Tech That Keeps Us Warm
I have now lived in Chicago for over eight years. Chicago-natives don’t blink when you speak of snow, ice, or temperatures below 30-degrees. (It’s when the weather is in the ‘teen temperatures' when we start our concerned chatter.) When I moved here, a large number of people warned me of the cold. Naturally being cold-natured, you would think I was concerned too. But I reasoned that millions, maybe even over a billion people live in just as cold of climate, and I would figure out a way to survive just like they have.
Moving here in May, my first summer was blissful. In swimsuits and sundresses, my friends and I biked up and down the lake, walked through the Lincoln Park Zoo, and watched concerts, movies, and world-renowned speakers in Millennium Park. But in September of that year, the crisp air didn’t hesitate to obstruct our perfect weather. I got the gear insight from friends who grew up in the area, “buy Sorel boots”, “You’ll need a down-coat”, “Hats and scarves are always good to have on-hand. Heat escapes through your head.” It was time to face the reality of Chicago’s cold.
That fall, I loaded up on gear, preparing for what became the second worst Winter Chicago had had in a century. The city shut down for a few days in December of 2013. And like I wrote earlier, Chicagoans are really resilient. If they’re staying home, it’s really cold. Those few December days I stayed in with warm socks, and sweaters. But all the other Winter days - the days and nights when it was 15+ degrees and there was a brisk breeze coming off the lake - boots, heavy coats, hats and scarves it was.
The last seven Winters that snow gear helped. But I have refused to attend a Bears game simply due to the cold. And with age, I generally find myself wanting anything that will bring the heat - literally. Always on the lookout for warmer, better, stylish, or discrete, I’ve become an authority on what keeps us warm, and what doesn’t.
Recently, and to my delight, I have come to learn about more products being developed to keep us warm. Products now electrically warm us. Basic technology has allowed these products to be safe when being used - warming and performing their utility function, without concern. What’s really exciting is I found three companies with ample products each - all three genuinely rooted in the mission to keep you warm and comfortable.
Colby, a member of Volt Heat’s C-Suite team, lives in Idaho. (Of course he does, right?!) Speaking with him a few weeks back, I got the feeling that he is absolutely excited about the quality and robustness of Volt’s products. I, on the other-hand, was more concerned with the color-ways, and where the heat-pack is hidden. After all, this is heat technology at it’s finest, but I still want to look cute. We discussed the control you can have over the varying levels of heat, the neutral color-tones that hide dirt, and where the battery parks fit in the scarfs, or coats, or jackets, or even the heated seat. I trust Colby that the quality of fabric is robust, what I really wanted to find out is if the controllers are heavy or intrusive to my pocket-space. He shipped me a version of the gear. It’s great! Ergonomically, these packs are seamless. The color is neutral, not what I’m going to wear to a winter soiree, but I’m now grabbing a Volt Heat scarf for every-day, and the heated seat for those freezing games watching ‘da Bears at Soldier Field.
I also recently met Kristen Carbone, the Founder of Brilliantly. Kristen had a preventable mastectomy and implant reconstruction. She then grew tired of being cold. Implants are similar to having a water balloon against your skin - it warms and cools with the scene around it. She found herself chilled constantly. Implants or not, being uncomfortable in an office or around town, can be distracting. Brilliantly is a discreet, app-enabled, warmer. It fits comfortably in your bra, and is heat-controlled by an App. on your phone. This is secretly something a lot of women want. Not just cancer-survivors or breast-feeding moms. These chest warmers bring secret comfort to anyone wearing a bra, anywhere, any time. This is a perfect example of how tech can keep us warm. I love Kristen’s products so much, I’m excited to start representing Brilliantly through Lee London. - Bringing you unique, awesome tech.
Finally, on a brisk Fall day, female startup Founder, Rachele Louis, and I met for a community walk. Both of us bundled up on a Chicago October morning, Rachele mentioned how she’s continuously cold. So much so, that her partner gave her a HotPod. This thing is awesome! The product, shaped like a lima bean, but just big enough for your hands, has levels of warmth. You hide it in your coat pocket, holding it to warm your hands. It has a USB port to charge your phone. All I’m saying is; now I can stay at concerts, sporting events, ice skate, go to a tree farm, or do an array of outside seasonal activities I otherwise was sour to try. Keep me warm, and I’ll go anywhere! Thank you Rachele for showing the newest smart product. This truly is tech that can keep you warm.
As we head into another Winter, I’m stocking up again. Rather than the typical gloves, and coats, I’m adding extra special gear this time. Gear that actively works to warm me. I’m stocking up on technology that can warm me up during those seasonal outdoor activities, at the office, or really any day.