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Publication numberUS20070108238 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/592,485
Publication dateMay 17, 2007
Filing dateNov 2, 2006
Priority dateNov 15, 2005
Publication number11592485, 592485, US 2007/0108238 A1, US 2007/108238 A1, US 20070108238 A1, US 20070108238A1, US 2007108238 A1, US 2007108238A1, US-A1-20070108238, US-A1-2007108238, US2007/0108238A1, US2007/108238A1, US20070108238 A1, US20070108238A1, US2007108238 A1, US2007108238A1
InventorsAndrew Kirker
Original AssigneeAndrew Kirker
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Personal beverage supply assembly
US 20070108238 A1
Abstract
A personal beverage supply assembly includes a fluid retainer assembly and a fluid delivery conduit. The fluid retainer assembly includes a fluid retainer and a fitment. The fluid retainer defines a fluid cavity that selectively retains a fluid. The fitment is fixedly secured to the fluid retainer. In various embodiments, the fitment has a conduit aperture. The fluid delivery conduit extends through the conduit aperture and guides discharge of the fluid from the fluid cavity to the user. In certain embodiments, the fluid delivery conduit is the sole avenue for discharge of the fluid from the fluid cavity. In some embodiments, the fluid delivery conduit is adjustable relative to the fitment. The fitment and the fluid delivery conduit can be formed as a one-piece, unitary structure. The fluid retainer can include an uninterrupted first wall and an opposing uninterrupted second wall. The fitment can be fixedly secured to and is positioned between the first wall and the second wall.
Images(5)
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Claims(27)
1. A personal beverage supply assembly for supplying a fluid to a user, the personal beverage supply assembly comprising:
a fluid retainer assembly including (i) a fluid retainer defining a fluid cavity that selectively retains the fluid, and (ii) a fitment that is fixedly secured to the fluid retainer, the fitment having a conduit aperture; and
a fluid delivery conduit that extends through the conduit aperture and guides discharge of the fluid from the fluid cavity to the user so that the fluid delivery conduit is the sole avenue for discharge of the fluid from the fluid cavity, the fluid delivery conduit having a first section that extends into the fluid cavity and a second section that extends outside of the fluid cavity.
2. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 1 wherein the first section and the second section are integrally formed as a homogeneous structure.
3. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 1 wherein the fitment and the fluid delivery conduit are formed as a one-piece, unitary structure.
4. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 1 wherein the fitment and the fluid delivery conduit are integrally formed as a homogeneous structure.
5. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 1 wherein the first section includes a first end, and wherein the first end is not secured within the fluid cavity.
6. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 1 wherein the fitment includes a retainer bonding surface that bonds to the fluid retainer to form a seal between the fitment and the fluid retainer.
7. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 1 wherein the fluid retainer includes a first wall and an opposing second wall, and wherein the fitment is positioned between and secured to the first wall and the second wall.
8. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 1 further comprising a valve secured to the second section, the valve moving from a first position to a second position, the valve only allowing the fluid to flow from the fluid delivery conduit to the user when the valve is in the second position.
9. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 1 wherein the fluid retainer is formed from a substantially homogeneous material, and wherein the fluid retainer includes only one opening into the fluid cavity, the fluid delivery conduit being positioned at the opening.
10. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 1 wherein the first section is substantially rigid.
11. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 1 wherein the fluid delivery conduit is fixedly secured to the fitment.
12. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 1 wherein the second section is flexible.
13. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 1 wherein the fluid delivery conduit is adjustable relative to the fitment.
14. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 13 wherein a length of the second section of the fluid delivery conduit is adjustable.
15. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 14 wherein the first section of the fluid delivery conduit includes a conduit stop that inhibits the fluid delivery conduit from being removed from the conduit aperture.
16. A personal beverage supply assembly for supplying a fluid to a user, the personal beverage supply assembly comprising:
a fluid retainer assembly including (i) a fluid retainer defining a fluid cavity that selectively retains the fluid, the fluid retaining including an uninterrupted first wall and an opposing uninterrupted second wall, and (ii) a fitment that is fixedly secured to the fluid retainer, the fitment being positioned between the first wall and the second wall, the fitment having a conduit aperture; and
a fluid delivery conduit that extends through the conduit aperture and guides discharge of the fluid from the fluid cavity to the user, the fluid delivery conduit having a first section that extends into the fluid cavity and a second section that extends outside of the fluid cavity.
17. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 16 wherein the first section and the second section are formed substantially from a homogeneous material.
18. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 16 wherein the first section includes a first end, and wherein the first end is not secured within the fluid cavity.
19. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 16 wherein the fitment is secured to the first wall and the second wall.
20. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 16 wherein the first section is substantially rigid.
21. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 16 wherein the fitment and the fluid delivery conduit are formed as a one-piece structure from a substantially homogeneous material.
22. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 16 wherein the second section is flexible.
23. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 16 wherein the fluid delivery conduit is adjustable relative to the fitment.
24. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 23 wherein a length of the second section of the fluid delivery conduit is adjustable.
25. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 24 wherein the first section of the fluid delivery conduit includes a conduit stop that inhibits the fluid delivery conduit from being removed from the conduit aperture.
26. A personal beverage supply assembly for supplying a fluid to a user, the personal beverage supply assembly comprising:
a fluid retainer assembly including (i) a fluid retainer defining a fluid cavity that selectively retains the fluid, the fluid retaining including an uninterrupted first wall and an opposing uninterrupted second wall, and (ii) a fitment that is fixedly secured to and positioned between the first wall and the second wall of the fluid retainer, the fitment having a conduit aperture; and
a fluid delivery conduit that is secured to the fitment, the fluid delivery conduit guiding discharge of the fluid from the fluid cavity to the user, the fluid delivery conduit having a first section that extends into the fluid cavity and a second section that extends outside of the fluid cavity, the first section having a first end that is not secured within the fluid cavity, the second section being substantially flexible, the fluid delivery conduit and the fitment being formed as a one-piece structure from a substantially homogeneous material.
27. The personal beverage supply assembly of claim 26 further comprising a valve secured to the second section, the valve moving from a first position to a second position, the valve allowing the fluid to flow from the fluid delivery conduit to the user when the valve is in only one of the first position and the second position.
Description
    RELATED APPLICATION
  • [0001]
    This Application claims the benefit on U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/737,222 filed on Nov. 15, 2005. The contents of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/737,222 are incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0002]
    Exercise has long been considered critical for improving both mental and physical health. The importance of staying hydrated with the proper fluids during exercise is also well-known. While some forms of physical activity are more conducive to taking breaks for proper hydration, others types of activities make it more difficult to do so. For example, some mid- to long-distance runners or competitive cyclists cannot afford to interrupt their activity for a hydration stop. Additionally, depending upon the location of the exercise, the availability for purchasing or otherwise obtaining beverages may be limited.
  • [0003]
    Further, today's society is becoming increasingly “hands-free”. Many people are more desirous of freeing up the use of both hands during both exercise and non-exercise activities. For instance, activities requiring balance and/or concentration such as rock-climbing, operating a car or motorcycle, hunting, skiing, kayaking, etc., can each be better accomplished if the participant is not required to use one or both hands to carry a beverage container.
  • [0004]
    Attempts to address these issues have included providing a reusable, refillable personal hydration container that holds a drinking fluid and which uses a relatively narrow delivery tube as a conduit to deliver the fluid to the user. These types of containers are carried by a user during various activities, and are subsequently emptied, cleaned and refilled with more drinking fluid. Unfortunately, many such containers and drinking tubes are difficult to thoroughly clean, which can result in leaving an unwanted residue, such as mold, mildew, bacteria or other microorganisms within the fluid retainer or drinking tube. Additionally, these types of containers can also be somewhat tricky, messy and/or time-consuming to properly refill. Over time, various seals of the fluid container can deteriorate or completely fail, which can lead to leakage of the drinking fluid, creating even more problems.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0005]
    In certain embodiments, a personal beverage supply assembly includes a fluid retainer assembly and a fluid delivery conduit, and is entirely disposable. The fluid retainer assembly can include a fluid retainer and a fitment. The fluid retainer defines a fluid cavity that selectively retains a fluid. The fitment is fixedly secured to the fluid retainer. In various embodiments, the fitment has a conduit aperture. The fluid delivery conduit extends through the conduit aperture and guides discharge of the fluid from the fluid cavity to the user. In certain embodiments, the fluid delivery conduit is the sole avenue for discharge of the fluid from the fluid cavity. In some embodiments, the fluid delivery conduit is adjustable relative to the fitment.
