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Publication numberUS20040000570 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/185,428
Publication dateJan 1, 2004
Filing dateJun 27, 2002
Priority dateJun 27, 2002
Publication number10185428, 185428, US 2004/0000570 A1, US 2004/000570 A1, US 20040000570 A1, US 20040000570A1, US 2004000570 A1, US 2004000570A1, US-A1-20040000570, US-A1-2004000570, US2004/0000570A1, US2004/000570A1, US20040000570 A1, US20040000570A1, US2004000570 A1, US2004000570A1
InventorsBarley Forsman
Original AssigneeForsman Barley A.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Strap management system, packs and hydration systems incorporating the same
US 20040000570 A1
Abstract
A strap management system and wearable packs containing the same. The pack includes a strap fastener configured to limit dangling of a strap relative to the rest of the pack by securing the terminal end region of the strap, such as to the strap itself or to another portion of the pack. In some embodiments, the strap fastener is connected to the terminal end, region of the strap and is configured to loop around another portion of the strap. In some embodiments, the strap is wound about the terminal end region of the strap and the strap fastener is used to secure the wound strap, such as in a spiral. In some embodiments, the strap management system is used on the body-securing straps of a pack. In some embodiments, the strap-management system is used on auxiliary straps of a pack. In some embodiments, the pack includes a hydration system.
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Claims(30)
I claim:
1. A wearable pack, comprising:
a pack body having a compartment that is accessible via at least one opening; and
an adjustable harness assembly operatively connected to the pack body and configured to support the pack body on a user's body, wherein the adjustable harness assembly comprises:
a looping strap connected to the pack body;
a sizing strap connected to the pack body and extending a length to a terminal end;
a sizing fastener connected to the looping strap and adapted to adjustably secure the sizing strap in one of a plurality of selectable positions along the length of the sizing strap and thereby form a closed loop with the looping strap, the sizing strap, and the pack body; wherein the sizing strap is secured by the sizing fastener at a position other than at the terminal end, the sizing strap includes a sized length extending between the pack body and the sizing fastener and an excess length extending from the sizing fastener to the terminal end; and
a strap management system adapted to retain the excess length, wherein the strap management system includes a strap fastener with first and second members extending from the excess length of the sizing strap and including connectors complementarily configured for releasable attachment to one another, and wherein the first and second members are configured to collectively loop around at least a portion of the sizing strap.
2. The pack of claim 1, wherein the excess length is adapted to be folded upon itself to form a strap bundle and the first and second members of the strap fastener are configured to collectively loop around at least a portion of the strap bundle to retain the strap bundle in a folded configuration.
3. The pack of claim 2, wherein the strap bundle is wound around the terminal end of the excess length.
4. The pack of claim 2, wherein the strap fastener is adapted to retain the strap bundle proximate the sizing fastener.
5. The pack of claim 2, wherein the strap bundle restricts relative lengthening of the sized length of the sizing strap.
6. The pack of claim 1, wherein the first and second members of the strap fastener are configured to collectively loop around a portion of the sized length of the sizing strap to retain at least a portion of the excess length proximate the sized length.
7. The pack of claim 1, wherein the looping strap, sizing strap, sizing fastener, and strap fastener form at least a portion of a shoulder strap assembly of the harness assembly, wherein the shoulder strap assembly is adapted to support the pack body on a user's back.
8. The pack of claim 1, wherein the looping strap, sizing strap, sizing fastener, and strap fastener form at least a portion of a hip belt of the harness assembly, wherein the hip belt is adapted to extend around a user's waist to support the pack body proximate the user's waist.
9. The pack of claim 1, wherein the pack further comprises a hydration system including a fluid reservoir dimensioned for transport in the compartment of the pack body, an elongate fluid transport tube extending from the fluid reservoir, and a fluid dispensing valve mounted on a distal end of the fluid transport tube and adapted to be placed in a user's mouth so that the user may draw drink fluid from the reservoir when the reservoir is stowed in the compartment.
10. A hydration pack, comprising:
a fluid reservoir configured to hold a volume of drink fluid;
a fluid transport tube extending from and in fluid communication with the fluid reservoir;
a fluid dispensing valve operatively connected to the fluid transport tube and configured to selectively allow fluid to be dispensed from the fluid reservoir through the fluid transport tube;
a pack body having a compartment configured to hold the fluid reservoir; and
an adjustable harness assembly operatively connected to the pack body, wherein the adjustable harness assembly comprises:
left and right sizing straps respectively connected to the pack body, wherein each sizing strap includes a length with a terminal end, wherein each sizing strap is adapted to be releasably engaged along its length by a sizing fastener to form at least a portion of a loop that is adapted to be received around a portion of a user's body to support the pack thereupon; and
left and right strap fasteners respectively connected to the terminal ends of the left and right sizing straps, each strap fastener configured to secure the terminal end of its connected sizing strap relative to the rest of the pack.
11. The hydration pack of claim 10, wherein each strap fastener is configured to secure a portion of its sizing strap in a spiral wound about the terminal end of its sizing strap.
12. The hydration pack of claim 10, wherein each strap fastener is configured to secure the terminal end of its sizing strap to another portion of its sizing strap.
13. The hydration pack of claim 12, wherein each strap fastener is configured to secure the terminal end of its sizing strap to a portion of the sizing strap between the terminal end and the sizing fastener.
