Reconfigurable Bags and Insert Kits

- THE TIFFEN COMPANY, LLC

An insert kit for use with an equipment bag to divide the bag into compartments and protect the bag's contents is provided. Boundary inserts can be placed around the interior perimeter of the bag and divider inserts can be placed horizontally, vertically or can flex into desired angular or arced configurations. Faces of inserts are covered with a loop material. One or more edge portions of the inserts have a hook material that is complimentary with the loop material so that the inserts can adhere to one another in a variety of positions. A backpack for carrying equipment that can be worn during and facilitate use of the equipment is also included.

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Description

This application claims priority to, U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/717,867, filed Oct. 24, 2012, having the title, Reconfigurable Bag.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Fragile objects such as camera equipment are often carried in bags that are preferably suitable to contain the equipment during transport and use. Rigid bags such as those with hard shells can be desirable for transporting equipment, but are often designed for specific gear and can be heavy to carry. Softer bags may be able to hold objects of different shapes, sizes and numbers, but may not protect delicate items to the extent desired.

Therefore, there is a need for a bag that protects equipment, is not shaped for specific gear and is more flexible than currently available bags.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the invention include an insert kit for use with an equipment bag to divide the bag into compartments and protect the bag's contents. The invention further comprises a bag with the inserts and a backpack for carrying equipment.

Inserts include boundary inserts to be placed around the interior perimeter of the hag and divider inserts that can be placed horizontally, vertically or can flex into desired angular or arced configurations. Boundary or divider inserts may include one or more pockets.

Faces of inserts are covered with a loop material. One or more edge portions of the inserts may have a hook material that is complimentary with the loop material so that the inserts can adhere to one another, or if the bag is lined with as loop material to the lining of the bag.

A backpack for carrying equipment that can be worn during and Facilitate use of the equipment is also disclosed. Although referred to herein as a “backpack” the bag can be worn in front or back of the user. When worn in front, easy access to the contents is provided by having a top portion that is hinged to the bottom portion so that when opened, all or substantially all of a horizontal cross-section of the bag is open. Both the top portion and the bottom portion can be configured to contain equipment and inserts.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Illustrative embodiments of the invention are best understood from the following detailed description when read with the accompanying drawings.

FIG. 1 depicts a bag with inserts according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 2 depicts a bag with inserts according to a further illustrative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 3 depicts a group of inserts according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention.

FIGS. 4A-B depict a backpack according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 5 depicts a backpack including inserts according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 6 is a schematic cross-section of an insert according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION THE INVENTION

Various embodiments of the invention are described, each having a different combination of elements. The invention is not limited to the specific embodiments disclosed, and may include different combinations of the elements disclosed or omission of some elements and/or the equivalents of such structures.

FIG. 1 depicts a bag 1 or “shell” according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention in which objects, such as camera equipment, can be carried. Boundary inserts 2, 3 are disposed against opposing end walls 4, 5, respectively. Boundary insert (is disposed against rear bag wall 7, and boundary insert 8 is disposed against front bag wall 9. Boundary inserts may not be necessary if the interior walls of the bags have materials compatible with divider inserts and that provide the benefits of the boundary inserts as will be described below. Boundary inserts may also be permanently connected to one another, such as a front wall connected to a side wall. Any number of boundary inserts can be connected, including all four boundary wall inserts. A bag floor insert may also be provided.

A set of divider inserts 10, 11, 12 can be included to configure or reconfigure, protect and organize contents of the bag. The inserts are particularly suitable for delicate equipment since they separate objects from one another and can provide padding between them. The inserts can be disposed upright, such as shown in FIG. 1, or horizontally to create layers within the bag. Inserts can also be placed at various angles with respect to one another. At least one padded insert 13 can be provided. Alternatively, or additionally, any or all of the divider or boundary inserts can be padded.

FIG. 1 also shows a pocket insert 14 and a flexible insert 15 that is capable of bending into a plurality of positions including opposing ends bending in opposite directions with regard to the longitudinal center line of the flexible insert as shown in the figure. This flexible insert, can be folded as shown to form more than one compartment or can be used to wrap around an object for protection and/or to secure it to a wall or other insert if it contains a suitable material.

Pocket inserts may include a single pocket that is either closeable or not or may include a plurality of pockets, such as to hold writing implements for example.

FIG. 2 depicts another configuration of inserts in bag 1 according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention. FIG. 2 shows another flexible insert 16 flexed into a concave configuration. Still another flexible insert 17 is shown folded to form a right angle suitable to be positioned in a corner of bag 1. The flexible inserts can vary as to flexibility and thus be used for different purposes. The inserts can be rigid or semi-rigid. Boundary inserts are preferably rigid and preferably padded. Rigid divider inserts may also be desirable. Inserts can include various thicknesses of padding or no padding at all. Generally, for uses such as storing camera equipment, padding will be useful.

FIG. 2 depicts insert 1$, which has a pocket 19. Insert 18 also serves here as a boundary insert. A space between boundary insert 20 and front bag wall 21 is shown in FIG. 2 with a pouch 22 inserted therebetween.