  • [0006]
    In some embodiments, the fluid delivery conduit includes a first section that extends into the fluid cavity and a second section that extends outside of the fluid cavity. The first section and the second section can be integrally formed as a homogeneous structure. In certain embodiments, the fitment and the fluid delivery conduit can be formed as a one-piece, unitary structure. The fitment and the fluid delivery conduit can be integrally formed as a homogeneous structure. The fitment can include a retainer bonding surface that bonds to the fluid retainer to form a seal between the fitment and the fluid retainer.
  • [0007]
    In various embodiments, the personal beverage supply assembly can include a valve secured to the second section. The valve can move from a first position that does not allow fluid to flow to the user, to a second position that allows fluid to flow to the user. In another embodiment, the fluid retainer includes an uninterrupted first wall and an opposing uninterrupted second wall. The fitment can be fixedly secured to and is positioned between the first wall and the second wall.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0008]
    The novel features of this invention, as well as the invention itself, both as to its structure and its operation, will be best understood from the accompanying drawings, taken in conjunction with the accompanying description, in which similar reference characters refer to similar parts, and in which:
  • [0009]
    FIG. 1A is a perspective view of one embodiment of a personal beverage supply assembly having features of the present invention;
  • [0010]
    FIG. 1B is a side view of the personal beverage supply assembly illustrated in FIG. 1A with a portion of one embodiment of a fluid delivery conduit illustrated in phantom;
  • [0011]
    FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a portion of the fluid delivery conduit and a fitment having features of the present invention;
  • [0012]
    FIG. 3A is a perspective view of one embodiment of the fitment;
  • [0013]
    FIG. 3B is a cross-sectional view of the fitment taken on line 3B-3B in FIG. 3A;
  • [0014]
    FIG. 3C is a side view of the fitment illustrated in FIG. 3A;
  • [0015]
    FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a portion of the fluid delivery conduit and a fitment;
  • [0016]
    FIG. 5 is a side view of another embodiment of the personal beverage supply assembly having features of the present invention, including the fluid delivery conduit;
  • [0017]
    FIG. 6A is a cross-sectional view of another embodiment of the fluid delivery conduit;
  • [0018]
    FIG. 6B is a cross-sectional view of yet another embodiment of the fluid delivery conduit;
  • [0019]
    FIG. 6C is a cross-sectional view of still another embodiment of the fluid delivery conduit;
  • [0020]
    FIG. 7A is a side view of another embodiment of the supply assembly, shown in a first position; and
  • [0021]
    FIG. 7B is a side view of the supply assembly illustrated in FIG. 7A, shown in a second position.
  • DESCRIPTION
  • [0022]
    FIG. 1A is a perspective view of one embodiment of a personal beverage supply assembly 10 (also referred to herein simply as “supply assembly”). In one embodiment, the supply assembly 10 is intended to be a single-use, disposable supply assembly 10 that can fit within a slightly larger outer carrying container (not shown), such as a backpack or other carrier. Alternatively, the supply assembly 10 can be used on its own, without the need for an outer carrying container. Still alternatively, the supply assembly 10 can include one or more straps (not shown) that secure the supply assembly 10 to the back or front of a user's body during transport, exercise or other activities.
  • [0023]
    The supply assembly 10 is typically used during exercise, such as during hiking, biking, running, swimming, walking, various types of work, or any other type of exercise or exertion where intake of fluids is desired and/or necessary. Alternatively, the supply assembly 10 can equally be used during periods of relative inactivity on the part of the user.