14. The hydration pack of claim 12, wherein each strap fastener is configured to secure the terminal end of its sizing strap to a portion of the sizing strap between the sizing fastener and the pack body.
15. The hydration pack of claim 10, wherein each strap fastener includes a member orientated perpendicular to its sizing strap, and wherein the member is configured to form a releasable loop dimensioned to wrap around a portion of sizing strap.
16. The hydration pack of claim 15, wherein the member perpendicularly extends from one side of the sizing strap to form an L configuration.
17. The hydration pack of claim 15, wherein the releasable loop is dimensioned to wrap around a portion of the sizing strap that is wound into a spiral about the terminal end of the sizing strap.
18. The hydration pack of claim 15, wherein the member includes at least one connector complementarily configured to releasably retain the member in a closed loop.
19. The hydration pack of claim 15, wherein the harness assembly includes a connector and the member includes at least one complementary connector that is adapted to releasably connect to the connector on the harness assembly.
20. The hydration pack of claim 10, wherein the strap fastener includes a pair of members extending from the sizing strap, and wherein the members include connectors that are complementary configured to form a releasable loop around a portion of the sizing strap.
21. The hydration pack of claim 20, wherein each member perpendicularly extends from opposing sides of the sizing strap to form a T configuration.
22. A wearable pack, comprising:
a pack body having a compartment that is accessible via at least one opening; and
an adjustable strap assembly operatively connected to the pack body, wherein the adjustable strap assembly comprises:
a sizing strap connected to the pack body and having a length extending to a terminal end region with a terminal end;
a sizing fastener adapted to releasably engage the sizing strap in a selected one of a plurality of user-selectable positions along the length of the sizing strap to define a sized length of the sizing strap, which extends from the sizing fastener to the pack body, and an excess length, which extends from the sizing fastener distal the sized length and includes the terminal end; and
a strap fastener located at the terminal end region of the sizing strap, wherein the strap fastener is configured to limit dangling of the terminal end region of the sizing strap relative to the rest of the pack by securing the terminal end region of the sizing strap proximate at least one of the strap fastener and a portion of the sizing strap extending between the sizing strap and the pack body.
23. The pack of claim 22, wherein the excess length is adapted to be folded upon itself to form a strap bundle and the strap fastener is configured to collectively loop around at least a portion of the strap bundle to retain the strap bundle in a folded configuration.
24. The pack of claim 23, wherein the strap fastener includes at least one member that is orientated generally perpendicular to the sizing strap and configured to form a releasable loop dimensioned to wrap around the strap bundle.
25. The pack of claim 24, wherein the strap bundle is wound around the terminal end of the sizing strap.
26. The pack of claim 22, wherein the strap fastener includes first and second members extending perpendicular to the sizing strap, wherein the first and second members are complementarily configured for releasable attachment to one another.
27. The pack of claim 26, wherein the first member includes a plurality of hooks and the second member includes a plurality of loops configured to releasably fasten to the hooks.
28. The pack of claim 22, wherein the sizing strap forms at least a portion of a body-securing strap assembly that is adapted to secure the pack on a user's body.
29. The pack of claim 22, wherein the sizing strap forms at least a portion of an object-securing strap assembly that is adapted to extend around an object to be transported to releasably secure the object to the pack.
30. The pack of claim 22, wherein the pack further comprises a hydration system including a fluid reservoir dimensioned for transport in the compartment of the pack body, a fluid transport tube extending from the fluid reservoir, and a fluid dispensing valve mounted on a distal end of the fluid transport tube.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to wearable packs, and more particularly to strap management systems for such packs.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Backpacks that include adjustable harnesses have previously been developed and utilized. Adjustable harnesses allow a pack to more closely fit a particular user without requiring the pack to be specially sized for that user. They also make it easier for a user to put a pack on and take a pack off. Adjustable harnesses typically include at least one strap that is longer than necessary to fit most users. Such straps are typically secured by a fastener that leaves an excess length of the strap to dangle freely from the fastener. Such a dangling strap may be undesirable to a user on many levels. Dangling straps may detract from the aesthetic appearance of a pack, get undesirably tangled, or strike against a user during use of the pack.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The present invention provides a wearable pack with a strap management system. A strap fastener is configured to limit dangling of a strap relative to the rest of the pack by securing the terminal end region of the strap, such as to the strap itself or to another portion of the pack. In some embodiments, the strap fastener is connected to the terminal end region of the strap and is configured to loop around another portion of the strap. In some embodiments, the strap is wound about the terminal end region of the strap and the strap fastener is used to secure the wound strap, such as in a spiral. In some embodiments, the strap management system is used on the body-securing straps of a pack. In some embodiments, the strap management system is used on auxiliary straps of a pack. In some embodiments, the pack is a hydration pack that includes a hydration system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004]FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a wearable pack with a strap management system constructed according to the present invention.

