REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/451,240, filed Jan. 24, 2000.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a sports bag, and specifically to a sports bag configured for carrying shoes and other items comfortably and conveniently.
BACKGROUND OF INVENTION
Athletic bags of various sizes and shapes designed to carry sports equipment are well known. Generally such bags consist of a bag portion into which the user stuffs all of his or her equipment, and a shoulder strap portion for carrying the bag. Such bags can have a bulky profile and be difficult to carry. This is especially true when athletic shoes are inserted into the bag, since athletic shoes tend to be unwieldy and do not conform to the interior of the bag. Moreover, such bags often are not sized to accommodate a large piece of equipment, such as a regulation size basketball. What is needed is a bag having a slimmer profile, that is easy to carry, but that can also accommodate athletic shoes and a large piece of equipment when needed.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
A sports bag system includes a first bag having sides and a bottom defining a first inside storage area and a first opening defined by the first bag sides to access the first storage area, the first bag having a first zipper to selectively open and close the first opening; a second bag having sides and a bottom defining a second inside storage area and a second opening defined by the second bag sides to access the second storage area, the first bug having a second zipper to selectively open and close the second opening; a. strap for selectively connecting the first bag to the second bag; connection means for connecting the Strap to the first and second bags; an electronic storage compartment connected with the first. bag; a storage pouch located inside one of the first and second bags; a pocket connected with the strap, the pocket having a pocket opening and closure means for selectively opening and closing the pocket opening; and, a utility bag connected with one of the pocket and the strap and utility back and having a storage condition stowed within the pocket and a deployed condition at least partially extending outside of the pocket and configured to receive and hold articles therein.
It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved sports bag. Other objects and advantages will become apparent from the following description of the invention.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a side view of a sports bag system 50 being carried by a user in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 is a side view of a sports hag system 25 in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 2 a is a side view of sports bag system 25 in use by a user.
FIG. 2 b is a perspective view of an alternative mounting of utility bag 20 to pocket 27.
FIG. 2 c is a perspective view of a cell phone mounting loop 44 of sports bag system 25.
FIG. 3 is a right side view of bag 9 b of hag system 25 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is s left side view of bag 9 b of bag system 25.
FIG. 5 is a right side view of hag 9 a of bag system 25.
FIG. 6 is a left side view of bag 9 a of bag system 25.
FIG. 7 is a side view of bag system 25 and showing an alternative connection system for connecting strap 1 to bags 9 a and 9 b.
FIG. 8 is a bottom view of bag 9 a.
FIG. 9 is a top view of bag 9 a.
FIG. 10 is a top view of bag 9 b.
FIG. 11 is a back view of bag 9 a.
FIG. 12 is a left side view of a bag 52 in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention and showing the CD player compartment 66 in the closed position.
FIG. 13 is a left side view of the bag 52 of FIG. 12 and showing the CD player compartment 66 in the open position.
FIG. 14 is a left side view of the bag 52 of FIG. 12 with a portion broken away to expose the interior of the bag.
FIG. 15 is a right side view of the bag 52 of FIG. 12.
FIG. 16 is a right side view of the bag 52 of FIG. 12 with a portion broken away to expose sleeve-type pouch 68 inside of bag 52.
FIG. 17 is a left side view of the bag 52 of FIG. 12 with a portion broken away to expose a CD magazine 112 in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention,
FIG. 18 is a left side view of a bag 115 in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 19 is a left side view of the bag 52 of FIG. 12 showing CD player and/or CD holder 125 in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.
FIG. 20 is a side view of a utility pouch 136 of bag system 25 in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
For the purposes of promoting an understanding of the principles of the invention, reference will now be made to the embodiments illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will nevertheless be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended, and any alterations or modifications in the illustrated device, and any further applications of the principles of the invention as illustrated therein are contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention relates.
Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown a sports bag system 50 in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. Bag system 50 generally includes individual left and right or first and second bags 51 and 52 and a detachable connection strap 53. Instead of a large, often cumbersome bag typically slung over the shoulder, the user 56 wears strap 53 over the shoulder with bags 51 and 52 hanging generally in front and behind user 56, as shown, The bags may be designated as left and right bags for description herein or for reference in a particular situation where a left and right footwear combination warrants a difference between the two bags, but in most instances there is not intended to be a perceived difference between the bags as far as the terms left and right are concerned.
Referring to FIG. 2 there is shown a sports bag system 25 in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention. Bag system 25 generally includes individual first and second bags 9 a and 9 b and a detachable connection strap 1. Strap 1 includes a cushioned pad 2 over at least a portion thereof for shoulder comfort; a section of silver or similar reflective tape 3 for enhancing the visibility thereof in the presence of an external light source such as auto headlights; a cell phone holder 4; and, a nylon utility pouch system 26. Pouch system 26 includes a nylon utility bag 20 and a small zippered pocket 27 that is connected to strap 1 between cushion pad 2 and the connection (at 28) of strap 1 to bag 9 a, as shown. Nylon bag 20 has an inner, connection end 29 that is fixedly connected to pocket 27 at the inside thereof. The opposite, outer end of bag 20 is open, but may be selectively closed by a zipper 30. In a storage condition, bag 20 can be completely stuffed into pocket 27, the zipper 31 of which may then be closed to securely hold bag 20 therein, as shown in FIG. 7. When the user wishes to carry a basketball 32, clothes, books, etc., he unzips pocket zipper 31, pulls flexible bag 20 from within pocket 27, and the bag is filled with the articles to be carried. If all the articles will fit within bag 20, zipper 30 can be conveniently zipped closed. It is contemplated that bag 20 be made of nylon, but any other suitable fabric will work such as, but without limitation, canvas, mesh fabric, plastic, etc. Bag 20 may be made of any desired size, but it is preferred that it be large enough to completely receive an official NBA sized basketball 32 so that zipper 30 can be fully zipped closed, as shown in FIG. 2 a.
Bag 20 is fixedly connected to pouch 27 (or to strap 1, surrounded by pocket 27) by any appropriate means such as by sewing. Alternative embodiments are contemplated wherein bag 20 is detachably connected to and within pocket 27. For example and without limitation, FIG. 2 b shows bag 20 being detachably mounted to pocket 27 wherein a loop of material 35 is connected as by sewing to the bottom 36 of pocket 27. One end 38 of a strip of Velcro® material 37 is fixedly connected to the bottom of bag 20, and the opposite end 39 of Velcro® strip 37 is fed through material loop 35 and folded back and connected with itself at the Velcro® material 40. Any other suitable detachable connection is contemplated to connect bag 20 to pocket 27 (or strap 1), such as, and without limitation, an eye and spring-biased hook.
Cell phone holder 4 is mounted to strap 1 in a convenient location between cushion pad 2 and the connection (at 43) of strap 1 to bag 9 b. Holder 4 is contemplated to have a shape and size to accommodate a variety of different cell phones. Alternatively, holder 4 is contemplated to comprise a variety of different cell phone cases, each case configured to matingly receive and hold a mating cell phone. As with utility bag 20, cell phone holder 4 may be fixedly and removably connected to strap 1 or it may be detachably connected so that the user can remove the cell phone, in its protective case, for use away from bag system 25. The connection means may be a spring biased clip and mating slot, Velcro®, or a variety of other methods commonly used to clip a cased cell phone onto a users belt. In this regard, some cell phone users already keep their cell phones in a case that has a belt clip. Alternative embodiments are contemplated wherein, instead of a cell phone holder 4, strap 1 is provided thereat with a loop 44 (FIG. 2 c) sized and configured to receive the standard cell phone holder belt clip or a clip or clamp of similar construction. Loop 44 may be of any appropriate material, and a somewhat rigid material such as plastic or metal is preferred to facilitate a one-handed insertion of the cell phone holder's clip.
