Title:
Reconfigurable bag for carrying items
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bag for carrying items includes a bag having an interior compartment and an exterior surface. An aperture is formed in the exterior surface of the bag with a closure panel releasably secured to the aperture when the bag is in a first configuration. A primary pocket is secured around a peripheral edge thereof to the aperture and to the closure panel, and extends into the interior compartment to form an interior pocket when the bag is in the first configuration. The primary pocket extends outwardly from the bag and is in communication with and expands the volume of the interior compartment when the bag is in a second configuration. The closure panel forms a portion of the primary pocket when the bag is in the second configuration.



Inventors:
Collier, Michael (Portland, OR, US)
Application Number:
10/991666
Publication Date:
05/18/2006
Filing Date:
11/18/2004
Assignee:
NIKE INTERNATIONAL LTD. (BEAVERTON, OR, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
190/103, 224/645
International Classes:
A45C15/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LARSON, JUSTIN MATTHEW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BANNER & WITCOFF, LTD (& attorneys for client 005127 1100 13th STREET NW SUITE 1200, WASHINGTON, DC, 20005, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bag for carrying items comprising, in combination: a bag having an interior compartment and an exterior surface; an aperture formed in the exterior surface of the bag; a closure panel releasably secured to the aperture when the bag is in a first configuration; a primary pocket secured around a peripheral edge thereof to the aperture and to the closure panel, the primary pocket extending into the interior compartment to form an interior pocket accessible from an exterior of the bag when the bag is in the first configuration, the primary pocket extending outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag and being in communication with and expanding the volume of the interior compartment when the bag is in a second configuration, the closure panel forming a portion of the primary pocket when the bag is in the second configuration.

2. The bag of claim 1, further comprising a fastener to releasably secure the closure panel to the aperture.

3. The bag of claim 3, wherein the fastener is a zipper.

4. The bag of claim 1, further comprising a secondary pocket secured around a peripheral edge thereof to an aperture formed in the primary pocket, the secondary pocket extending into the primary pocket to form a secondary interior pocket accessible from an exterior of the bag when the bag is in the first configuration, the secondary pocket extending outwardly from the exterior surface of the primary pocket and being in communication with and expanding the volume of the interior compartment when the bag is in the second configuration.

5. The bag of claim 4, further comprising a closure panel covering the aperture in the primary pocket.

6. The bag of claim 5, wherein the closure panel becomes a part of the secondary pocket when the secondary pocket extends outwardly from the exterior surface of the primary pocket.

7. The bag of claim 6, further comprising a fastener releasably securing the closure panel to the aperture in the primary pocket.

8. The bag of claim 7, wherein the fastener is a zipper.

9. The bag of claim 1, further comprising an additional primary pocket secured around a peripheral edge thereof to an additional aperture formed in the exterior surface of the bag, the additional primary pocket extending into the interior compartment to form an additional interior pocket accessible from an exterior of the bag when the bag is in the first configuration, the additional primary pocket extending outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag and being in communication with and expanding the volume of the interior compartment when the bag is in the second configuration.

10. The bag of claim 9, further comprising a secondary pocket secured around a peripheral edge thereof to an aperture formed in the additional primary pocket, the secondary pocket extending into the additional primary pocket to form a secondary interior pocket accessible from an exterior of the bag when the bag is in the first configuration, the secondary pocket extending outwardly from the exterior surface of the additional primary pocket and being in communication with and expanding the volume of the interior compartment when the bag is in the second configuration.

11. The bag of claim 1, wherein the primary pocket has a different color than that of the remainder of the bag.

12. The bag of claim 1, wherein an exterior surface of the primary pocket has a different aesthetic appearance than that of the exterior surface of the remainder of the bag.

13. The bag of claim 1, further comprising a releasable fastener formed in the primary pocket and configured to provide access to the interior compartment when the bag is in the second configuration.

14. The bag of claim 13, wherein the releasable fastener is a zipper.

15. The bag of claim 1, further comprising a carrying strap secured to the bag.

16. The bag of claim 15, wherein the strap is secured to the bag in a first orientation when the bag is in the first configuration and in a second orientation when the bag is in the second configuration.

17. The bag of claim 15, wherein one end of the carrying strap is secured to an exterior surface of the bag and the other end of the carrying strap is secured to an exterior surface of the primary pocket when the bag is in the second configuration.

