a balaclava.

Outdoor Research PL100 gloves

You need thick mittens when outside in the Arctic Circle, with liner gloves underneath not only to keep warm but to operate a camera without exposing any skin. These liner gloves (HK$250) can be worn underneath any bigger gloves, and a conduction sensor on the index finger and thumb means you can operate a camera’s (or phone’s) touch screen.

Round The World, 51 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, tel: 27456988

Where to find and how to photograph the Northern Lights