As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3-6, the four outer sides of bags 9 a and 9 bare provided with three zippered storage pouches 13 and a compact disc (CD) and/or compact disc player holder 7. Storage pouches 13 are sized and configured to hold ID(s), credit cards, cash, keys, etc. Access to each storage pouch 13 is by pulling zipper handle 10. Holder 7 defines a compartment 11 sized and configured to hold a standard CD player. Access to CD compartment 11 is by lifting a compact disc cover flap 5 that is sufficiently hinged at its upper portion to the side of bag 9 b to permit insertion and withdrawal of a CD player into and front compartment 11. Flap 5 is held in place to securely retain the CD player in compartment 11 by a Velcro® fastener 6. A hole 12 is defined in a portion of flap 5, the hole 12 being sized to permit a headphone wire and its plug end to extend therethrough. Alternatively, it is contemplated that the holder 7 could be entirely removable from the bag 9. In this manner, the user may continue listening to CDs uninterrupted when he or she stows the bag. An additional advantage of a removable holder 7 is the added protection it provides for the CD player.
Each bag 9 a and 9 b defines an interior compartment sized and shaped to receive at least one shoe, boot, roller skate, or other footwear item. Access to such interior compartment is by pulling zipper handle 10 to open a zipper 8. The zipper 8 of each bag 9 a and 9 b preferably extends sufficiently around the bag, from the toe 41 to the lower end of heel 42 thereof, to facilitate easy insertion and withdrawal of even the largest and most cumbersome footwear item. Each bag 9 a and 9 b is appropriately connected to strap 1 at 28 and 43, respectively, for example by sewing. FIG. 7 shows an alternative embodiment where the opposing ends 45 and 46 of strap 1 define a series of holes 14 (three sets of two on each of ends 45 and 46). Each bag 9 a and 9 b is provided at the upper portion of its heel 42 with a mating series of upstanding tabs 15 that are shaped and configured to snugly, but removably extend into holes 14 and removably lock strap ends 45 and 46 with its corresponding bag 9 a and 9 b, respectively. Preferably, tabs 15 are made of a somewhat resilient plastic and each tab 15 has a bulbous end 48 that is slightly larger in diameter than its mating hole so that each tab removably locks in its hole to give a secure connection between strap 1 and each bag 9 a and 9 b. The lengths of strap ends that define the holes 14 may vary as may the numbers of hole pairs 14 and tabs 15. It is preferred that there be three or more pairs of holes 14 on each bag heel to permit the user a generous adjustment of strap length between the bags 9 a and 9 b. This, of course, permits the user to easily adjust how low each bag 9 a and 9 b hangs when in use (as shown, for example, with the bag systems in FIGS. 1 and 2 a).
FIGS. 8-11 show top, bottom and rear views of bags 9 a and 9 b. At least one of the bags (9 a) is provided with a sleeve 18 connected to its bottom 17, sleeve 18 being sized and shaped to receive an item such as an identification card, bus pass, money or money pouch, etc. At least a portion of the face 47 of sleeve 18 is transparent or semi-transparent to permit the item to be seen and read without removing it. The bottom 17 of each bag 9 a and 9 b is preferably embossed or textured (19) and made of rubber.
Referring to FIG. 2 a, bag system 25 is also provided with a strap 21 that is removably attachable to the toe section of each bag (such as shown in the alternative embodiment of FIG. 15). Strap 21 is sized and configured to connect with mating connections at the toe of each bag to extend around the opposite side of the user's torso from where the user wears main strap 1 to stabilize and better secure bag system 25 in place.
Referring back to FIG. 1, the alternative bag system 50 includes a pair of bags 51 and 52 having the same general shoe-shaped profile, that is, having a lower profile front end or toe 55 and a higher profile rear rend or heel 56. For purposes of description, each bag 51 and 52 has opposing left and right side panels 57 (right side panel of bag 51 not shown) and 59 and 60 that are appropriately affixed to a sole 61 and 62, respectively. Access to the interior of each bag is afforded by long zippers 63.