[0005]FIG. 2 is a fragmentary isometric view of a hydration pack constructed according to the present invention.

[0006]FIG. 3 is a series of isometric views showing a strap fastener being wound to secure the terminal end region of a strap.

[0007]FIG. 4 is a top plan view of a hydration system suitable for use with the present invention.

[0008] FIGS. 5-10 are isometric views of other configurations and structures for strap fasteners that may be used with strap management systems constructed in accordance with the present invention.

[0009]FIG. 11 is an isometric view of a hip pack constructed according to the present invention.

[0010]FIG. 12 is an isometric view of a messenger pack constructed according to the present invention.

[0011]FIG. 13 is an isometric view of showing another example of a pack with a strap management system constructed in accordance with the present invention.

[0012]FIG. 14 is an isometric view of a back-mounted hydration pack with strap management systems constructed according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION AND BEST MODE OF THE INVENTION

[0013] A wearable pack is shown generally at 10 in FIG. 1. Pack 10 includes a pack body 12 having a storage compartment 14 that is accessible via at least one opening 16. The pack body may be configured for carrying loads of various types. For example the pack body may be adapted to carry books, papers, clothing, camping supplies, and/or other personal effects.

[0014] The particular dimensions of the pack body may be selected to properly fit users having a range of sizes and/or to accommodate various types of loads. For example, the pack body may be dimensioned to have a relatively tall length in order to accommodate taller users or a relatively short length to accommodate shorter users, and of course, the spectrum of lengths in between. Similarly, the volume of compartment 14 and/or other compartments may be dimensioned in order to accommodate relatively small or large loads. Compartment 14 may be specifically sized to receive a predetermined load, such as a hydration system, a water bottle, a sleeping bag, or one or more particular items of camping, sporting, audiovisual, or computing equipment, etc. Alternatively, the compartment may simply define an open volume into which a variety of user-selected objects may be loaded. As still another example, the pack body may include more than one compartment. For example, pack 10 is shown in dashed lines in FIG. 1 including additional compartments 14′ and 14″. In embodiments of pack 10 that include more than one compartment, the pack may (but does not necessarily) include one or more application-specific compartments, which are specifically sized to conform to and receive a particular object or objects, and one or more general-purpose compartments, which are not specifically sized to conform to a particular object or objects. Although not illustrated in FIG. 1, pack 10 may include a rigid frame that extends internal or external body 12 to provide support to and/or define the shape of the compartment. Alternatively, the pack may be constructed without a rigid frame.

[0015] Pack 10 also includes an adjustable harness assembly 20, which is operatively connected to pack body 12 and configured to support the pack on a user's body. More particularly, the harness assembly includes one or more strap assemblies 22 that are adapted to extend around a portion of a user's body to support the pack body thereupon. As such, the strap assemblies may be referred to as body-securing strap assemblies. By “extend around,” it is meant that the strap assemblies are configured to define a closed loop around a portion of a user's body, with the closed loop defined either entirely by the strap assembly, or by the strap assembly in combination with other elements of the pack. For example, in FIG. 1, harness assembly 20 includes a pair of strap assemblies 22 in the form of shoulder strap assemblies 24 and 26. Each shoulder strap assembly defines a closed loop through which a user's arm and shoulder may be inserted so that the shoulder strap assemblies secure and retain the pack on the user's back.

[0016] Each strap assembly, such as shoulder strap assemblies 24 and 26, includes ends, or end regions, 28 and 30 that are either fixedly connected or releasably connected to the pack. As used herein, the term “connected” includes either direct uninterrupted attachment or connection via an intermediate structure. For example, an end region of a strap assembly may be connected to the pack via a hip belt, D-ring, strap loop, clip, fastener, pack extender, or other intermediate structure. Similarly, as used herein, “fixedly connected” refers to mechanisms of securing an end region of a strap assembly to the pack in a manner that the end region may not be released or otherwise removed from its connection with the pack without destroying at least a portion of the strap assembly, pack, or intermediate structure that fixedly connects the two. In contrast, “releasably connected” refers to mechanisms for interconnecting an end region of a strap assembly with the pack so that the end region is adapted to be repeatedly disconnected from and reconnected to the pack.

[0017] Examples of mechanisms for fixedly connecting an end region of a strap assembly include sewing the end region to, or around, the pack or to a fixedly connected intermediate structure. Another example is to form the strap assembly from the same continuous length of material as the portion of the pack to which it is fixedly connected. Examples of mechanisms for releasably connecting an end region to the pack include buckles, clips, knots, snaps, locks, and other releasable fasteners. In some embodiments, strap assemblies may include a first end that is fixedly connected to the pack and a second end that is releasably connected to the pack. To graphically illustrate these exemplary constructions, strap assembly 24 is shown with ends, or end regions, 28 and 30 that are fixedly connected to pack body 12, and strap assembly 26 includes an end region 28 that is fixedly connected to the pack body and an end region 30 that is releasably connected to the pack body by a releasable fastener 32, such as a clip or ladder lock.