  • [0024]
    In certain embodiments, the supply assembly 10 includes a fluid retainer assembly 12 and a fluid delivery assembly 14. The fluid retainer assembly 12 selectively retains a drinking fluid 15 (shown in phantom in FIG. 1A, and also sometimes referred to simply as “fluid”) until the fluid 15 is discharged to the user. In various embodiments, the fluid retainer assembly 12 includes a fluid retainer 16 and a fitment 18 that is fixedly secured to the fluid retainer 16. The fluid retainer 16 defines a fluid cavity 20 that receives and selectively retains the fluid 15. The fluid retainer 16 can be a substantially sealed reservoir that holds the fluid 15 until needed for drinking or other usage by the user.
  • [0025]
    Because certain embodiments of the supply assembly 10 are intended as single-use units, there is no need to detach and/or reattach the fluid delivery assembly 14 or any portion of the fluid delivery assembly 14 for cleaning or replacement, for example. In these embodiments, once the fluid 15 within the fluid retainer 16 has been emptied, or once the user is through using the supply assembly 10 during an activity, the entire supply assembly 10 can be discarded. In an alternative embodiment, at least a portion of the supply assembly 10 can be refilled and/or reused.
  • [0026]
    It is recognized that although the description provided herein primarily focuses on fluid 15 for ingestion by a user, that the fluid 15 can equally include non-ingestible materials, e.g. materials not intended for oral consumption by the user. As a non-exclusive example, the fluid 15 can include a cleaning solution such as soapy water, or any other suitable fluid 15 that can be dispensed from the fluid retainer assembly 12. Stated another way, the supply assembly 10 can appropriately include any suitable liquid or gas, which includes fluids 15 too numerous to mention herein.
  • [0027]
    The overall shape of the fluid retainer 16 and/or the fluid cavity 20 can vary. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1A, for example, the fluid retainer 16 is somewhat rectangular. Alternatively, the fluid retainer 16 can be oval, circular or can have any other suitable configuration.
  • [0028]
    The size of the fluid cavity 20 can vary. For example, the fluid cavity 20 can hold 24-100 ounces of fluid 15. Alternatively, the fluid cavity 20 can hold less than 24 ounces or greater than 100 ounces of fluid 15. In one embodiment, the fluid cavity 20 can come pre-filled with any suitable drinking fluid 15, such as an energy drink, water, an electrolyte drink or any other non-alcoholic or alcohol-containing beverage for consumption by the user, and/or by another person or animal.
  • [0029]
    The fluid retainer 16 can be formed from two or more walls that are adhered to one another. For example, in the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1A, the fluid retainer includes a first wall 22 and a second wall 24. In this embodiment, the first wall 22 and the second wall 24 are substantially similar to one another. In alternative embodiments, the first wall 22 and the second wall 24 can have different configurations from one another. Still alternatively, the fluid retainer 16 can be formed from greater than two walls or from a single wall.
  • [0030]
    In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1A, the walls 22, 24 are sealed or otherwise adhered together at a perimeter 26 of the fluid retainer 16, with the exception of the positioning of the fitment 18, as explained in greater detail below. In this embodiment, each wall 22, 24 is substantially uninterrupted. As used herein, the term uninterrupted means that the wall 22, 24 is essentially continuous to the perimeter 26. Thus, each of the walls 22, 24 does not include any breaches through any portion of the respective wall 22, 24.
  • [0031]
    The fluid retainer 16 can be constructed from plastic, foil, rubber, various synthetics, or other pliable, durable and/or relatively lightweight materials that can be easier to carry and are relatively inexpensive to manufacture. In these embodiments, the fluid retainer 16 is formed from a material that can dynamically change shape to accommodate a changing volume of fluid 15 within the fluid cavity 20. Alternatively, the fluid retainer 16 can be formed from a rigid material, i.e. metal, rigid plastic or other suitable materials, which does not change shape regardless of the volume of fluid 15 within the fluid cavity 20.
  • [0032]
    In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1A, the fitment 18 is positioned between the first wall 22 and the second wall 24 at or near the perimeter 26 of the fluid retainer 16. In certain embodiments, the fitment 18 provides the sole breach in the direct contact between the walls 22, 24 at the perimeter 26 of the fluid retainer 16 to allow an avenue of discharge of the fluid 15 from the fluid cavity 20.
