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Publication numberUS20060086758 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/254,335
Publication dateApr 27, 2006
Filing dateOct 20, 2005
Priority dateOct 21, 2004
Publication number11254335, 254335, US 2006/0086758 A1, US 2006/086758 A1, US 20060086758 A1, US 20060086758A1, US 2006086758 A1, US 2006086758A1, US-A1-20060086758, US-A1-2006086758, US2006/0086758A1, US2006/086758A1, US20060086758 A1, US20060086758A1, US2006086758 A1, US2006086758A1
InventorsPeter Coles
Original AssigneePeter Coles
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Universal hydration system
US 20060086758 A1
Abstract
The present invention relates to a hydration system. One embodiment of the present invention relates to a universal hydration system for drinking fluid from an independent container. The universal hydration system includes a tube and a cap configured to couple with an independent container. The tube extends through the cap in a leak resistant manner and is disposed within the interior of the independent container. The other end of the tube may be coupled to a tube cap of some sort including a bite valve or a cover, or may be left exposed. The cap is coupled to the independent container using the independent container's coupling system. Additional caps configured for coupling to various containers may also be included with the system. In addition, the additional caps may be stored on the tube so as to create a one piece universal hydration system. Likewise, the full length of the tube can be extended into the container for storage purposes. Additional embodiments may also include the ability to pressurize the independent container via some form of pump and valve system.
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Claims(20)
1. A universal hydration system comprising:
a tube having a particular tube diameter, and wherein the tube includes a fluid end and a user end, and wherein the fluid end is configured to extend into a container; and
at least one cap configured to couple and thereby provide a water-tight seal with a particular sized container opening, and wherein the at least one cap includes a recess with a diameter smaller than the tube diameter.
2. The universal hydration system of claim 1 further including a tube cap disposed on the user end of the tube.
3. The universal hydration system of claim 2, wherein the tube cap is a bite valve configured to seal the user end of the tube unless a user applies a biting force upon the bite valve.
4. The universal hydration system of claim 1, wherein the at least one cap includes a plurality of caps and wherein the plurality of caps are stored on the tube in a manner such that a particular cap can be selectively utilized to accommodate a particular container opening.
5. The universal hydration system of claim 4, wherein the plurality of caps are coupled back to back and interlaced within one another to form a multi-cap capable of accommodating a wide range of container openings.
6. The universal hydration system of claim 1, wherein the at least one cap includes at least one auxiliary recess for insertion of auxiliary tube related items.
7. The universal hydration system of claim 6, wherein the at least one cap includes two auxiliary recesses, a second tube with a check valve extended through one of the auxiliary recesses, and a third tube with a pump extended through the other auxiliary recess.
8. The universal hydration system of claim 1, wherein the at least one cap includes a check valve for allowing air into the container while preventing water leakage.
9. The universal hydration system of claim 1, wherein the container originated from a retail sale independent of the universal hydration system.
10. The universal hydration system of claim 1, wherein the tube is slidably coupled with the at least one cap such that the tube can be extended into the container for storage and retracted out of the container for operation.
11. The universal hydration system of claim 1, wherein tube further includes a pump for use in pressurizing the container.
12. The universal hydration system of claim 11, wherein the pump is a bulb pump with a check valve.
13. The universal hydration system of claim 11, wherein the pump is disposed between the at least one cap and the user end.
14. The universal hydration system of claim 1, wherein tube includes two independent internal chambers, and wherein one independent internal chamber extends the entire length of the tube for fluid transportation, and wherein the second independent internal chamber includes an input and output end, and only extends a portion of the tube length, and wherein input end is coupled to a pump and check valve and the output end is disposed such that it is within the container.
15. A universal hydration system comprising:
a container, wherein the container originated from a retail sale independent of the universal hydration system;
a tube having a particular tube diameter, and wherein the tube includes a fluid end and a user end, and wherein the fluid end is configured to extend into a container;
a plurality of caps configured to couple to and thereby provide a water-tight seal with a plurality of container openings, and wherein the plurality of caps include a recess with a diameter smaller than the tube diameter, and wherein the plurality of caps are configured to be stored on the tube in a manner such that a particular cap can be selectively utilized to accommodate a particular container opening.
16. A method of coupling a universal hydration system to an independent container comprising the acts of:
extending a tube a particular distance through a hole in a cap, wherein the hole is sized smaller than the diameter of the tube; and
coupling the cap to an independent sold fluid container thereby providing a water tight seal between the tube, the cap, and the fluid container.
17. The method of claim 16 further including the act of pressurizing the fluid container to facilitate pressurized assistance in delivering fluid from the fluid container through the tube.