[0018] As presented in the above discussion, the strap assemblies are referred to as including ends, or end regions. In the following discussion, the term “end region” will be used, and is meant to include the terminal end of a strap assembly, the region adjacent the terminal end of a strap assembly, or both. For example, an end region of a strap assembly may be inserted into an aperture in the pack before being sewn to the pack body. Similarly, the end region may be sewn or otherwise joined to itself to form a loop, such as which may extend around a D-ring or other clip or fastener.

[0019] In FIG. 1, it can be seen that each of the shoulder strap assemblies 24 and 26 includes a sizing strap 34 and a sizing fastener 36. Sizing strap 34 includes a first end region, such as regions 30 in FIG. 1, which is connected to the pack, such as by being fixedly or releasably connected to the pack body or other portion of the pack. Sizing strap 34 further includes an intermediate region 38 that extends from the first end region and is adapted to be engaged by sizing fastener 36 to form at least a portion of an adjustable loop 40. As discussed, in the context of a body-securing strap assembly, such as shoulder straps 24 and 26, the closed loop facilitates supporting the pack body on a user's body. The sizing strap further includes an excess length 42 that extends from the sizing fastener and terminates at a terminal end 44.

[0020] Sizing fastener 36 releasably engages intermediate region 38 of the sizing strap to define the length of the sizing strap that extends between the first end region and the sizing fastener. This length may be referred to as the sized length 46 of the sizing strap. It should be understood that this adjustable sizing of this length of the strap correspondingly affects the size of loop 40 and the length of excess length 42. Sizing fastener 36 may include any suitable structure for releasably engaging the sizing strap to define the sized and excess lengths thereof. Illustrative examples of suitable structure include a ladder lock, double bar buckle, loop lock, cam buckle, or similar fastener that is configured to adjustably secure the sizing strap in a plurality of user-selectable positions. The sizing fastener may be configured to secure the sizing strap at a finite number of discrete positions, or alternatively at any of a continuous spectrum of positions along the sizing strap.

[0021] Strap assemblies 22 according to the present invention will often, but are not required to, include a looping strap 48, which interconnects the pack and the sizing fastener. As with the sizing strap, looping strap 48 may be either fixedly or releasably connected to the body. For example, the shoulder strap assemblies shown in FIG. 1 each include looping straps 48, which in the illustrated embodiment include padded regions 50 to cushion the engagement of a user's body by the straps. As shown, the looping straps do not include excess lengths like the sizing straps. In strap assemblies that do not include a looping strap, the sizing fastener is fixedly or releasably connected to the pack without being interconnected thereto by a looping strap. For example, the sizing fastener may be directly connected to the pack. As another example, the strap assembly may include a pair of sizing straps, with each sizing strap including a first end region that is connected to the pack and an intermediate region that is engaged by one or more sizing fasteners.

[0022] Being able to adjust the location at which the sizing strap is secured affects the overall disposition of the harness assembly, providing the pack with favorable versatility and customizable attributes. For example, in the context of a body-securing strap assembly, adjusting the sizing length affects the position and/or fit of the pack on a user's body. Therefore, adjusting the length of shoulder strap assemblies will affect the relative position of the pack body on a user's back. In the context of a body-securing strap assembly that extends around a user's waist, adjusting the sizing length affects the tightness of the loop around the user's waist and whether the loop will even fit around the user's waist. In the context of a strap assembly that is used to secure objects to the pack or to compress the pack, adjusting the sizing length affects the tightness of the loop around the object compressed pack region and/or whether the loop will fit around the object or the pack region.

[0023] As discussed above, in conventional, adjustable strap assemblies, the sizing strap includes an excess length that is untensioned or restrained and free to dangle from the sizing fastener. This conventional structure is shown in dashed lines on shoulder strap assembly 26 for purposes of illustration. This excess length is often many inches long, and as such may become tangled with other portions of the pack or objects external the pack. Similarly, during use, the strap may strike a user's body or be snagged by structures or objects as they are passed by a user wearing the pack.

[0024] In contrast to this conventional structure, strap assemblies 22 according to the present invention include a strap management system 52, which is adapted to restrain, and in some embodiments, bundle the excess length. Shoulder strap assembly 24 illustrates an example of a sizing strap that includes a strap management system 52 according to the present invention. As shown, the sizing strap includes a strap fastener 54, which is configured to limit the dangling of at least a portion of excess length 42, such as terminal end 44, relative to the rest of the pack. In other words, strap fastener 54 is adapted to bind or restrict excess length 42 so that the length does not hang from sizing fastener 36 in a free, or loose, manner. Accordingly, strap fastener 54 may include any suitable structure for accomplishing this restricting of the excess length.

[0025] An example of a suitable structure of strap fastener 54 is shown in FIG. 1 extending from terminal end 44 of the excess length of shoulder strap assembly 24. As shown, strap fastener 54 includes a pair of members 56 and 58 that extend generally transverse from the long axis of the strap and which include connectors 60 and 62, which are adapted to releasably connect the members together. More specifically, the connectors are adapted to secure the members to each other as well as around another portion of the pack, such as sized length 46 or looping strap 48, and/or to bundle the excess length together to a compact, or wound, configuration. For example, in FIG. 2, shoulder strap assembly 24 illustrates members 56 and 58 being secured around sized length 46. In this configuration, the terminal end of excess length 42 is coupled to the sized length, with the rest of the excess length being retained against or near the sized length. In this configuration, the excess length may also be described as being retained in an overlapping, or at least substantially overlapping relationship with the sized strap. In such a configuration, the strap management system may be slidable along the length of the sized length or other portion of the pack around which the members extend. Alternatively, the members may be secured sufficiently tight around the sized length (or other pack portion) so resist sliding thereupon. As another example, and as shown with shoulder strap assembly 26 in FIG. 2, the excess length may be wound around or otherwise folded against itself, with the strap fastener releasably retaining the bundled portion of the excess length in this compacted configuration. The compacted, or bundled, portion of the excess length may be referred to as a strap bundle 64.