18. The bag of claim 1, further comprising a support member configured to sit on a bottom of the bag and provide support for items carried in the bag.

19. The bag of claim 18, wherein the support member is substantially rigid.

20. The bag of claim 18, wherein the support member comprises a plurality of substantially planar members pivotally connected to one another by way of a pin.

21. The bag of claim 18, wherein each of the substantially planar members is approximately the same size as each of the other substantially planar members.

22. The bag of claim 18, wherein the support member comprises a first substantially planar member; and a second substantially planar member pivotally connected to the first member by a pin.

23. The bag of claim 18, wherein the support member comprises a substantially planar first member; a substantially planar second member pivotally connected to the first member by a pin.

24. The bag of claim 23, further comprising a substantially planar third member pivotally connected to the second member by a pin.

25. The bag of claim 24, further comprising a substantially planar fourth member pivotally secured to the second member by a pin.

26. The bag of claim 18, wherein the support member comprises a substantially planar first member; a substantially planar second member pivotally connected to a first end of the first member by a pin; and a substantially planar third member pivotally connected to an opposed second end of the first member by a pin.

27. The bag of claim 26, wherein each of the second member and third member are approximately half the size of the first member.

28. The bag of claim 1, wherein a mesh pocket is secured to an exterior surface of the primary pocket.

29. The bag of claim 1, further comprising a releasable fastener in the exterior surface providing access to the interior compartment.

30. The bag of claim 29, wherein the releasable fastener is a zipper.

31. The bag of claim 30, wherein the zipper is formed in the bag and the primary pocket.

32. A bag for carrying items comprising, in combination: a bag having an interior compartment and an exterior surface; at least one aperture formed in the exterior surface of the bag; at least one closure panel, each closure panel covering a corresponding aperture when the bag is in a first configuration; at least one fastener, each fastener releasably securing one of the closure panels to a corresponding aperture; and at least one pocket, each pocket being secured around a peripheral edge thereof to a corresponding aperture and to a corresponding closure panel, extending into the interior compartment to form an interior pocket accessible from an exterior of the bag when the bag is in the first configuration, and extending outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag and being in communication with and expanding the volume of the interior compartment when the bag is in a second configuration, the corresponding closure panel forming a portion of the pocket when the pocket extends outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag.

33. A bag for carrying items comprising, in combination: a bag having an interior compartment and an exterior surface; at least one aperture formed in the exterior surface of the bag; at least one closure panel, each closure panel covering a corresponding aperture when the bag is in a first configuration; at least one fastener, each fastener releasably securing one of the closure panels to a corresponding aperture; at least one primary pocket, each primary pocket being secured around a peripheral edge thereof to a corresponding aperture and to a corresponding closure panel, extending into the interior compartment to form an interior pocket accessible from an exterior of the bag when the bag is in the first configuration, and extending outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag and being in communication with and expanding the volume of the interior compartment when the bag is in a second configuration, the corresponding closure panel forming a portion of the pocket when the pocket extends outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag; and at least one secondary pocket, each secondary pocket secured around a peripheral edge thereof to an aperture formed in a primary pocket and to a second closure panel releasably secured to the aperture formed in the primary pocket, extending into the primary pocket to form a secondary interior pocket accessible from an exterior of the bag when the bag is in a third configuration, and extending outwardly from the exterior surface of the primary pocket and being in communication with and expanding the volume of the interior compartment when the bag is in a fourth configuration, the second closure panel forming a portion of the secondary pocket when the secondary pocket extends outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag.

34. A bag for carrying items comprising, in combination: a bag having an interior compartment and an exterior surface; at least one aperture formed in the exterior surface of the bag; a fastener releasably closing the aperture; a primary pocket secured around a peripheral edge thereof to the aperture, the primary pocket extending into the interior compartment to form an interior pocket accessible from an exterior of the bag when the bag is in the first configuration, the primary pocket extending outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag and being in communication with and expanding the volume of the interior compartment when the bag is in a second configuration; and a releasable fastener formed in the primary pocket and configured to provide access to the interior compartment when the bag is in the first configuration and when the bag is in the second configuration.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to a bag for carrying items, and, in particular, to a bag for carrying items that is reconfigurable to different volumes for different uses.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Bags for carrying items are well known. Such bags include, for example, backpacks, book bags, duffel bags, suitcases, and tote bags. These bags typically contain a main interior compartment, and may include additional internal and/or external pockets. At times, a user will need to carry more items than their bag is designed to carry, causing the user to bring an additional bag or carry some items by hand. Some known bags are expandable, allowing the carrying capacity of the bag to be increased.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,361,215 to Sawai discloses a gusseted suitcase having a body and a pair of gussets secured to the bottom of the body. The gussets are secured to the body by way of fasteners. When the fasteners are opened, the gussets unfold to increase the volume of the suitcase. Sawai is limiting in the amount that its expandable gussets can expand the volume of the suitcase.

