CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 60/713,358, filed Sep. 2, 2005.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a bag attachment for a cooler for storing and transporting empty cans, bottles and other waste.
2. Description of the Related Art
Coolers and ice chests for transporting, storing and chilling beverages are common accessories for picnics, outdoors parties and other activities where cold beverages and food are desired. Food wrappers and empty bottles and cans are often returned to the cooler for later transport and disposal. Placing waste back into the cooler, however, is unsanitary, raises the temperature inside the cooler, both through thermal conduction and the introduction of warm air each time the cooler lid is opened, and also requires the user to carry a heavy cooler full of ice and waste to a waste repository. It is desirable to have a separate receptacle for the waste generated by users of the cooler or ice chest.
Garbage cans often are not conveniently located for the disposal of waste at a picnic or party, and are not easily transported. Although garbage bags may be transported along with the cooler, loose bags are difficult to hold open without a garbage can, and may easily rupture or spill their contents.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Thus, a bag attachment for a cooler solving the aforementioned problems is desired.
The bag attachment for a cooler includes a sack or pouch defining a bag having a reclosable frame disposed around the mouth of the bag for supporting the bag and selectively closing the bag. The frame is releasably attached to an external wall of a cooler through use of a suitable fastener, such as a hook-and-loop type fastener, and maintains the mouth of the pouch in an open state, allowing for the storage of waste, such as empty cans and bottles, in the pouch. The bag may be formed from any flexible material, particularly cloth or fabric, and preferably of mesh or netting, which allows for the free passage of air, preventing the build-up of unpleasant odors from waste material deposited in the bag.
When the bag is full, the frame may be detached from the cooler, and the frame may be folded and clasped shut to close the mouth of the receptacle for transport to a waste depository. A pair of handles are fixed to the frame, allowing the user to easily carry the bag when it is in the folded state.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
These and other features of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.
FIG. 1 is an environmental perspective view of a bag attachment for a cooler according to the present invention.
FIG. 2 is an environmental perspective view of the bag attachment of the present invention exploded from a cooler to show the selective detachment of the bag to the cooler.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the bag attachment for a cooler according to the present invention as seen from the rear with the mouth of the bag open.
FIG. 4 is a front view of the bag attachment for a cooler according to the present invention with the mouth of the bag closed.
FIG. 5 is a front view of an alternative embodiment of a bag attachment for a cooler according to the present invention.
- DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.
The present invention relates to a bag which forms an attachment that is selectively attachable to a cooler. The bag 10, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, is selectively and detachably mounted to an external wall of cooler 12 for receiving waste, such as empty cans and bottles 34. The bag 10 allows for both the collection of waste materials and for the easy transport of the waste to a trash repository.
As best shown in FIG. 2, the bag 10 includes a sack or pouch 26 forming a bag having a mouth that has a reclosable frame 42 disposed around the perimeter of the mouth. Pouch 26 is formed from flexible material, particularly cloth (although plastic or any other suitable material may be used), and is preferably formed of mesh or netting, and is further dimensioned for the storage of empty beverage cans and bottles 34, or other waste. The mouth of the pouch 26 is fixed to frame 42 through the use of rivets, bolts, heat sealing, stitching, or through any other suitable method.
In the preferred embodiment, pouch. 26 is formed from mesh, netting or any other suitable open material allowing for the free passage of air therethrough in order to prevent the build-up of unpleasant odors generated by waste 34. An open material, such as mesh or netting, further allow liquids to drain through the material, rather than pooling in the closed, lower end of pouch 26. The frame 42 includes first and second frame members 16, 18, which may be pivotally joined to one another by a pair of hinges 20 so that the frame folds or pivots to close the mouth of the pouch 26, similar to the closure members of a purse. It should be understood that frame members 16, 18 may be pivotally joined, each to the other, through any suitable means for pivotal attachment.
First and second frame members 16, 18 are formed from plastic or any other suitable resilient material that is strong enough to support pouch 26 and selectively maintain pouch 26 in an open state for receiving waste. First and second frame members 16 and 18 are preferably formed of relatively lightweight material, allowing for the easy transport of attachable bag 10. First and second frame members 16, 18 may be formed of plastic tubing and, alternatively, may include telescoping tubing in order to provide an adjustable length for foldable frame 42, allowing the frame 42 to be adapted for use with multiple coolers.