Referring to FIGS. 12-16, there are shown additional features of bag 52 including a compact disc player and/or CD holder 66, an inside zippered utility pocket 67, an inside sleeve-pocket 68 and an inside CD holder 69. It should be understood that any of these features is contemplated to be incorporated with either or both bags 51 and 52. Holder 66 has a generally circular outer wall 72 connected to bag side 59 and a mating cover 73 that is hingedly connected to wall 72 at hinge line 74 to permit cover 73 to swing between a closed position (FIG. 12) and an open, access position (FIG. 13), as shown. Cover 73 is secured in the closed position by a zipper 75 with dual zipper handles 76 and 77. Cover 73 includes a main cover wall 79 and generally round pouch wall 80 connected at its periphery to cover wall 79, except along an access edge 81, to create a CD player pouch 82 between cover wall 79 and pouch wall 80. Pouch wall 80 is preferably made of a transparent plastic and is sized and connected with cover wall 79 so that a CD player 85 inserted into pouch 82 will be sufficiently tightly held so that it will not freely slide out of pouch 82 when cover 73 is opened, as shown in FIG. 13. Access edge 81 is distanced back from the outer, round periphery of cover wall 79 sufficiently to reveal the control section of a standard CD player, which typically will be between about 10 percent and 25 percent of the CD player's diameter. The outside of main cover wall 79 is provided with a plurality of raised and padded cushion members 86 to absorb and soften any impacts that holder 66 might incur and to thereby protect a CD player and any CDs held within.
Holder 66 also has a main bottom wall 87 and an outer wall 72 extends outwardly from bag wall 59. Within outer wall 72, holder 66 has a CD magazine 88 that includes its own upstanding, generally circular outer walls 91 and a hingedly connected cover flap 92. A plurality of CD sleeves 93 are hingedly connected to magazine outer wall 88 and are sized and configured, preferably with transparent sleeve walls 94, to each receive one or two CDs, as shown. The CDs can be protected by folding flap 92 from the open position shown to a closed position covering the CDs, and a zipper 90 is provided to secure flap 92 all the way around.
On the inside, bag 52 includes one or more zippered utility pouches 67 (FIG. 14) or open sleeve-type pouches 68 (FIG. 16), which may be of any shape, size or configuration to accommodate various articles. Sleeve-type pouch is provided with a flexible closure strap 96, connected as by sewing at one end to the wall of bag 52 and having a Velcro® connection patch 97 with a mating Velcro® connection patch 98 on pouch wall 99, as shown. One or more breather holes 95 are also provided to permit the escape of moisture from within the bag.
FIG. 15 shows the outer side of bag 52 and an alternative shoulder strap connection configuration that includes a triangular shaped ring 102 connected as by a fabric connection strip 103 sewn around ring 102 and to the upper end of the heel 104 of bag 52, as shown. Each end of the shoulder strap 105 (like strap 1 of bag system 25) has a hook 106 connected thereto, and hook 106 has a spring-biased gate 107 that can be depressed to lockingly connect and disconnect hook 106 to ring 102, as shown. At the toe section 110, a female connection member 111 is similarly connected to bag 52 and is adapted for secure connection and disconnection from a mating male connection member located at the end of the torso strap (such as strap 21 of FIG. 2 a).
Referring to FIG. 17, an alternative embodiment shows a zippered CD magazine 112 that is similar to CD magazine 88, except it has a rectangular outer wall configuration and it is mounted to one of the inside walls of bag 52. Like holder 66, CD magazine may be provided with some appropriate padding generally between it and the bag wall to absorb impacts thereat and protect the CDs.
Referring to FIG. 18, there is shown a bag 115 in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention. Like the bags 9 a, 9 b, 51, and 52 described herein, bag 115 has sides (one shown at 116) and a bottom 117. Bottom 117 is provided with a long slit 118 that may be opened and closed by a zipper 120. A long pouch 121 is secured to the bottom 117 proximal the slit 118 and on the inside of bag 115. When not in use, pouch is tucked through slit 118 in stored inside bag 115, and zipper 120 is zipped to close slit 118. When the user has a footwear item with a downwardly projecting profile, such as an ice skate 122 (or roller blade, etc.), zipper 120 is opened, pouch 121 is extended out through slit 118) and the footwear (skate 122) is inserted into bag 115 (through the top, zippered opening 123, as with bag 9 a, e.g.) with the skate blade extending out through slit 118, but into protective pouch 121, as shown. Pouch 121 may he made of any appropriate material such as, but without limitation, nylon, plastic, rubber, leather, or fabric.