It is an object of the present invention to provide a bag for carrying items that reduces or overcomes some or all of the difficulties inherent in prior known devices. Particular objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art, that is, those who are knowledgeable or experienced in this field of technology, in view of the following disclosure of the invention and detailed description of certain preferred embodiments.

SUMMARY

The principles of the invention may be used to advantage to provide a bag that can be converted from a first configuration to a second, expanded configuration and in which the portion of the bag that provides for the expanded volume and also serve to act as an internal pocket when the bag is in its compact first configuration.

In accordance with a first aspect, a bag for carrying items has an interior compartment and an exterior surface. An aperture is formed in the exterior surface of the bag. A closure panel is releasably secured to the aperture when the bag is in a first configuration. A primary pocket is secured around a peripheral edge thereof to the aperture and to the closure panel. The primary pocket extends into the interior compartment to form an interior pocket accessible from an exterior of the bag when the bag is in the first configuration. The primary pocket extends outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag and is in communication with and expands the volume of the interior compartment when the bag is in a second configuration. The closure panel forms a portion of the primary pocket when the bag is in the second configuration.

In accordance with another aspect, a bag for carrying items has an interior compartment and an exterior surface. At least one aperture is formed in the exterior surface of the bag. The bag has at least one closure panel, with each closure panel covering a corresponding aperture when the bag is in a first configuration. The bag has at least one fastener, with each fastener releasably securing one of the closure panels to a corresponding aperture. The bag also has at least one pocket, with each pocket being secured around a peripheral edge thereof to a corresponding aperture and to a corresponding closure panel. The pocket extends into the interior compartment to form an interior pocket accessible from an exterior of the bag when the bag is in the first configuration, and extends outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag and is in communication with and expands the volume of the interior compartment when the bag is in a second configuration. The corresponding closure panel forms a portion of the pocket when the pocket extends outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag.

In accordance with a further aspect, a bag for carrying items has an interior compartment and an exterior surface. At least one aperture is formed in the exterior surface of the bag. The bag has at least one closure panel, with each closure panel covering a corresponding aperture when the bag is in a first configuration. The bag has at least one fastener, with each fastener releasably securing one of the closure panels to a corresponding aperture. The bag also has at least one primary pocket, with each primary pocket being secured around a peripheral edge thereof to a corresponding aperture and to a corresponding closure panel. The primary pocket extends into the interior compartment to form an interior pocket accessible from an exterior of the bag when the bag is in the first configuration. The primary pocket extends outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag and is in communication with and expands the volume of the interior compartment when the bag is in a second configuration. The corresponding closure panel forms a portion of the pocket when the pocket extends outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag. The bag has at least one secondary pocket, with each secondary pocket secured around a peripheral edge thereof to an aperture formed in a primary pocket and to a second closure panel releasably secured to the aperture formed in the primary pocket. The secondary pocket extends into the primary pocket to form a secondary interior pocket accessible from an exterior of the bag when the bag is in a third configuration, and extends outwardly from the exterior surface of the primary pocket and is in communication with and expands the volume of the interior compartment when the bag is in a fourth configuration. The second closure panel forms a portion of the secondary pocket when the secondary pocket extends outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag.

In accordance with yet another aspect, a bag for carrying items includes a bag having an interior compartment and an exterior surface. At least one aperture is formed in the exterior surface of the bag and a fastener releasably closes the aperture. A primary pocket is secured around a peripheral edge thereof to the aperture. The primary pocket extends into the interior compartment to form an interior pocket accessible from an exterior of the bag when the bag is in the first configuration. The primary pocket extends outwardly from the exterior surface of the bag and is in communication with and expands the volume of the interior compartment when the bag is in a second configuration. A releasable fastener is formed in the primary pocket and is configured to provide access to the interior compartment when the bag is in the first configuration and when the bag is in the second configuration.