18. The method of claim 16, wherein the tube includes a fluid end and a user end, and wherein a tube cap is disposed on the user end of the tube.
19. The method of claim 16, wherein the tube includes a pump for facilitating the pressurization of the fluid container.
20. The method of claim 19, wherein the pump is a bulb pump and a check valve.
Description
    RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims priority to U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/620,780 filed Oct. 21, 2004.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0002]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates to a hydration system. One embodiment of the present invention relates to a universal hydration system for drinking fluid from an independent container.
  • [0004]
    2. Background
  • [0005]
    The human body is composed of over 90% water and a human being is said to only be able to survive for three days without liquid. Therefore, the consumption of fluids is extremely important during all activities. The consumption of fluid is especially necessary during athletic activities.
  • [0006]
    Traditionally, people transport fluids in sealable containers for consumption during activities away from home. These sealable containers include thermoses, canteens, flasks, polycarbonate bottles, etc. However, recently companies such as Camelbak, Platypus, etc have introduced hands free bladder type hydration systems that allow individuals to consume fluids without opening a sealable container and interrupting their activities. All of these systems generally include a bladder, a tube and some form of bite valve. The bladder is a flexible container configured to hold the fluid. The tube is generally coupled to the outside of the bladder and is positioned at the bottom of the bladder to allow for access to all of the fluid. The tube does not extend into the bladder in any of these hydration systems. The other end of the tube is coupled to a bite valve that allows a user to open the valve using some form of hands free mouth movement. Once the bite valve is opened, a user is able to suck out fluid. These hands free bladder systems have significant advantages over existing sealable fluid transportation systems.
  • [0007]
    Unfortunately, existing hands free bladder systems also have significant problems. One problem is the inherent weakness present in almost all existing bladders. Bladders are generally flexible containers composed of some form of rubber or plastic. These containers are very vulnerable to punctures and leaks. For example, if an individual falls while mountain biking, the impact of the fall may cause the bladder to leak. In addition, the retail price of bladders is too expensive to make them disposable to low income individuals. Many users avoid putting sports drinks in bladders because of the inherent bacteria problems that occur from dormant sports drinks. Likewise, it is very difficult to clean a bladder because of their shape and dimensions.
  • [0008]
    Therefore, there is a need in the industry for a hydration system that maintains the hands free capability of existing systems but minimizes or avoids the many problems.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0009]
    The present invention relates to a hydration system. One embodiment of the present invention relates to a universal hydration system for drinking fluid from an independent container. The universal hydration system includes a tube and a cap configured to couple with an independent container. The tube extends through the cap in a leak resistant manner and is disposed within the interior of the independent container. The other end of the tube may be coupled to a tube cap of some sort including a bite valve or a cover, or may be left exposed. The cap is coupled to the independent container using the independent container's coupling system. Additional caps configured for coupling to various containers may also be included with the system. In addition, the additional caps may be stored on the tube so as to create a one-piece universal hydration system. Likewise, the full length of the tube can be extended into the container for storage purposes. Additional embodiments may also include the ability to pressurize the independent container via some form of pump and valve system.
  • [0010]
    These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be set forth or will become more fully apparent in the description that follows and in the appended claims. The features and advantages may be realized and obtained by means of the instruments and combinations particularly pointed out in the appended claims. Furthermore, the features and advantages of the invention may be learned by the practice of the invention or will be obvious from the description, as set forth hereinafter.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0011]
    In order that the manner in which the above-recited and other advantages and features of the invention are obtained, a more particular description of the invention briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof which are illustrated in the appended drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are not therefore to be considered limiting of its scope, the invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:
  • [0012]
    FIG. 1 illustrates a component view of a universal hydration system in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 2 illustrates an assembled view of one embodiment of the present invention configured for hydration use;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-sectional view of a tube extending through a cap in accordance with the present invention;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 4A illustrates a multi-sided multi-cap for use with a hydration system embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 4B illustrates a single-sided multi-cap for use with a hydration system embodiment of the present invention;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 5 illustrates an alternative embodiment of a hydration system in which a pressurization system is incorporated; and
  • [0018]
    FIG. 6 illustrates a hydration system embodiment of the present invention in which the tube is disposed within the container for efficient storage.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0019]
    The present invention relates to a hydration system. One embodiment of the present invention relates to a universal hydration system for drinking fluid from an independent container. The universal hydration system includes a tube and a cap configured to couple with an independent container. The tube extends through the cap in a leak resistant manner and is disposed within the interior of the independent container. The other end of the tube may be coupled to a tube cap of some sort including a bite valve or a cover, or may be left exposed. The cap is coupled to the independent container using the independent container's coupling system. Additional caps configured for coupling to various containers may also be included with the system. In addition, the additional caps may be stored on the tube so as to create a one piece universal hydration system. Likewise, the full length of the tube can be extended into the container for storage purposes. Additional embodiments may also include the ability to pressurize the independent container via some form of pump and valve system. While embodiments of the present invention are directed towards a universal hydration system, the teachings of the present invention are also applicable to other areas. For example, the teachings of the present invention may be applied to a universal fluid dispensing system.