FIG. 3 depicts divider inserts 23, 24, 25, 26 according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention. Each divider insert 23, 24, 25, 26 has a face, at least a substantial portion of which has a loop material extending over it. Illustrative ranges of insert face coverage by loop material are at least 75% and at least 95%. In a further embodiment the face is entirely covered with loop material, however, edge portions may be covered, with other materials. The loop material may be for example a Velcro® or Velcro®-like material that is complimentary to a hook material to form an attachment mechanism. It can also be a knit material that also is complimentary to a hook material. The loop material can be disposed on one or both faces of an insert.

In lieu of or in addition to boundary inserts, the walls of the bag may be covered substantially or entirely with loop material to allow various inserts to be attached as will be described further below.

Each insert 23, 24, 25, 26 includes hook material disposed on opposing edge portions of the insert. For example, divider insert 23 includes edge portions 27, 28 shown covered in a material such as a hook material that can adhere to the loop material of other divider inserts or boundary inserts. The hook material on the edge portions can extend substantially the entire length of the edge portion, or less than the entire length. Illustrative expanses of hook material on an edge portion are about 50% to about 100%, about 60% to about 80% and about 65% to about 75%. A single edge portion or two or three edge portions may also be the number covered with hook material, however, generally two will be sufficient for many purposes. Other edges or portions of edges not having hook material may include far example, a webbing or binding material. Such material may also be disposed under hook material. The loop material though may extend to the edge.

Divider insert 24, for example, may benefit from having additional hook material on edge portion 29 so that it may adhere to a boundary insert or bag wall to help maintain the vertical position. Similarly, divider insert 25 may also benefit from hook material being disposed on edge portion 30. Providing hook material on all edges can make a divider more versatile. But exposed hook material can sometimes adversely interact with contents of the bag as it tends to grip a variety of types of surfaces.

Top inside surface 31 shown in FIG. 2 can also have loop material extending, over all or part of it so that pocket inserts or other components having hook material can be adhered to it.

The inserts are sized to be insertable and releasably affixable to the bag walls, boundary inserts or to other inserts in a plurality of positions by connection of the hook and loop materials. In an illustrative embodiment of the invention, one or more inserts are sized to span a width or length dimension of the shell as measured from a wall face to an opposing wall face so the edge portions adhere to each of the opposing walls.

FIGS. 4A-B depict a backpack version of a bag according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention. Backpack 40 is designed to be worn either with the container portion 41 in front of or behind the user. Container portion 41 has a top container portion 42. horizontally interfaced via a hinge component to a bottom container portion 43 to allow it to be folded out of the way to create a substantially full opening for broad access to the contents of the bottom container portion 41 This is different from traditional backpacks that would afford less. or obstructed access to contents while being worn. The “hinge” can be formed of material such as that which comprises the bag, with or without reinforcement as necessary. Rigid-type hinges can also be used.

FIG. 4A shows the container portion 41 of backpack 40 in an opened configuration with top portion 42 flipped to the side of bottom portion 43. FIG. 4B shows container portion 41 in a closed configuration with top portion 42 secured to bottom portion 43 via a closing mechanism, which in this case is a zipper. FIGS. 4A-B show a single top portion. but the top portion can comprise more than one segment, each hinged to flip out of the way for access to the contents of bottom portion 43. Backpack 40 can contain rigid support components to facilitate top portion 42 remaining substantially horizontal when in an open position. When top portion 42 remains substantially horizontally disposed and includes sufficient support. components, it may serve as a platform for supporting objects.

Backpack 40 can be designed with face 44 being separable at least in part from top portion 42 for access to contents of top portion 42. Alternatively, or in addition, face 45 can open for access to the content. Access to top portion 42 contents can also be provided via openings on other faces. Various mechanisms, such as zippers or buckles, can be used to secure top portion 42 to bottom portion 43 or to close any of the openings incorporated into the backpack.

Backpack 40 has a harness 45 to support the backpack on the wearer. Harness 45 has a front panel 46 extending from a rear portion of container portion 41. A shoulder strap 47 extends from front panel 46 and is positioned to extend over a wearer's right shoulder. A second strap 48 extends from front panel 46 and is positioned to extend over a wearer's left shoulder. A waistband 49 extends from a bottom area of container portion 41 and is configured to extend around a wearer, generally between the waist and hips. Front panel 46 can be of various configurations provided it adequately supports the load in the container portion. FIG. 5 depicts a harness having a more substantial front panel 58, which may be padded and contain armholes.

The backpack can include or be used with inserts such as those described herein. FIG. 5 depicts an opened backpack with inserts according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention. Top portion 42 is swung open from bottom portion 43. Zipper 50 is used to secure top portion 42 on bottom portion 43 in a closed position. Top portion 42 has a zipper 51 to secure lid 52 in a closed position. Lid 52 is hinged via a fabric or other suitable hinge to the remainder of bottom portion 42. Face 44 has a hook-compatible fabric onto which insert pocket 53 is removeably adhered. Additional inserts 54, 55, 56, 57 are removeable affixed to the interior of backpack 40 and to each other. Various numbers and configurations of inserts can be included.

depicts a schematic cross section of an insert 60 according to an illustrative embodiment of the invention. A hook-compatible material 61 is shown on each face of insert 60. Adjacent and interior to layers 61 are layers of foam 62 such as a urethane, for example. A foam core 63, such an expanded polyolefin foam like Volara® or other comparable material, is provided which interfaces with loam layers 62.