Substantial advantage is achieved by providing a bag having a pocket accessible from an exterior of the bag in a first configuration and accessible from an interior compartment of the bag in a second configuration. In particular, such a bag provides increased utility, providing multiple sizes and pocket configurations for the bag. This is highly advantageous since the needs of users of such a bag can vary substantially from time to time. For example, at certain times a user will have a need to carry more items than their bag can accommodate.

These and additional features and advantages of the invention disclosed here will be further understood from the following detailed disclosure of certain preferred embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of a bag in accordance with the present invention, shown in a first, compact configuration, with a zipper that closes a pocket being partially open.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the bag of FIG. 1, shown in a second, expanded configuration.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a bag in accordance with the present invention, shown in a first configuration.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the bag of FIG. 3, shown in a second, expanded configuration.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the bag of FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a bag in accordance with the present invention, shown in an expanded configuration.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a bag in accordance with the present invention, shown in an expanded configuration.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the bag of FIG. 7, shown in an even further expanded configuration.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of another preferred embodiment of a bag in accordance with the present invention, shown in a first, compact configuration.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of the bag of FIG. 9, shown with its releasable fastener in an open condition.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of the bag of FIG. 9, shown in a second, expanded configuration.

FIGS. 12A-D are top and elevation views of a preferred embodiment of a base member to provide support for a bottom of a bag in accordance with the present invention.

FIGS. 13A-D are top and elevation views of another preferred embodiment of a base member to provide support for a bottom of a bag in accordance with the present invention.

FIGS. 14A-D are top and elevation views of an alternative preferred embodiment of a base member to provide support for a bottom of a bag in accordance with the present invention.

FIGS. 15A-D are top and elevation views of another alternative preferred embodiment of a base member to provide support for a bottom of a bag in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of a pocket extending outwardly from an end panel of a bag.

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of another preferred embodiment of a pocket extending outwardly from an end panel of a bag.

FIG. 18 is a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a pocket extending outwardly from an end panel of a bag.

FIG. 19 is a side view of another embodiment of a pocket extending outwardly from an end panel of a bag.

FIG. 20 is a side view of yet another embodiment of a pocket extending outwardly from an end panel of a bag.

FIG. 21 is a side view of a further embodiment of a pocket extending outwardly from an end panel of a bag.

FIG. 22 is a side view of yet a further embodiment of a pocket extending outwardly from an end panel of a bag.

FIG. 23 is a side view of another alternative embodiment of a pocket extending outwardly from an end panel of a bag.

The figures referred to above are not drawn necessarily to scale and should be understood to present a representation of the invention, illustrative of the principles involved. Some features of the bag for carrying items depicted in the drawings have been enlarged or distorted relative to others to facilitate explanation and understanding. The same reference numbers are used in the drawings for similar or identical components and features shown in various alternative embodiments. Bags for carrying items, as disclosed herein, would have configurations and components determined, in part, by the intended application and environment in which they are used.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF CERTAIN PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention may be embodied in various forms. A preferred embodiment of a bag for carrying items is shown in the form of a backpack 20 in FIG. 1. It is to be appreciated that many other types of bags that can be used to carry items are considered to be within the scope of the invention. Other exemplary bags include, but are not limited to, book bags, duffel bags, tote bags, and purses.

Backpack 20 includes an interior compartment 22, access to which is obtained by way of a releasable fastener such as a zipper 24. It is to be appreciated that other releasable fasteners for controlling access to interior compartment 22 are considered to be within the scope of the present invention including, but not limited to, hook and loop fasteners, snaps, cinching cords, and buttons. Other suitable releasable fasteners will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art, given the benefit of this disclosure. Backpack 20 includes a pair of shoulder straps 26 such that backpack 20 can be carried on the shoulders of a user.

An aperture 28 is formed in backpack 20. In the illustrated embodiment, aperture 28 is formed in a side panel of backpack 20. It is to be appreciated that in other embodiments, aperture 28 may be formed in any portion of backpack 20. A closure panel 30 is releasably secured along a portion thereof to aperture 28 by a releasable fastener such as a zipper 32, shown here in a partially open position, and serves to cover, or close off, aperture 28. It is to be appreciated that other releasable fasteners for securing closure panel 30 to aperture 28 are considered to be within the scope of the present invention including, but not limited to, hook and loop fasteners, snaps, and buttons. Other suitable releasable fasteners will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art, given the benefit of this disclosure.

