This article was sponsored by iHatetheCold

 

Kai Or has a story similar to many Canadians. His parents immigrated from China and Hong Kong to Toronto, where they hoped to create a better life with little more than a $1,000 loan.

From a young age, Kai had a love of gadgets—and a hate of the cold winters in Ontario. Hoping to alleviate the chill, he purchased a rechargeable hand warmer. Unfortunately, the batteries didn’t last long, prompting Kai to consider how he could improve the contraption—and an obsession was born.

At the end of 2016, Kai founded iHatetheCold, a reusable hand warmer company. Many of the models offer extra benefits not seen before in typical handwarmers, including a flashlight and power bank to charge your phone. These features make it a three-in-one product ideal for skiing, snowshoeing, winter hiking and warming up on the frigid city streets.

Kai recognizes the difficult realities for people who are in a transient situation during Canada's harsh winters. Every year, he gifts thousands of hand warmers to charities in Toronto. “I grew up poor—I know how they feel,” he said.

With the purchase of any product, proceeds go toward donating hand warmers to people who are experiencing homelessness and/or are in need. Currently, profits contribute to three charitable organizations in Toronto: City Street Outreach, Project Winter Survival and The Scott Mission. Kai said he hopes to expand this giving initiative across Canada, adding, “I want to leave this Earth making it a little bit better.”

photoKai Or

So, what is iHatetheCold?

In simple terms, these USB-rechargeable hand warmers are light, portable power banks that transfer heat, similar to a heated grip for motorcycles. Microchips control the heat, which is around 42 C on low and 47 C on high. The high-quality aluminum shell allows for proper and safe heat transfer. And they last years.

“After about 500-700 recharges from zero to full, the battery drops to around 80-90 per cent of the original capacity. But generally speaking, it’ll never really die… over time it might be a bit less efficient, just like a laptop battery, but it will last years,” Kai said.

The technology used is one of the things Kai is most excited about. “The really cool thing is the batteries,” Kai said. “Battery technology changes all the time. These new hand warmers all use high-end, lithium-ion 18650 batteries—the same batteries that Tesla uses in their cars.”

photoKai Or

One of iHatetheCold’s newest products that Kai is most proud of is the Maxi Black 10400mAh. “To compare, my cell phone has a capacity of about 3,000mAh,” he said.

It’s a super cool gadget, and a good company to support. "I'm just grateful for what I have," Kai said. "I think [giving back] is the right move for a lot of things in my life."

For $39, you can purchase this triple-use gear item, perfect for Christmas presents or upcoming ski trips, while contributing to local charities and supporting a Canadian company.

Kai’s overall goal with iHatetheCold is to become the number one hand warming brand in Canada. So, the next time you’re freezing on an outdoor adventure, or your phone battery is dying while skiing the slopes, grab a rechargeable handwarmer to heat up your adventure.

 

This article was sponsored by iHatetheCold

"Get 25% off with the coupon code: explore25"