  • [0033]
    The fluid delivery assembly 14 provides an avenue for the delivery of fluid 15 from the fluid cavity 20 to the user. The design of the fluid delivery assembly 14 can be varied to suit the design requirements of the supply assembly 10. In certain embodiments, the fluid delivery assembly 14 includes a fluid delivery conduit 28 (illustrated partially in phantom in FIG. 1A) that extends between the first wall 22 and the second wall 24 at the fitment 18. In one embodiment, the fluid delivery conduit 28 is secured to and extends directly through the fitment 18.
  • [0034]
    The fluid delivery conduit 28 can be tubular and can have a substantially circular cross-section. Alternatively, the fluid delivery conduit 28 can have a cross-section with other suitable configurations.
  • [0035]
    In one embodiment, the supply assembly 10 includes a valve 30 positioned at or near one end of the fluid delivery conduit 28, as illustrated in FIG. 1A. In this embodiment, the valve 30 can be opened by force exerted by the user on the valve 30. One example of this type of valve 30 is known as a bite valve, which is operated by the user selectively biting or releasing the valve 30 to open or close the valve 30, respectively. Opening or closing the valve 30 results in allowing fluid 15 to flow to the user, or halting the flow of fluid 15 to the user, respectively. Alternatively, other suitable types of valves 30 can be incorporated into the fluid delivery assembly 14. Alternatively, the valve 30 can be integrally formed with the fluid delivery conduit 28 to reduce the number of parts necessary to form the supply assembly 10 to increase manufacturing efficiency and reduce manufacturing costs.
  • [0036]
    FIG. 1B is a side view of the supply assembly 10 illustrated in FIG. 1A. In this embodiment, the fluid delivery conduit 28 is partially illustrated in phantom. As illustrated in FIG. 1B, the fluid delivery conduit 28 includes a first section 32 and a second section 34. The first section 32 is positioned within the fluid cavity 20. The second section 34 extends from the fitment 18, and is positioned outside of the fluid cavity 20. The first section 32 includes a first end 36 of the fluid delivery conduit 28, and the second section 34 includes a second end 38 of the fluid delivery conduit 28.
  • [0037]
    In certain embodiments, the first section 32 of the fluid delivery conduit 28 is substantially rigid to increase the likelihood that the first end 36 will be properly positioned within the fluid cavity 20 so that a greater amount of fluid 15 (illustrated in FIG. 1A) can be dispensed from the fluid cavity 20. Alternatively, the first section 32 can be flexible. In either of these arrangements, a portion of the first section 32 can be fixedly secured to the fluid retainer 16. Alternatively, the first section 32 can be entirely movable and unattached within the fluid cavity 20.
  • [0038]
    Further, in certain embodiments, the second section 34 of the fluid delivery conduit 28 can be flexible to allow the user to better position the second section 34 relative to the user's mouth or another desired location. Alternatively, the second section 34 can be substantially rigid.
  • [0039]
    The length of the first section 32 and the second section 34 can be varied to suit the design requirements of the supply assembly 10. Further, the length of the first section 32 relative to the second section 34 can be adjusted, as described in greater detail below.
  • [0040]
    FIG. 2 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a fitment 218 and a portion of a fluid delivery assembly 214 including a fluid delivery conduit 228. In this embodiment, the fitment 218 includes a conduit aperture 240 through which the fluid delivery conduit 228 is positioned. In one embodiment, the fluid delivery conduit 228 is immovably adhered or otherwise secured to the fitment 218 at the conduit aperture 240.
  • [0041]
    In an alternative embodiment, the fluid delivery conduit 228 can be movable relative to the fitment 218 so that the lengths of the first section 232 and the second section 234 can be simultaneously adjustable. In this embodiment, by pulling the second section 234 away from the fluid retainer 16 (illustrated in FIG. 1A), the ratio of the length of the second section 234 to the first section 232 increases. On the other hand, by pushing the second section 234 toward the fluid retainer 16, the ratio of the length of the second section 234 to the first section 232 decreases. In this embodiment, materials are used for the fitment 218 and the fluid delivery conduit 228 that promote an airtight and/or watertight seal therebetween during non-movement of the fluid delivery conduit 228 relative to the fitment 218.