Frame 42 is selectively and releasably secured to an external wall of cooler 12 by a releasable fastener. Any suitable releasable fastener may be utilized. However, in a preferred embodiment, a first strip of fastening material 32 is mounted on cooler 12, and a second strip of fastening material 36 (shown in FIG. 3) is mounted on frame 42, to form mating hook and loop fasteners. Strips 32, 36 may be mounted on cooler 12 and frame 14, respectively, through adhesive, heat sealing, or any other suitable mounting and securement process.
As shown in FIG. 2, in the preferred embodiment, first strip 32 is mounted beneath hinges 14 of cooler 12, and extends the length of cooler 12. Alternatively, a shorter strip of fastening material may be mounted between hinges 14. However, it is desirable that the position of frame 42 not impede the opening of the lid of cooler 12.
As best shown in the rear view of FIG. 3, a pair of supports 22 are mounted on second frame member 18, with the second strip of fastening material 36 being positioned therebetween. Supports 22 are secured to second frame member 18 and project downwardly therefrom. Supports 22 are formed of a plastic material or any other suitable resilient material, and contact cooler 12 when attachable bag 10 is mounted to cooler 12. Supports 22 are secured to second frame member 18 through rivets, bolts or any other suitable method of attachment.
As best shown in FIG. 1, supports 22 prevent rotation of bag 10 about the longitudinal axis of second frame member 18, caused by the weight of waste 34. The downward rotation of frame 42 under the weight of waste 34 could cause the bag 10 to accidentally disengage from cooler 12. However, supports 22 prevent unwanted rotation of frame 42, thus maintaining the frame 42 in a stable position substantially parallel to the lid of cooler 12.
First and second releasable clasps or locking elements 28, 30 are secured, respectively, to first and second frame members 16, 18. As shown in FIG. 4, when attachable bag 10 is detached from cooler 12, first and second frame members 16, 18 may be folded together, pivoting with respect to one another about hinges 20, and may be releasably locked together by engagement of releasable locking elements 28 and 30. Locking elements 28 and 30 preferably form a clasp. However, any other suitable locking structure may be used, such as a hook, a belt and buckle, a hook-and-loop type fastener, or any other suitable releasable locking device.
Additionally, each frame member 16, 18 has a handle 24 attached thereto, allowing a user to easily carry bag 10 when the bag 10 is closed and fastened by clasps 28 and 30, as shown in FIG. 4. Handles 24 may be pivotally mounted to frame members 16, 18 in order to provide adjustable, ergonomic gripping for the user, and also to aid in the collapsing of bag 10 for storage.
Alternatively, bag 10 may include a second set of fasteners, shown as hook and loop fastening strips 38, 40 in FIG. 5, allowing the bag 10 to be rolled up and secured during transport. The bag 10 may be collapsed and rolled up when bag 10 is either attached to cooler 12 or when bag 10 is in a detached state. Although shown as hook and loop strips 38, 40, it should be understood that this is for exemplary purposes only, and any suitable releasable fastening mechanism may be used.
In use, cooler 12 is transported to any desired site, such as a picnic or baseball game, and frame 42 is attached to cooler 12 through the engagement of fastening strip 36 with fastening strip 32. Second frame member 18 is positioned beneath hinges 14 of cooler 12 so that the opening of the lid of cooler 12 is not prevented or impeded. Empty cans and bottles 34 are deposited in pouch 26, which is supported by, and held open by, frame 42. The weight of cooler 12 maintains frame 42 in a stable position, thus providing solid and stable support for pouch 26.
As bag 10 fills up with waste 34, frame 42 is prevented from rotating under the weight of pouch 26 and waste 34 through the contact and engagement of supports 22 with the external wall of cooler 12.
When pouch 26 is filled with waste 34, frame 42 is detached from cooler 12 and the frame 42 may be closed, as shown in FIG. 4, for easy transport. When first and second frame members 16, 18 are folded together about hinges 20, locking elements 28, 30, forming a clasp, may be secured to one another to maintain frame 42 in a closed position, similar to closure of a purse. The user carries the bag 10, through the use of handles 24, to a waste repository for emptying of waste 34. The attachment of the frame 42 to pouch 26, along with the carrying handles 24, provides the user with a system for easily storing and transporting waste, and reduces the possibility of strain on the user due to the weight of the waste. The construction of bag 10 further provides the user with a system preventing direct contact with the waste.
Through the use of second hook-and-loop strips 38, 40, secured to the exterior of receptacle 26, as shown in FIG. 5, the pouch 26 may be collapsed and rolled-up for storage. The bag 10 may be reattached to cooler 12 for storage of both, or cooler 12 and bag 10 may be stored and transported separately.
It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.