[0026]FIG. 3 demonstrates an illustrative, non-exclusive, method for forming strap bundle 64 and thereby utilizing strap management system 52. FIG. 3 shows strap fastener 54 of strap management system 52 connected to terminal end 44 of sizing strap 34. Similar to the fastener shown in FIG. 1, strap fastener 54 includes members 56 and 58 with connectors 60 and 62. Members 56 and 58 may be constituent portions of the same piece of material or alternatively may be formed from separate pieces of material. Each member is typically constructed from a flexible material, such as nylon strapping, which may be freely folded. In some embodiments, one or more of the members may be constructed with a stiff material and linked to core sizing strap 34 at a flexible joint that allows the stiff connector to be hinged relative to the core.

[0027] In the illustrated embodiment, each member is orientated in a generally perpendicular direction relative to the long axis, or length, of the sizing strap. It should be understood that the members do not have to be disposed at exactly a right angle relative to the sizing strap, and it is within the scope of the invention to differ the angle the members extend outwards in some embodiments. The projecting configuration of strap fastener 54 may act as a stop that prevents the sizing strap from being unintentionally disengaged from sizing fastener 36, such as by sliding completely through a ladder lock, thus preventing the need to properly reengage the sizing strap with the sizing fastener if the strap accidentally becomes disengaged.

[0028] As discussed, members 56 and 58 include connectors 60 and 62 that are complementarily configured for releasable attachment to one another. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, one of the connectors includes loops of uncut pile or similar material adapted to releasably catch hooks of the other connector. It is within the scope of the invention that connectors 60 and 62 may have other structures. For example, the connectors may have complementary male and female portions of a button, snap, or other suitable connecting mechanism. The members are adapted to be folded in toward the portion of sizing strap 34 from which they extend and fastened to one another, thus forming a closed loop, which may be used to loop around a portion of the sizing strap, including (but not limited to) strap bundle 64, looping strap 48 (when present), or another portion of pack 10.

[0029] As indicated at transition arrow 66, strap fastener 54 may be folded toward sizing strap 34. As shown, the strap fastener is folded relative to terminal end 44 of sizing strap 34, and as such may be described as folding the strap fastener about an axis that extends perpendicular to the long axis, or length, of excess length 42 of sizing strap 34. Each such fold effectively decreases the length of the excess length of the sizing strap. As indicated at transition arrow 68, the sizing strap may be continually wound, which creates a spiral of concentric sizing strap layers wound about the terminal end of the sizing strap and the strap fastener. In such a configuration, members 56 and 58 project from a central portion of the strap bundle. The excess length of the sizing strap may be wound to any desired length, with the number of concentric layers of sizing strap increasing as the excess length decreases. In particular, the sizing strap may be wound up to the point where the strap bundle abuts sizing fastener 36 or is sufficiently near the sizing fastener that no further folds, or winds, may be formed between the strap bundle and sizing fastener 36. When the sizing strap is wound to the desired length, members 56 and 58 may be used to secure the strap bundle and prevent the unintentional unwinding thereof. More specifically, the members are folded toward each other so that connectors 60 and 62 engage each other. For example, and as indicated by transition arrow 70, one of the members, such as member 56, is folded onto one side of the strap bundle. Next, the other member, such as member 58, is folded onto the first member so that the connectors engage and releasably secure the members together, as indicated by transition arrow 72. As such, the members collectively form a closed loop that extends from the interior of the strap bundle, loops around the concentric layers of wound sizing strap, and closes at the connection area of the members on the outer perimeter of the strap bundle. Such an arrangement secures the strap bundle, so that it will not unravel until members 56 and 58 are disengaged from one another.

[0030] Unlike a conventional strap with an excess length that is unsecured and thereby dangles or otherwise is free to flap or sway relative to a sizing fastener, the strap bundle formed by strap management system 52 retains the excess length in a compact, restricted configuration. The wound and secured strap bundle may additionally or alternatively be described as limiting the relative amount of sizing strap that is available to form loop 40, and therefore at least partially defines the size of loop 40. Because the excess length of sizing strap 34 is wound in a spiral or other bundled configuration and thereafter secured by the strap fastener, it cannot be used to lengthen the effective length of the sized length of the sizing strap. The spiral is typically too large to pass through the sizing fastener. Therefore, bundle 64 reliably sets the maximum amount of sizing strap that may be used in the closed loop, and prevents extra sizing strap from being incorporated into the closed loop, as may happen if sizing fastener 36 slips. Should a user desire to decrease the size of loop 40, the user strap bundle provides a handle or grip that may be grasped and urged away from the sizing fastener, thereby decreasing the sized length of sizing strap 34.