  • [0042]
    In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, although not essential to the invention, the fluid delivery assembly 214 can include a conduit stop 242 that is fixedly secured to the first section 232 of the fluid delivery conduit 228. When the fluid delivery conduit 228 is slidingly moved through the fitment 218 in the direction of arrow 244 so that the length of the second section 234 is increased, the conduit stop 242 will eventually contact the fitment 218. With this design, the conduit stop 242 inhibits excessive movement of the fluid delivery conduit 228 relative to the fitment 218. Consequently, the fluid delivery conduit 228 is inhibited from being completely removed from the conduit aperture 240 of the fitment 218 in order to reduce the likelihood of leakage of fluid 15 out of the fluid cavity 20.
  • [0043]
    FIG. 3A is an enlarged view of one embodiment of a fitment 318. In this embodiment, the fitment 318 has a circular conduit aperture 340 to accommodate a similarly shaped fluid delivery conduit 228 (illustrated in FIG. 2). Further, the fitment 318 includes one or more retainer bonding surfaces 346 (only one retainer bonding surface 346 is visible in FIG. 3A) that each directly adheres or attaches to one of the walls 22, 24 (illustrated in FIG. 1A) of the fluid retainer 16 (illustrated in FIG. 1A). The retainer bonding surfaces 346 can be curved as illustrated in FIG. 3A. Alternatively, the retainer bonding surfaces 346 can have a substantially linear configuration. In this embodiment, the fitment 318 includes two retainer bonding surfaces 346 on opposing sides of the fitment 318.
  • [0044]
    The shape of the fitment 318 can vary. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3A, the fitment 318 has a tapered configuration that inhibits leakage of fluid 15 from the retainer cavity 20. Alternatively, the fitment 318 can have a different configuration than that illustrated in FIG. 3A.
  • [0045]
    FIG. 3B is a cross-sectional view of the fitment 318 illustrated in FIG. 3A. The dimensions of the fitment 318 can vary depending upon the dimensions of the fluid retainer 16 (illustrated in FIG. 1A) and the fluid delivery conduit 228 (illustrated in FIG. 2). In one non-exclusive embodiment, the fitment 318 can have a length 348 of approximately 1.30 inches, a width 350 of approximately 0.65 inches, and a conduit aperture 340 with a diameter 352 of approximately 0.35 inches. It is understood that the length 348, the width 350 and the diameter 352 of the conduit aperture 340 can have dimensions that are greater or less than the foregoing dimensions.
  • [0046]
    FIG. 3C is a side view of the fitment 318 illustrated in FIG. 3A. In one non-exclusive embodiment, the fitment 318 can have a height 354 that is approximately 0.40 inches. It is understood that the height 354 can have a dimension that is greater or less than that stated in the foregoing example.
  • [0047]
    FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of a fitment 418 and a portion of a fluid delivery conduit 428 that can be incorporated into the supply assembly 10. In this embodiment, the fitment 418 and the fluid delivery conduit 428 are formed as a unitary structure. Stated another way, the fitment 418 and the fluid delivery conduit 428 are formed together from a homogeneous material, in a one-piece configuration. With this design, the fluid delivery conduit 428 cannot move relative to the fitment 418 as described previously relative to certain other embodiments. As a consequence of this design, the incidence of leakage is decreased because no fluid 15 (illustrated in FIG. 1A) can seep or otherwise move between the fitment 418 and the fluid delivery conduit 428.
  • [0048]
    FIG. 5 illustrates another embodiment of the supply assembly 510 including a fluid retainer 516 and a fluid delivery conduit 528. In this embodiment, the fluid delivery conduit 528 includes an outer component 556 and an inner component 558. The outer component 556 of the fluid delivery conduit 528 can be formed as a unitary structure with the fluid retainer 516 so that the fluid retainer 516 and the outer component 556 of the fluid delivery conduit 528 are effectively formed as a unit from a single material, i.e. one piece construction.