A primary pocket 34 is partially secured about its peripheral edge 36 to aperture 28. When backpack 20 is in a first, compact configuration, as illustrated in FIG. 1, pocket 34 extends into interior compartment 22, and forms an internal pocket that can be accessed from the exterior of backpack 20, and is covered by closure panel 30 when backpack 20 is in the first configuration. Closure panel 30 is opened by releasing fastener 32. When closure panel 30 is at least partially opened, as seen in FIG. 1, a user has access to pocket 34. Therefore, a user can stow items in pocket 34 as well as in interior compartment 22.

Backpack 20 can also be transformed to a second configuration. As illustrated in FIG. 2, when fastener 32 is fully released, pocket 34 can be inverted, or pulled out from within interior compartment 22 such that it extends outwardly from an exterior surface of backpack 20. In this inverted configuration, pocket 34 acts to greatly expand the volume of interior compartment 22. In the embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1-2, closure panel 30 is hingedly secured along a vertical edge 37 thereof to backpack 20. When pocket 34 extends outwardly from backpack 20, closure panel 30 forms a portion of pocket 34. In the illustrated embodiment, closure panel 30 forms a body side panel of pocket 34. Pocket 34 also has a side panel 33, an outer panel 35 and a bottom panel 39. Thus, in its inverted and expanded configuration, pocket 34 can be seen to greatly increase the storage volume of interior compartment 22.

It is to be appreciated that backpack 20 can have more than one such pocket that can be inverted, allowing additional expansion of backpack 20. As illustrated in FIGS. 1-2, backpack 20 has two pockets 34 that can be inverted to increase the volume of interior compartment 22. It is to be appreciated that any number of invertible pockets can be accommodated in backpack 20.

Another preferred embodiment is shown in FIGS. 3-4, in which a mesh pocket 42 is secured to an exterior surface of pocket 34. In the illustrated embodiment, mesh pocket 42 covers approximately half of pocket 34. It is to be appreciated however, that mesh pocket 42 may cover a small portion, a large portion, or substantially all of the exterior surface of pocket 34.

Another preferred embodiment is shown in FIG. 5, in which pocket 34 has a different aesthetic appearance than the remainder of backpack 20. In the illustrated embodiment, pocket 34 has a design on its exterior surface. It is to be appreciated that any design could be included on pocket 34. As illustrated here, an abstract design is formed on pocket 34. In other embodiments, pocket 34 could simply be a different color, or combination of colors, than the color or colors found on the remainder of backpack 20. In other embodiments, pocket 34 could include a pattern, text, or any other design element or combination of design elements that would provide a different aesthetic appearance for pocket 34 as compared to the remainder of backpack 20.

Another preferred embodiment is shown in FIG. 6, in which a duffel bag 46 with a pair of hand straps 47 includes a pocket 48 that is secured about its peripheral edge 49 to an aperture 50 formed in the bottom of duffel bag 46, and to a closure panel 38, which is secured about a portion thereof to aperture 50. Closure panel 38 is secured to aperture 50 by way of a releasable fastener, such as zipper 40, in the manner described above with respect to FIGS. 1-2. In a first, compact configuration of duffel bag 46, pocket 48 extends inwardly into interior compartment 52 of duffel bag 46 to form an internal pocket (not shown in this illustration) accessible from the exterior of duffel bag 46. As illustrated here, where duffel bag 46 is in a second, expanded configuration, pocket 48 is inverted to extend outwardly from the exterior surface of duffel bag 46 to provide increased volume for interior compartment 52. In a manner similar to that described above with respect to FIGS. 1-2, closure panel 38 becomes a portion of pocket 48 when pocket 48 is in its inverted and expanded configuration. In the illustrated embodiment, closure panel 38 becomes a side panel of pocket 48. Pocket 48 has another side panel 51, two end panels 53, and a bottom panel 55. Interior compartment 52 may be accessed by way of a releasable fastener, such as zipper 54 located on duffel bag 46, which is shown in this embodiment on the top of duffel bag 46.

Another preferred embodiment is shown in FIG. 7, in which duffel bag 46 includes a pocket 60 secured about a portion of its peripheral edge 62 to an aperture 64 formed in an end panel 66 of duffel bag 46. A releasable fastener, such as a zipper 68, secures a closure panel 67 to aperture 64 when pocket 60 extends inwardly into duffel bag 46 to form an internal pocket, and to which pocket 60 is also secured. As illustrated here, closure panel 67 becomes a bottom panel of pocket 60 when pocket 60 is in its inverted and outwardly extending configuration. Pocket 60 also has a pair of side panels 69, an end panel 71, and a top panel 73.

