BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to carry bags. The invention more particularly, although not exclusively, relates to a carry bag or backpack which is adaptable so as to provide a convenient work surface for supporting a laptop computer or a book for example.
Backpacks or carry bags for laptop computers are designed to protect the laptop during transit. On extended journeys where it is desired to use the laptop in transit, the laptop must be removed from the carry bag and rested upon one's legs or upon another support surface. This is not convenient where one is either standing or walking.
An improved carry bag is provided in which items can be stored and which can be reconfigured to provide a support surface upon which the items can be rested for use with the carry bag attached to the user.
There is disclosed herein a carry bag comprising:
- a compartment for receiving items;
- a first panel attached to or formed integrally with the carry bag alongside the compartment;
- a second substantially rectangular panel located externally of the compartment and supported by a hinge to pivot with respect to the first panel;
- one or more straps attached at or near the periphery of the second panel and extending from a position remote from the hinge to a position proximal of the hinge for securing the carry bag against the torso of a user;
- the carry bag being adaptable between a first configuration in which the first and second panels are mutually parallel, and a second configuration in which the first and second panels are mutually non-parallel and in which the first panel forms a support surface extending away from the user's torso above the compartment, and wherein in both said configurations, the second panel can be retained substantially flat against the torso of a user by the straps.
Preferably, said straps comprise a pair of shoulder straps extending from the second panel at an edge remote from the hinge.
Preferably, said straps further comprise a waist strap extending from the second panel at an edge proximal to the hinge.
Preferably, the carry bag further comprises an extension panel attached to the first panel and adapted to extend away from the first panel to provide an auxiliary surface area contiguous with said support surface.
Preferably, the auxiliary panel slides with respect to the first panel and the first panel comprises slots and the auxiliary panel comprises pins which fit into said slots.
Preferably, the carry bag further comprises a zipper extending partially about the periphery of the first and second panels and which when closed maintains the said first configuration of the carry bag.
Preferably, the first panel is rigid and wherein the hinge is formed integrally with the first panel.
Preferably, the second panel is rigid and wherein the hinge is also formed integrally with the second panel.
Preferably, the hinge comprises attachment fingers adapted to be attached to the carry bag at the second panel.
Alternatively, the hinge comprises a U-channel adapted to be attached to the carry bag adjacent to the second panel.
Preferably, the hinge comprises a pair of abutment flanges which abut one another to limit the maximum angle of pivotal movement between the first and second panels.
Preferably, one of the abutment flanges comprises an array of apertures—each selectively adapted to receive a buffer against which the other flange bears to thereby adjust said maximum angle.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Preferred forms of the present invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a schematic perspective illustration of a user wearing a carry bag in a first “backpack” configuration;
FIG. 2 is another schematic perspective illustration of a user wearing the carry bag in the backpack configuration;
FIG. 3 is a schematic perspective illustration of a user wearing the carry bag in a second “desk” configuration;
FIG. 4 is another schematic perspective illustration of a user wearing the carry bag in the desk configuration;
FIG. 5 is a schematic perspective illustration of the panels of a carry bag in the first configuration;
FIG. 6 is a schematic perspective illustration of the panels of FIG. 5 in the second configuration;
FIG. 7 is a schematic parts-exploded perspective illustration of different panels including an auxiliary panel in the first configuration;
FIG. 8 is a schematic perspective illustration of the panels of FIG. 7 in the second configuration with the auxiliary panel extended;
FIG. 9 is a schematic detailed perspective illustration of features of the hinge;
FIG. 10 is a schematic perspective illustration of a carry bag in the second/“desk” configuration having an auxiliary panel extended;
FIG. 11 is a schematic perspective illustration of a carry bag in the second/“desk” configuration;
FIGS. 12 and 13 are schematic perspective illustrations of a carry bag in the first/“backpack” configuration;
FIG. 14 is a schematic perspective illustration of alternative panels for a carry bag in a first/“backpack” configuration;
FIG. 15 is a schematic perspective illustration of the panels of FIG. 14 in the second “desk” configuration;
FIG. 16 is a schematic perspective illustration of a further alternative panel configuration for a carry bag in the first/“backpack” configuration;
FIG. 17 is a schematic perspective illustration of the panels of FIG. 16 in the second/“desk” configuration; and
FIG. 18 is a schematic perspective illustration of a hinge having an adjustable stopper to set the angle of the second panel at or near the second/“desk” configuration.
As used herein the word “panel” is intended to encompass both flexible and rigid sections and surfaces. For example, a soft fabric rectangular segment of the carry bag can be a panel and a hard metallic board forming a writing or support surface can be a panel.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
FIGS. 1 and 2 of the accompanying drawings depict schematically a user wearing a carry bag as a backpack behind of, and in front of the torso respectively. The carry bag is typically made of pieces of fabric, leather, vinyl, canvas, woven nylon or any other material suitable for the purpose and comprises inter alia a compartment 10, a pair of panels 13 and shoulder straps 11.