  • [0049]
    The outer component 556 can protect the inner component 558 from being breached, punctured or kinked. Additionally, or in the alternative, the outer component 556 can also insulate the inner component 558, helping to maintain the temperature of the fluid 15 (illustrated in FIG. 1A) in the fluid delivery conduit 528 similar to that of the fluid 15 in the fluid retainer 516. With this design, manufacturing of the supply assembly 510 is facilitated.
  • [0050]
    The inner component 558 can also inhibit collapse of the outer component 556 onto itself, which could otherwise make transferring the fluid 15 to the user difficult. Additionally, the inner component 558 can extend into the fluid retainer 516 to permit greater efficiency of use and more complete emptying of the fluid retainer 516 during use.
  • [0051]
    In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5, the supply assembly 510 can include a plurality of slits 560 that can be used to attach straps (not shown) to secure the supply assembly 510 to the user. In an alternative embodiment, the slits 560 can be in the form of eyelets or other suitable similar structures to which one or more straps can attach for more convenient carrying or transport of the supply assembly 510 by the user.
  • [0052]
    FIG. 6A is a cross-sectional view of the fluid delivery conduit 528 taken on line 6-6 in FIG. 5. In this embodiment, the fluid delivery conduit 628A includes an inner component 658A which can include a straw or other conduit that extends substantially within the length of an outer component 656A to maintain flow of fluid 15 through (i) the inner component 658A (and not the outer component 656A), (ii) between the outer component 656A and the inner component 658A (and not within the inner component 658A), or (iii) through both of the above.
  • [0053]
    FIG. 6B is a fluid delivery conduit 628B formed from the same material used for the fluid retainer 516 (illustrated in FIG. 5), e.g. as an integral, unitary structure. In other words, in this embodiment, the fluid delivery conduit 628B only includes an outer component 656B formed from the same material as that used for the fluid retainer 516.
  • [0054]
    FIG. 6C illustrates a fluid delivery conduit 628C that includes the inner component 658C and the outer component 656C and a very permeable foam material, i.e. sponge with large open cells, or a honeycomb structure, positioned inside the outer component 656C to keep the fluid delivery conduit 628C open, thereby allowing flow of fluid 15 to the user. In this embodiment, the fluid 15 can easily flow through the permeable foam material of the inner component 658C to reach the user's mouth.
  • [0055]
    FIGS. 7A and 7B are plan views of another embodiment of the supply assembly 710. In this embodiment, the supply assembly 710 can have an expandable, accordion-type fluid delivery conduit 728 that can “stretch” (FIG. 7A) or “compact” (FIG. 7B) to suit the needs of the user. The structure of the expandable fluid delivery conduit 728 also inhibits flattening of the fluid delivery conduit 728 during use which could otherwise impede flow of fluid 15 (illustrated in FIG. 1A) to the user. In the compact position (FIG. 7B), the supply assembly 710 takes up less space, i.e. for transport, shipping, etc.
  • [0056]
    In one embodiment, when the fluid delivery conduit 728 is moved from the compact position (FIG. 7B) to the stretched position (FIG. 7A), flow of fluid 15 is activated. In other words, upon expansion of the fluid delivery conduit 728, a membrane or other sealer (not shown) within the fluid delivery conduit 728 can be intentionally punctured or otherwise ruptured to allow the fluid 15 within the fluid retainer 716 to flow completely through the fluid delivery conduit 728 to the user. Alternatively, expansion of the fluid delivery conduit 728 can result in breaking or moving a seal (not shown) within the fluid delivery conduit 728 or the fluid retainer 716 that would otherwise inhibit the fluid 15 from flowing completely through the fluid delivery conduit 728, so that the fluid 15 can then flow through the fluid delivery conduit 728 to the user.
  • [0057]
    While the particular personal beverage supply assembly 10 as herein shown and disclosed in detail is fully capable of obtaining the objects and providing the advantages herein before stated, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of some of the presently preferred embodiments of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown other than as described in the appended claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification224/148.2
International ClassificationA45F3/16
Cooperative ClassificationA45F3/16
European ClassificationA45F3/16