In certain preferred embodiments, a panel 75 may be secured to aperture 64 closing off access between pocket 60 and interior compartment 52.

As illustrated here, both end panels 66 of duffel bag 46 have a pocket 60 secured thereto in order to form invertible pockets in each end. However, it is to be appreciated that pocket 60 may also, or alternatively, for example, be secured to an aperture formed in either or both side panels 70 of duffel bag 46. As illustrated here, a first releasable fastener such as zipper 72 is formed in pocket 60, allowing access to interior compartment 52 when pocket 60 is inverted to extend outwardly from the exterior surface of duffel bag 46, or to another pocket extending inwardly into pocket 60. A second releasable fastener 74 may also be included in pocket 60, allowing additional access to interior compartment 52, or to another pocket extending inwardly into pocket 60.

Another preferred embodiment is shown in FIG. 8, in which a bag 80 with an interior compartment 81 includes a primary, or first pocket 82 secured about its peripheral edge 84 to an aperture 86 formed in an end panel 88 of bag 80 and to a closure panel 89, which is also secured to aperture 86. Closure panel 89, which becomes the bottom panel of first pocket 82 when first pocket 82 is in its inverted expanded configuration, is secured to aperture 86 with a releasable fastener such as a zipper 90.

As illustrated here, both end panels 88 of bag 80 have a first pocket 82 secured thereto. However, it is to be appreciated that additional pockets may also, or alternatively, for example, be secured to apertures formed in either or both side panels 92 of bag 80. As illustrated here, a releasable fastener such as a zipper 94 is formed in first pocket 82, allowing access to interior compartment 81 when first pocket 82 is inverted and extends outwardly from bag 80 or to another pocket within first pocket 82.

In the illustrated embodiment, first pocket 82 includes a top panel 96, bottom panel 89, two side panels 100, and an end panel 102. A secondary, or second pocket 104 is secured about its peripheral edge 106 to an aperture 108 formed in end panel 102 of first pocket 82 and to a closure panel 109, allowing storage within first pocket 82 from the exterior in a third configuration. Closure panel 109 is secured to aperture 108 with a releasable fastener such as a zipper 110. When zipper 110 is in its open condition, second pocket 104 can be inverted and extended outwardly from first pocket 82 so as to greatly expand the volume of interior compartment 81 when the bag is in a fourth configuration, with closure panel 109 becoming the bottom panel of second pocket 104 in this configuration. Second pocket 104 also has a pair of side panels 111, an end panel 113, and a top panel 115.

As illustrated here, both first pockets 82 have a second pocket 104 secured to a respective aperture 108 in an end panel 102. Consequently, bag 80 is expandable in telescoping fashion with a plurality of nested pockets to increase and decrease the volume of interior compartment 81 to a large degree, depending on whether first pockets 82 and second pockets 104 extend inwardly into or extend outwardly from bag 80.

A strap 112 may be secured at opposed ends thereof to fasteners, such as loops 114 that are secured to bag 80. This allows a user to conveniently carry bag 80 with strap 112 when pockets 82 and 104 are in their internal positions within bag 80. Alternatively, as illustrated here, strap 112 may be secured at opposed ends thereof to fasteners, such as loops 116, on first pockets 82. Having different fasteners located at different positions on bag 80 allows for different orientations of strap 112 along bag 80, depending on which configuration of bag 80 is being utilized. Consequently, strap 112 can be secured to bag 80 in a first manner corresponding to one configuration of bag 80, and in a second manner corresponding to another configuration of bag 80.

Another preferred embodiment of a bag 120 is shown in FIGS. 9-11. Bag 120, as illustrated in FIG. 9, is typically carried by strap 122 in a substantially vertical orientation, slung over the shoulder of a user. Strap 122 is secured at opposite ends thereof to fasteners, such as loops 124, positioned on bag 120. One loop 124 is positioned approximate one end of bag 120, with the other loop 124 is located in a more central portion of bag 120, thereby allowing bag 120 to hang in a first, substantially vertical orientation from the user's shoulder by way of strap 122. A zipper 126 in bag 120 provides access to an interior compartment 128, seen more clearly in FIG. 10.