[0031] It should be understood that strap management system 52 may restrain the excess lengths of straps in configurations other than shown in FIG. 3. For example, and as shown by referring back to FIG. 2, the strap management system may be used to restrain terminal end 44 of excess length 42 by forming a closed loop around sized length 46 of the sizing strap. As shown, the members are folded around sized length 46 and thereafter releasably secured together by connectors 60 and 62. In this configuration, a strap bundle 64 is not formed, but the excess length, and especially the portion of this length from which members 56 and 58 extend, is restrained against or near sized length 46.

[0032]FIG. 2 also demonstrates a pack 10 that contains a hydration system 80 in a compartment of the pack. As such, pack 10 may be referred to as a hydration pack, as indicated at 82 in FIG. 2. In the illustrated embodiment, hydration system 80 is received within compartment 14, which is preferably, but is not required to be, specifically sized to receive the hydration system. Although pack 82 may be formed with only compartment 14, the illustrated embodiment includes a second compartment 14′, which may be a general-purpose compartment or may be specifically sized to receive another object. Hydration system 80 includes a fluid reservoir 88 that is configured to hold a volume of drink fluid. The reservoir is received within a compartment of pack 82 and includes a fluid transport tube 90 that extends from and is in fluid communication with the fluid reservoir so that drink fluid within the reservoir may be drawn from the reservoir. The transport tube, which is typically an elongate, flexible tube, extends out of compartment 14 and terminates at a fluid dispensing valve, or mouthpiece, 92. Tube 90 should be sufficiently long that the mouthpiece may be comfortably positioned in a user's mouth while pack 82 is supported on the user's body by harness assembly 20. In such a configuration, the user can selectively draw drink fluid from the reservoir that is carried in pack 82 by drawing upon the mouthpiece. As such, the user may be engaged in sporting activities, such as hiking, biking, running, skiing, etc. and does not have to remove a water bottle or other drink container from a carrier using the user's hands and then further use the user's hands to drink from the container and replace the container in the carrier.

[0033] An illustrative example of a hydration system 80 is shown in FIG. 4. Fluid reservoir 88 defines an internal compartment or chamber 108 into which drink fluid, such as water, juice, sports drinks or the like may be stored. Reservoir 88 typically is flexible so that the volume it occupies may decrease as the amount of fluid it contains decreases. As shown, the reservoir includes an input port 110, through which drink fluid may be poured into chamber 108, and a closure 112 that selectively closes the input port. As shown, an example of a closure in the form of a removable cap 114 is illustrated, although any suitable structure for selectively closing the input port may be used. As also shown, the reservoir includes an exit port 116 that fluidly connects chamber 108 with an end region 118 of fluid transport tube 90. End region 118 may be fluidly coupled to the exit port via any suitable configuration, such as by being releasably mounted on exit port 116, fixedly or even integrally mounted on the exit port, or inserted through the exit port and into chamber 108. When a user sucks upon the other end 120 of the drink tube, the user can draw drink fluid from the reservoir.

[0034] Although end 120 of tube 90 may itself form the mouthpiece 92 for the hydration system, hydration systems typically include a removable mouthpiece 122 that is secured to end 120. In the illustrated embodiment, mouthpiece 122 takes the form of a bite-actuated mouthpiece, which is formed from a resilient material that is normally in a closed position, in which drink fluid cannot be dispensed through the mouthpiece. However, when a user bites upon, or otherwise exerts external forces to the mouthpiece transverse to the direction of fluid flow, the mouthpiece is urged to a dispensing position, in which drink fluid may be dispensed through the mouthpiece. Typically, bite-actuated mouthpieces are biased to automatically return to the closed position, such as after a user stops biting upon the mouthpiece. The mouthpiece may include a dispensing face with at least a pair of lips that define a normally closed opening. However, when the user bites upon the body, or bite region, of the mouthpiece the mouthpiece is urged to its dispensing position, in which drink fluid may be drawn through the opening.

[0035] An on/off valve 126 may, but is not required to, be included in a hydration system to enable a user to selectively prevent drink fluid from being able to be drawn through the reservoir regardless of the configuration of, or the forces being applied to, the mouthpiece. As shown, valve 126 interconnects end 120 of the transport tube and mouthpiece 122. It is within the scope of the invention that hydration systems that include a valve 126 may integrate the valve with the mouthpiece or position the valve in-line between adjacent lengths of tube 90.

[0036] Additional examples of suitable hydration systems and components thereof are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,070,767 and 6,032,831, as well as in U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 09/902,935 and 09/902,792, the complete disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference for all purposes.

[0037] Although illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 as extending from terminal end 44 of sizing strap 34, it is within the scope of the invention that the strap management system may extend from other portions of the sizing strap. An example of such a configuration is shown in FIG. 5, in which the strap fastener extends from excess length 42 but not from terminal end 44. In the illustrated configuration, the strap fastener is still located proximate the terminal end of the sizing strap and therefore may still be described as extending from a terminal end region 130 of the sizing strap. It is within the scope of the invention, however, that strap fastener 54 may be located further away from terminal end 44.