Referring to FIG. 19, there is shown a compact disc player and/or CD holder 125 in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention. Holder 125 is like holder 66 (FIG. 12), except cover 126 is provided with an exterior pull-away flap 127 to permit the user access to the CD player 128 therewithin without having to unzip and open cover 126. Flap 127 is provided with a Velcro® patch 128 to connect with a mating Velcro® patch 129 located in an appropriate position on the body of holder 125, as shown. The section of cover 126 revealed by pulling flap 127 back comprises a transparent wall 133, which retains the CD player within its protective pouch (as described with holder 66 and FIG. 13), but permits the user to see the CD player and to depress the buttons thereof through the transparent wall 133. A hole 134 is provided for the earphone cord.
As discussed with respect to an earlier mentioned embodiment, a fully removable holder 125 is also envisioned in conjunction with the invention. The holder 125 would protect the CD player when the bag 52 is in use, but would also allow the CD player to be played without removal from the holder 125, such as when the bag 52 is not in use. The holder 125 could be attached to the bag 52 by a Velcro® attachment, a zipper, or any other appropriate selectively removable means of attachment.
Referring to FIG. 20, there is shown a nylon utility bag 136 in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the present invention. Bag 136 is like bag 20 (FIG. 2 and 2 b), except that its outer end 140 is provided with a drawstring 138 and cinch ball 139 to enable the user to close the outer bag opening by pulling the drawstring 138 and cinching ball 139 down to the bag (as shown) to hold the drawstring pulled tight and the back closed. With the bag detached from strap 1 at its connection strip 141 (as with the connection strip 37 of bag 20 shown in FIG. 2 b), the user can then carry just the bag and its contents by slinging it over the shoulder and holding onto the drawstring.
Any individual bag of the bag systems described herein is contemplated to be large enough to completely receive a very large shoe (e.g. a size 18 basketball shoe), a roller skate, ice skate, roller blade, etc. In use, the average individual user may be able to fit both of his or her size 8 or 11 shoes in a single one of the bag 52. In use then, it is contemplated that the hook 106 may be removed from the unused bag and hooked onto the ring of the other bag 52 holding the two shoes. In this configuration, both hooks (at opposing ends of the strap 105, for example) will be connected to the single ring of bag 52, and the user will sling the now looped strap 105 over his or her shoulder for carrying. Alternatively, the connection member 111 at the toe 110 of bag 52 may be configured the same as ring 102 (or instead of replacing member 111, another ring 102 may be provided at the toe 110), so the opposing ends of the strap 105 can be connected, one at the ring 102 at heel 104 and one at the ring at toe 110. This way, the single bag and strap can more easily be carried around the shoulder or head and shoulder of the user.
Alternative embodiments are contemplated wherein a series of crisscrossing elastic bands are connected with strap 1, and a cell phone can be quickly inserted into the elastic band lattice to hold the cell phone securely in place. This configuration permits easy access to the cell phone buttons and easy removal for use of the phone away from the strap. Such elastic lattice configuration is contemplated for use in alternative embodiments to hold a CD player or other item inside or outside of the bags or on the strap. Also, while compartments and sleeves and the like have been described herein for CD players, all such compartments and holding configurations are contemplated for holding other similar electronic devices, such as digital players and/or recorders (such as MP3 players), personal information devices (such as a Palm Pilot®) and any other such devices that a person may want to carry.
The bags described herein (e.g. bag 52) are contemplated to have a waterproof outer cover and to be machine washable. Other embodiments contemplate at least a portion of the bags and/or strap to be made of leather.
While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrated and not restrictive in character, it being understood that only the preferred embodiment has been shown and described and that. all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the invention are desired to be protected.