An aperture 130 at one end of bag 120 is closed by way of a releasable fastener such as a cinching cord 132. A pocket 134 is secured about its peripheral edge 136 to aperture 130. As illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10, bag 120 is shown in a first, compact, configuration with pocket 134 extending into interior compartment 128 to form an internal pocket, similar to a bag lining. Cinching cord 132 releasably closes aperture 130, thereby restricting access to pocket 134.

Bag 120 can also be transformed to a second configuration, which is illustrated in FIG. 11. As illustrated here, when cinching cord 132 is fully released, pocket 134 can be pulled out from interior compartment 128 such that it extends outwardly from an exterior surface of bag 120. In this configuration, pocket 134 is inverted to expand the volume of interior compartment 120. In this second configuration, strap 122 is secured at one end to fastener 124 on bag 120 and at its other end to a fastener 124 on pocket 134, thereby allowing bag 120 to be suspended from a user's shoulder by way of strap 122 in a second, substantially horizontal orientation.

As seen in FIG. 11, zipper 126, which provides access to interior compartment 128, extends along bag 120 and continues along pocket 134, allowing easy access to interior compartment 128 when bag 120 is in its expanded second configuration.

In accordance with another preferred embodiment, an expandable support member 140 is seen in FIGS. 12A-D. Support member 140 is suitable for use in the bottom of a bag, such as a duffel bag, which is expandable by way of inverting a pocket as described above. Support member 140 provides a substantially rigid bottom support for the items carried in the duffel bag when the duffel bag is in its compact and expanded configurations.

Support member 140 is formed of a substantially rigid and planar first member 142 and a substantially rigid and planar second member 144, which is preferably approximately the same size as first member 142. First member 142 and second member 144 are pivotally connected to one another by way of a pin 146. As shown in FIGS. 12A, B, expandable support member 140 is depicted in its first, compact configuration, which would correspond with and fit into a duffel bag in a corresponding compact configuration having its pocket extending into its internal compartment. Support member 140 is positioned in the bottom of the internal compartment of the duffel bag in order to provide support for items carried in the duffel bag. To expand support member 140, first member 142 is pivoted about pin 146 (shown in dotted lines in FIG. 12C as being rotated in the direction of arrow A) such that support member 140 is in its expanded configuration, which can be seen in FIGS. 12C, D. Thus, expanded support member 140 provides support for the expanded duffel bag when the pocket of the duffel bag is inverted and extends outwardly from the exterior surface of the duffel bag.

In accordance with another preferred embodiment, an expandable support member 150 is seen in FIGS. 13A-D. Support member 150 is suitable for use in the bottom of a bag, such as a duffel bag, which is expandable at opposite ends thereof. Support member 150 provides a substantially rigid base for the items carried in the duffel bag when the duffel bag is in its compact and its expanded configurations.

Support member 150 is formed of a substantially rigid and planar first member 152, a substantially rigid and planar second member 154, which is preferably approximately the same size as first member 152 and is pivotally connected to first member 152 by way of a pin 156. A substantially rigid and planar third member 158, which is preferably approximately the same size as first member 152, is pivotally connected to first member 152 by way of a pin 160. As shown in FIGS. 13A-B, expandable support member 150 is depicted in its first, compact configuration, which would correspond with a duffel bag in a corresponding compact configuration having its pockets extending into its internal compartment. Support member 150 is positioned in the bottom of the internal compartment in order to provide support for items carried in the duffel bag. To expand support member 150, second member 154 can be pivoted about pin 156 (shown in dotted lines in FIG. 13C as being rotated in the direction of arrow B) and third member 158 can be pivoted about pin 160 (shown in dotted lines in FIG. 13C as being rotated in the direction of arrow C), such that support member 150 is in its expanded configuration, which can be seen in FIGS. 12C-D. Thus, expanded support member 150 provides support for the expanded duffel bag when the pockets of the duffel bag are inverted and extend outwardly from the exterior surface of the duffel bag.

As illustrated in FIGS. 13C-D, support member 150 is fully expanded. It is to be appreciated that in certain preferred embodiments, where only one of the pockets of the duffel bag is inverted to extend outwardly from the exterior surface of the duffel bag, only one of second member 154 and third member 158 need be rotated about its respective pin.