[0038] As another variation within the scope of the present invention, strap fastener 54 may have other configurations than the two-member configuration shown in FIGS. 1-3 and 5. For example, it is within the scope of the invention that a single member may be used that includes a connector adapted to be releasably secured to another connector on that member, on excess length 42 or another portion of sizing strap 34, or on another portion of pack 10. An example of such a configuration is shown in FIG. 6, in which strap fastener 54 includes member 132 that extends from excess length 42 of sizing strap 34. Member 132 may include complementary connectors 60 and 62 that are configured to releasably engage each other to secure the member in a closed loop, such as around a strap bundle 64 (as illustrated previously with respect to FIGS. 2 and 3), around the sized length of sizing strap 34 (as illustrated previously with respect to FIG. 2), or around another portion of pack 10.

[0039] In the illustrated embodiment shown in FIG. 6, the connectors are located in spaced-apart locations on opposite sides of member 132. It is within the scope of the invention, however, that the connectors may also be located on the same side of the connector, such as on laterally spaced locations on the member. As another variation, the one or more members of strap fastener 54 may include a connector, such as a connector that is adapted to engage a complementary connector on sizing strap 34, such as on excess length 42 or sized length 46, or on another portion of pack 10, such as pack body 12 or looping strap 48. An example of such a construction is shown in FIG. 7, in which member 132 includes a connector 134 that is adapted to engage a complementary connector 136 on excess length 42 of sizing strap 34. It is also within the scope of the invention that strap management system 52 may include at least one redundant connector. More specifically, the strap management system may include at least one connector that may be releasably connected to a selected one of two or more complementary connectors. For example, system 52 may include a first connector on the same or a different member of strap fastener 54, and complementary connectors on the sizing strap, on the looping strap and/or on pack body 12 so that the first connector may be releasably connected to any of these second connectors.

[0040] As discussed previously, strap management system 52 may utilize a wide variety of connectors. Therefore, although the previously illustrated connectors have all utilized hook-and-loop mechanisms, it is within the scope of the invention that any of the previously described and/or illustrated embodiments may include other suitable connectors that are adapted to be selectively connected together. Examples of other suitable connectors include, but are not limited to, snaps, buttons, tab-and-slot mechanisms, pin-and-loop mechanisms, etc. Several illustrative examples of other suitable connectors that may be used with strap management systems according to the present invention are shown in FIGS. 8-10. Although illustrated in the context of a dual-member strap fastener 54, the illustrated connectors may be used with any of the strap management systems described and/or illustrated herein. In FIG. 8, the connectors form a snap, or snapping mechanism, 140. In FIG. 9, the connectors form a button mechanism 142, with one member including a button 144 and the other including a buttonhole 146. In such an embodiment, more than one buttonhole may be present to provide a mechanism for selectively sizing the loop formed by strap fastener 54. This is graphically illustrated in dashed lines in FIG. 9. FIG. 10 demonstrates a tab-and-slot mechanism, 148, in which one member includes a projecting, typically rigid, tab 150 that is selectively passed through a slot 152 in the other member or on another selected location on the pack. Similar to the optional plurality of buttonholes discussed above, the tab-and-slot mechanism may include more than one slot, as graphically illustrated in dashed lines in FIG. 10.

[0041] As discussed above, packs 10 according to the present invention may be designed to be worn on various portions of a user's body and may include a harness assembly 20 having a variety of configurations. Illustrative examples of other wearable packs that may be used with strap management systems constructed in accordance with the present invention are shown in FIGS. 11 and 12. FIG. 11 shows a pack 10 in the form of a hip pack 160 with a harness assembly 20 that includes a strap assembly 22 in the form of a hip belt 162 adapted to extend around a user's waist and thereby support the hip pack. As shown, the hip belt includes a releasable buckle, or clip, 164 that releasably secures the hip belt around a user's waist. FIG. 12 shows a pack 10 in the form of a messenger pack 166 with a harness assembly 20 with a strap assembly 22 in the form of a shoulder strap assembly 168 that is adapted to be worn diagonally across a user's torso. As shown, both packs further include strap management systems 52 with strap fasteners 54 constructed according to the present invention. As discussed above, the strap management systems may include any of the above-described and/or illustrated elements, subelements and variations. As shown in dashed lines in FIGS. 11 and 12, the packs may optionally include hydration systems 80, such as hydration systems that include the structure described, illustrated and/or incorporated herein.

[0042] The hip and messenger packs shown in FIGS. 11 and 12 also demonstrate several variations that may be used with strap assemblies according to the present invention, including strap assemblies on packs other than those illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 12. For example, in FIG. 11, hip pack 160 demonstrates a strap assembly that is releasably connected to the pack body by releasable fasteners 170. In the illustrated embodiment, the fasteners take the form of releasable clips, but any other suitable fastener may be used. Pack 160 also provides a graphic demonstration of the fact that packs according to the present invention may include strap management systems that include more than one strap fastener 54. Expressed in other words, packs according to the present invention may include more than one strap having an excess length that is selectively retained or bundled by a strap fastener 54. In FIG. 11, the hip belt includes a pair of sizing straps 34, each with strap fasteners 54 according to the present invention. Similarly, in FIG. 12, the messenger pack demonstrates a back-mounted pack that includes a strap assembly that includes more than one sizing strap 34 and corresponding strap fasteners 54.