The invention includes an insert kit containing a plurality of divider inserts, such as those described above, to be used in a bag such as one designed to carry camera equipment. The kit may be used in a bag having a loop material interior to which the inserts can adhere. Or, boundary inserts as described above can be included in the kit. Kits can be designed to be compatible in size and shape with specific bags. Kits also can be universally sized to be useful in a variety of bag sizes. Flexible inserts, in particular, lend themselves to this use. A single kit containing both rigid, and flexible inserts, for example, can often be used in bags of various sizes. In an illustrative embodiment of the invention, a kit comprises or consists of four boundary inserts sized to substantially cover front, back and opposing end walls of a bag and a plurality of additional inserts that may include some or all of the following: divider inserts, either flexible or rigid and either padded or not and pocket inserts either closeable or not. The inserts can be insertable and releasably affixable to the bag or other inserts in a plurality of positions by connection of the hook and loop materials.

While the invention has been described by illustrative embodiments, additional advantages and modifications will occur to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the invention in its broader aspects is not limited to specific configurations shown and described herein. Modifications, for example, to the placement and type of attachment mechanisms may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the specific illustrative embodiments, but be interpreted within the full spirit and scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.

Claims

1. A bag comprising:

a shell forming a container;
the shell having walls, a floor and a top;
the walls having an inner surface:
the inner surface of at least two opposing walls comprising a material having loops to which a material having hooks can adhere;
a plurality of inserts;
each of the plurality of inserts having a face;
at least a substantial portion of each face having a loop material;
each insert having opposing edge portions;
the edge portions having a hook material capable of adhering to the insert face loop material; and
the inserts sized to be insertable in and affixable to the shell walls or to other inserts in a plurality of positions by connection of the hook and loop materials.

2. The bag of claim 1 wherein the bag has four walls forming a substantially rectangular shape and each wall has a loop material extending over a substantial portion of its face.

3. The bag of claim 1 wherein only the edge portions of the plurality of inserts has a hook material.

4. The bag of claim 1 further comprising at least one flexible insert capable of bending into a plurality of positions including opposing ends bending in opposite directions with regard to the longitudinal center line of the flexible insert.

5. The bag of claim 1 wherein one or more inserts are sized to span a width or length dimension of the shell as measured from a wall face to an opposing wall face so the edge portions adhere to each of the opposing walls.

6. The bag of claim 1 wherein one or more inserts include a pocket.

7. An insert kit comprising:

one or more boundary inserts sized to substantially cover front, back and opposing end walls of the bag;
a plurality of additional inserts;
each boundary insert and each additional insert having a face;
the faces substantially covered with a loop material;
each additional insert having opposing edge portions;
the edge portions having a hook material capable of adhering to the insert face loop material; and
the additional inserts sized to be insertable in as bag and affixable to other inserts in as plurality of positions by connection of the hook and loop materials.

8. The kit of claim 7 wherein each additional insert has a second face substantially covered in a loop material.

9. The kit of claim 7 having inserts with faces having coverage by loop material of at least 75%.

10. The kit of claim 7 having inserts with faces having coverage by loop material of at least 95%.

11. The kit of claim 7 wherein the hook material on the edge portions extends substantially the entire length of a straight portion of the edge portion.

12. The kit of claim 7 further comprising at least one flexible insert capable of bending into a plurality of positions including opposing ends bending in opposite directions with regard to the longitudinal center line of the flexible insert.

13. A bag comprising an insert kit of claim 7.

14. A backpack comprising:

a container portion having a top container portion horizontally interfaced with a bottom container portion wherein the top container portion is hinged to the bottom portion on one side so when rotated apart from the bottom container portion the bottom container portion has a full opening;
a harness comprising:
a front panel portion extending from a back portion of the backpack;
a first strap extending from the front panel positioned to extend over a wearer's right shoulder;
a second strap extending from the front panel portion positioned to extend over a wearer's left shoulder;
a waistband extending from a bottom portion of the bag configured to extend around a wearer.

15. The backpack of claim 14 wherein the top when opened remains substantially horizontally disposed enabling it to serve as a platform for supporting objects.

16. The backpack of claim 14 further comprising:

a plurality of inserts;
each of the plurality of inserts having a face;
at least a substantial portion of each face having a loop material;
each insert having opposing edge portions;
the edge portions having a hook material capable of adhering to the insert face loop material; and
the inserts sized to be insertable in the container and affixable to other inserts in a plurality of positions by connection of the hook and loop materials.

Patent History

Publication number: 20140131412
Type: Application
Filed: Oct 24, 2013
Publication Date: May 15, 2014
Applicant: THE TIFFEN COMPANY, LLC (Hauppauge, NY)
Inventor: Patty Nast Canton (Kansas City, MO)
Application Number: 14/061,802

Classifications