  • [0020]
    Reference is initially made to FIG. 1, which illustrates a component view of a universal hydration system in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. The universal hydration system is designated generally at 100. The universal hydration system 100 generally includes a tube 110 and at least one bottle cap 120. The universal hydration system 100 can be configured for use with any one of a plurality of existing bottles 140. The bottles are independent of the hydration system in that they originated from an independent sale. For example, a Gatorade® bottle may have originally been sold containing Gatorade® fluid. The bottle may be reused/recycled as an independent container for use with the universal hydration system. The universal hydration system 100 may also optionally include one or more tube ends 130. The tube 110 further includes a body 104, a bottle end 106, and a user end 102. The tube 110 is flexible and may be composed of any material including but not limited to polyethylene, Tygon, PVC, urethane, elastomer, rubber, vinyl, etc. The diameter of the tube 110 should be sufficiently large to provide adequate fluid transportation.
  • [0021]
    The universal hydration system 100 may include one or more bottle caps 120 to provide flexibility upon which types of bottles it can operate with. Each bottle cap 120 is sized for a particular bottle 140. For example, two liter soda bottles require a very small cap similar to cap 122. Likewise, sports drink bottles generally have a medium sized opening and may conform to the cap 124. Any type of cap may be used and remain consistent with the present invention. Each of the bottle caps 120 include a hole or recess through which the tube 110 is configured to extend. The hole is generally sized smaller than the diameter of the tube to facilitate a substantially leak proof seal. This seal will be discussed in more detail with reference to FIG. 3. Alternatively, a multi-cap could be utilized which accommodates a variety bottle sizes. A multi-sided and single-sided multi-cap are illustrated and described in more detail with reference to FIGS. 4A and 4B respectively.
  • [0022]
    The universal hydration system optionally includes one or more tube ends 130. A tube end 130 is a device positioned on the user end 102 of the tube in order to provide a particular function. One common function of a tube end 130 is to prevent leakage of fluid when the hydration system is not in use. For example, a bite valve 134 seals the user end 102 of the tube 110 until a user applies a biting force causing it to open. Likewise, a cap end 130 allows the user end 102 of the tube 110 to be capped when not in use. Various other tube ends 130 may be used and remain consistent with the present invention. For example, a manual valve may be added to some portion of the tube 110 to allow a user to block the flow of liquid through the tube.
  • [0023]
    The universal hydration system also requires the use of an existing bottle 140. The existing bottle 140 is generally recycled from another use but may be sold as part of the universal hydration system. A two liter soda bottle 144 is generally composed of a smooth yet durable plastic material. Likewise, a sports drink bottle 142 is composed of a durable plastic material. The concept behind the universal hydration system is to allow it to be used with any fluid bottle. The use of an existing bottle rather than a bladder with traditional types of tube oriented hydration systems saves money and promotes recycling.
  • [0024]
    Reference is next made to FIG. 2, which illustrates an assembled view of one embodiment of the present invention configured for hydration use. The tube body 104 extends all the way to the bottom of the bottle 200 in order to allow a user to access all of the fluid 210 within the container 200. This embodiment includes two caps 122, 124. Cap 122 is disposed in a storage configuration while cap 124 is disposed in an operational configuration. Additional storage caps may also be stored on the tube wither in or out of the container. The tube body 104 extends through the cap 124 in a sealed manner to prevent leakage of fluid 210. The user end 102 of the tube 110 is covered with a bite valve type tube cap to prevent leakage of fluid 210. Various suspension systems and backpacks may be utilized in conjunction with this system to facilitate hands free hydration.
  • [0025]
    Reference is next made to FIG. 3, which illustrates a cross-sectional view of a tube extending through a cap in accordance with the present invention. The cap 124 includes a plurality of threads used for coupling to an existing bottle. The cap 124 also includes a hole sized slightly smaller than the diameter of the tube body 104 in order to facilitate a seal between the tube body 104 and the cap 124. Since the tube is flexible it can be pushed through the cap in a compressed configuration. The resiliency of the tube will cause it to expand into the hole in the cap 124 forming the seal therebetween. In addition, a one way valve may be included in the hole that would allow air into the container but prevent fluid from exiting the container. A pressure vacuum may result from sucking fluid out of the container and a one-way valve/air breather vent would prevent the vacuum from inhibiting the flow of liquid out the tube.