In FIGS. 3 and 4 the carry bag is adapted into a desk configuration in which the first panel 13 folds down to form a support surface and the second panel 14 remains flat and substantially vertical against the torso of the user. In both configurations, the shoulder straps 11 extend from the carry bag near an upper portion of the second panel over the shoulders and back down between the arms and the torso to the carry bag near a lower portion of the second panel 14 proximal the hinge to be described later. A waist strap 12 can also be provided and connected at either sides of the carry bag near a lower portion of the second panel 14 for extending about the user's waist.
The first and second panels 13 and 14 are typically stitched into the fabric of the carry bag, but may be secured by any convenient means such as with rivets for example. The panels 13 and 14 are typically fabricated from metal such as pressed sheet aluminium, but might alternatively be formed of rigid plastics material or plywood for example.
The panels 13 and 14 are hinged together and a typical hinge 16 is shown in FIGS. 5 to 9. The hinge comprises components which are extensions of the panels themselves and comprise cut-outs 19 into which extensions 20 are received. A hinge pin or rod 17 extends through the extensions 20 underneath the cut-outs 19. Moreover, the hinge is somewhat in the form of a piano hinge, but flanges 23 and 24 are provided that mutually abut to define a pivot limit of about 90° between the panels 13 and 14 in the desk configuration depicted in FIGS. 6 and 8. This angle can be altered in manufacture to other than 90°. For example an angle of 60° might be better suited for supporting reading material. This angle might be made adjustable so that a variety of comfortable angles can be set by the user. An example of a means by which this might be achieved is described with reference to FIG. 18 below. The abutting flanges prevent the support surface from dropping below horizontal in use. This is particularly useful when the carry bag is used as a desk for supporting a laptop computer by a user who is standing or walking. The hinge need not be formed integrally with the panels and might alternatively be attached to the panels by fasteners such as rivets for example.
The hinge comprises a ledge 27 of a width which defines the size of the gap between the panels 13 and 14 in the closed configuration (FIGS. 5 and 7). The ledge can be dimensioned so that a closed laptop computer for example can fit safely between the closed panels for protection during transportation.
In the embodiment of FIGS. 7 and 8, there is an auxiliary panel 15 which slides out laterally. from the first panel 13 to provide an increased work area. In order to retain the auxiliary panel 15 to the first panel 13, it is provided with a pair of pins 21. The pins 21 are slidably received within corresponding slots 22 formed in turned back lips 18 of the first panel 13. As shown in FIGS. 10 to 13, the compartment 10 includes a flap 25 over its opening to enable items to be inserted into it and removed. Further details are depicted in these figures including catches and strap-length adjustment crimps. Adjustment of these will serve not only to enable comfortable carrying of the carry bag as a backpack, but also to adjust the height of the panel 13 relative to the user's shoulders when configured as a support surface. Also, a zipper 26 is shown extending partially about the periphery of the carry bag. When closed, the zipper 26 maintains a parallel relationship between the first and second panels. When the zipper 26 is opened, it enables the carry bag to take on the desk configuration.
An alternative embodiment is depicted in FIGS. 14 and 15. In this embodiment, instead of providing a full-sized rigid second panel integrally with the hinge, the ledge 27 has extending from it a pair of attachment fingers 14A intended to be attached to the fabric or other material from which the carry bag is made. Moreover, the “second panel” in this instance would be the fabric or other material from which the carry bag is made. The attachment fingers might fit into slots in the fabric or could be provided with apertures through which rivets or bolts can pass to connect the fingers to the fabric of the carry bag.
Yet a further embodiment is depicted in FIGS. 16 and 17. In this embodiment, instead of providing a full-sized rigid second panel, the ledge 27 extends to form a inverted U-channel 14B to be attached to the fabric or other material from which the carry bag is made. Rivets or other fasteners can pass through a wall of the U-channel. Again, the “second panel” in this instance would be the fabric or other material from which the carry bag is made. This embodiment might be best adapted to be used with a carry bag formed of a material of higher rigidity than say soft fabric so as to properly support the second panel when folded down.
FIG. 18 depicts an angle-adjustment means by which the angle of the second panel at its rest position can be adjusted. Moreover, the abutment flange 23 has an array of apertures 28 extending away from the pivot axis of the hinge. A buffer 29—typically made of plastics or rubber material—can be fitted into any one of the apertures 28. If the buffer 29 is fitted into the aperture closest to the pivot axis of the hinge, the second panel 24 would rest at a relatively high angle, whereas if the buffer were fitted into the aperture furthest from the pivot axis, then the second panel 24 would rest at a relatively shallow angle. One, two or more such arrays of apertures might be provided along the hinge.
In use, items can be stored within the compartment 10 and carried in a conventional manner. However, with the carry bag carried in front of the torso as depicted in FIG. 2, the zipper can be opened to allow the compartment 10 together with the first panel 13 to pivot away from the second panel 14 to form a desk upon which say a laptop 15 can be supported for use. If additional work area is needed—say for supporting a mouse, the auxiliary panel 15 can be extended. Note in FIG. 7 that there is provision for both left-handed and right-handed extension of one or two auxiliary panels.
It should be appreciated that modifications and alterations obvious to those skilled in the art are not to be considered as beyond the scope of the present invention. For example, rather than providing a zipper, conventional catches could be adopted.