[0043] It is also within the scope of the invention to secure a load to the pack or within the pack body using an adjustable strap assembly 22 in accordance with the present invention. For example, the adjustable strap assembly may be configured to secure a load to the pack, such as to the exterior of the pack or within compartment 14 of the pack body. Similar to the above discussion relating to body-securing strap assemblies, these load- or object-securing strap assemblies are adjustable and include a sizing strap that when engaged by a sizing fastener includes an excess length. Utilizing a strap management system according to the present invention with these straps restrains these excess lengths, such as to prevent the lengths from becoming tangled with themselves or other structure, from being snagged by passing/passed objects and/or from unintentionally contacting or flapping against a user's body as the pack is used.

[0044] Illustrative examples of strap assemblies 22 in the form of object-securing strap assemblies are shown in FIG. 13 and generally indicated at 180 and 182. As shown, the strap assemblies include a sizing strap 34, a sizing fastener 36, and a strap management system 52 with a strap fastener 54 according to the present invention. As discussed above, it is within the scope of the invention that the strap assemblies and strap management systems may incorporate any of the elements, subelements and variations described above, such as optionally including any suitable sizing fastener, strap fastener, looping strap, member or members, connectors, etc. For the purpose of illustration, object-securing strap assembly 180 includes a sizing strap that is releasably connected to a sizing fastener 36 in the form of a ladder lock, and which is fixedly connected to the pack either directly or by a looping strap. Strap assembly 182 demonstrates an example of an object-securing strap assembly in which the sizing strap is adjustably connected to a portion of a clip, to which a complementary portion is connected to a looping strap 48. Illustrative, but by no means exclusive, examples of objects that may be selectively carried by object-carrying strap assemblies 180 and 182 include sleeping bags, tents, sporting equipment, towels, camping equipment, lanterns, inflatable mattresses, tools, etc.

[0045] Another illustrative example of a pack, which in the illustrated embodiment is a backpack-style hydration pack, is shown in FIG. 14 and generally indicated at 200. As shown, hydration pack 200 includes both body-securing and object-securing strap assemblies. More specifically, pack 200 includes an adjustable harness assembly 20 that includes adjustable shoulder strap assemblies 24 and 26 as well as an adjustable hip belt 142. The pack also demonstrates various another example of adjustable object-securing strap assembly 180. As shown and generally indicated at 202, the strap assembly is adapted to provide compression to the pack's storage compartment 14. More specifically, the strap assembly enables a user to compress the pack's storage compartment, such as to make reduce the overall size of the pack and/or to resist shifting of objects within the compartment. Although illustrated in FIG. 14 as a hydration pack that includes a hydration system 80, pack 200 may alternatively be implemented without a hydration system. Similarly, and as discussed above, pack 200 and its adjustable strap assemblies may include any of the elements, subelements and variations discussed, illustrated and/or incorporated herein.

[0046] It is believed that the disclosure set forth above encompasses multiple distinct inventions with independent utility. While each of these inventions hag been disclosed in its preferred form, the specific embodiments thereof as disclosed and illustrated herein are not to be considered in a limiting sense as numerous variations are possible. The subject matter of the inventions includes all novel and non-obvious combinations and subcombinations of the various elements, features, functions and/or properties disclosed herein. Similarly, where the claims recite “a” or “a first” element or the equivalent thereof, such claims should be understood to include incorporation of one or more such elements, neither requiring nor excluding two or more such elements.

[0047] It is believed that the following claims particularly point out certain combinations and subcombinations that are directed to one of the disclosed inventions and are novel and non-obvious. Inventions embodied in other combinations and subcombinations of features, functions, elements and/or properties may be claimed through amendment of the present claims or presentation of new claims in this or a related application. Such amended or new claims, whether they are directed to a different invention or directed to the same invention, whether different, broader, narrower or equal in scope to the original claims, are also regarded as included within the subject matter of the inventions of the present disclosure.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7195529May 17, 2005Mar 27, 2007Stearns Inc.Strap containment device
US7490740May 6, 2004Feb 17, 2009Fiskars Brands, Inc.Personal hydration system
US7600656Jan 27, 2005Oct 13, 2009Fiskars Brands, Inc.Personal hydration system
US8820579Sep 26, 2012Sep 2, 2014Leonard B. WoodFluid reservoir shell
US20130306696 *Dec 20, 2011Nov 21, 2013Roberto Salas GarciaBackpack for a helmet
WO2008112506A2 *Mar 7, 2008Sep 18, 2008Lillie Theodore PFluid pack
WO2013049296A1 *Sep 27, 2012Apr 4, 2013Wood Leonard BFluid reservoir shell
Classifications
U.S. Classification224/579, 224/627
International ClassificationA45F3/04
Cooperative ClassificationA45F3/047, A45F3/04
European ClassificationA45F3/04R
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