  • [0026]
    Reference is next made to FIGS. 4A and 4B which illustrate cutaway profile views of multi-sided and single-sided multi-caps respectively. Multi-caps allow a single cap to accommodate a variety of container opening shapes. FIG. 4A illustrates a cap in which multiple receiving recesses are disposed on both the top and bottom of the cap. In order to utilize both sides of the cap, the cap may need to be removed and reinserted such that the receiving recesses are facing towards to container. Alternatively, the tube could be reversed such that the fluid end becomes the user end and vice versa. Any additional end caps would need to be removed and coupled on the alternative tube end. FIG. 4B illustrates a cap in which multiple receiving recesses are disposed on a single side of the cap. Multi-caps may be especially useful for efficient manufacturing in that a single cap could be manufactured which accommodates a wide variety of containers.
  • [0027]
    Reference is next made to FIG. 5, which illustrates an alternative hydration system embodiment including a pressurization system, designated generally at 500. The illustrated hydration system 500 includes a bite valve 505, a tube 510, a pump 515, a cap 520, and a container 530. The illustrated pump 515 is a bulb pump which can be squeezed causing an evacuation of air. The pump 515 also includes a check valve 517 which allow air into the pump as it resumes its original shape. The check valve 517 also seals the air within the pump 515 such that the evacuated air can be directed into the tube 510. The container 530 further includes an air region 535 and a fluid region 540. As air is pumped into the container 530 via the pump 515, it will act to increase the pressure within the air region 535 causing a force to be applied on the fluid. This force will assist in fluid transportation up through the tube during operation of the hydration system.
  • [0028]
    A pressurization system includes an air intake mechanism and some form of valve to maintain pressure. The illustrated pressurization system is the bulb pump 515 attached to the tube 510. The valve is the check valve 517 disposed on the bulb pump 515, which allows air into the bulb but not out of the bulb. The bulb can then be repeatably compressed to insert air into the container 530 thereby pressurizing the container 530. The check valve 517 on the bulb pump 515, the seal between the cap 520 and the container 530, and the seal between the tube 510 and the cap 520 all operate to maintain the pressure within the container. Numerous alternative pressurization systems are contemplated and are consistent with the present invention. For example, the tube 510 may include multiple independent chambers in which one chamber is dedicated to pressurization while another is utilized for fluid transportation. Likewise, the caps may include one or more auxiliary recesses for use in attaching pressurization tools such as a pump and/or a check valve. A further embodiment of a pressurization system includes a check valve and relies on the compliance properties of the container to act as a pump in response to a compression force.
  • [0029]
    Reference is next made to FIG. 6, which illustrates a hydration system embodiment of the present invention in which the tube is disposed within the container for efficient storage, designated generally at 600. The illustrated hydration system 600 includes a bite valve 605, cap 620, tube 610, and container 630. The container further includes an air region 635 and a fluid region 640. As illustrated, the tube body 610 may be extended entirely within the container 630 for the purpose of storage and efficient transportation. During operation, the tube body 610 may be extended out from the container 630 to accommodate a desired length or function.
  • [0030]
    Thus, as discussed herein, the present invention relates to a hydration system. One embodiment of the present invention relates to a universal hydration system for drinking fluid from an independent container. The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes that come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8727244Aug 31, 2010May 20, 2014Relaj Inc.Fluid container and support bracket therefor
US20130056505 *Mar 7, 2013Jonathan H. CressSize adapter for liquid dispensing bottles
USD622149Aug 24, 2010Relaj, Inc.Fluid container
USD638299May 24, 2011Relaj, Inc.Fluid container
USD656403Mar 27, 2012Relaj, Inc.Fluid container
USD698657Feb 27, 2012Feb 4, 2014Relaj, Inc.Fluid container
USD749956Feb 3, 2014Feb 23, 2016Relaj Inc.Fluid container
WO2014160123A2 *Mar 13, 2014Oct 2, 2014International Packaging Innovations, LlcPortable dispensing system for bagged fluids
WO2014160123A3 *Mar 13, 2014Jan 22, 2015International Packaging Innovations, LlcPortable dispensing system for bagged fluids
Classifications
U.S. Classification222/211, 215/229
International ClassificationB65D41/00, B65D37/00, B65D39/00, B65D51/00
Cooperative ClassificationA45F3/16
European ClassificationA45F3/16