In accordance with another preferred embodiment, an expandable support member 161 is seen in FIGS. 14A-D. Support member 161 is similar to support member 150, however, it has an additional substantially rigid and planar fourth member 162 pivotally connected to second member 154 by way of a pin 164. Fourth member 162 is rotated about pin 164 (shown in dotted lines in FIG. 14C as being rotated in the direction of arrow D) to further expand support member. Thus, support member 161 is suitable for use in the bottom of a bag, such as a duffel bag, which is expandable to an even greater degree, such as the embodiment described above with respect to FIG. 8. It is to be appreciated that additional substantially planar and rigid members may be added to the base member to further expand its size to accommodate expandable, reconfigurable bags.

In accordance with another preferred embodiment, an expandable support member 170 is seen in FIGS. 15A-D. Support member 170 is suitable for use in the bottom of a bag, such as a duffel bag, which is expandable at opposite ends thereof. Support member 170 provides a substantially rigid base for the items carried in the duffel bag when the duffel bag is in its compact and its expanded configurations.

Support member 170 is formed of a substantially rigid and planar first member 172, a substantially rigid and planar second member 174, which is preferably approximately half the size of first member 172, and is pivotally connected to first member 172 by way of a pin 176. A substantially rigid and planar third member 178, which is preferably approximately half the size of first member 172, is pivotally connected to first member 172 by way of a pin 180. As shown in FIGS. 15A-B, expandable support member 170 is depicted in its first, compact configuration, with second member 174 and third member 178 folded under first member 172. This compact configuration would correspond with a duffel bag in a corresponding compact configuration having its pockets extending into its internal compartment. Support member 170 is positioned in the bottom of the internal compartment in order to provide support for items carried in the duffel bag. To expand support member 170, second member 174 can be pivoted about pin 176 (shown in dotted lines in FIG. 15C as being rotated in the direction of arrow E), and third member 178 can be pivoted about pin 180 (shown in dotted lines in FIG. 15C as being rotated in the direction of arrow F), such that support member 170 is in its expanded configuration, which can be seen in FIGS. 15C-D. Thus, support member 170 in its expanded configuration provides support for the duffel bag in its expanded configuration.

As illustrated in FIGS. 15C-D, support member 170 is fully expanded. It is to be appreciated that in certain preferred embodiments where only one of the pockets of the duffel bag is inverted to extend outwardly from the exterior surface of the duffel bag, only one of second member 174 and third member 178 need be rotated about its respective pin.

The invertible pockets for use with bags in accordance with the present invention can take many shapes. A preferred embodiment of a pocket 182 is shown in FIG. 16. Pocket 182 is secured about its peripheral edge 184 to an aperture 186 in an end panel 188 of a bag. Pocket 182 has a substantially rectangular cubic shape, and is formed of a bottom panel 190, an end panel 192, two side panels 194, and a top panel 196.

An alternative embodiment of a pocket 182′ is shown in FIG. 17. Pocket 182′ is similar in construction to pocket 182, however, in pocket 182′, bottom panel 190′ is over-rotated with respect to aperture 184 such that side panels 194′ are not rectangular. In the illustrated embodiment, the angle of intersection a of the bottom edge of side panel 194′ and aperture 184 is greater than 90°. This provides a larger volume for the interior compartment of the bag when pocket 182′ is inverted and extends outwardly from the bag.

Another embodiment of a pocket 198 secured about its peripheral edge 200 to an aperture 202 in end panel 188 is shown in FIG. 18. Pocket 198 has a truncated ovoid, or egg shape, with a bottom panel 204 of pocket 198 extending substantially perpendicular to end panel 188.

Another embodiment of a pocket 206 is shown in FIG. 19. Each side panel 208 of pocket 206 has a triangular shape such that pocket 206 is formed of only a bottom panel 210, a top panel 212 and side panels 208.

Another embodiment of a pocket 214 is shown in FIG. 20. Pocket 214 is formed of a pair of side panels 216, a bottom panel 218, an end panel 220 and a top panel 222. End panel 220 is angled inwardly toward end panel 188 of the bag from the outer edge of bottom panel 218 to the outer edge of top panel 222.

Another embodiment of a pocket 224 is shown in FIG. 21. Pocket 224 is formed of a pair of side panels 226, a bottom panel 228, an end panel 230 and a top panel 232. Top panel 232 is angled upwardly from the top edge of end panel 230 to end panel 188.

Another embodiment of a pocket 234 is shown in FIG. 22. Pocket 234 is formed of a pair of side panels 236 a bottom panel 238, and an outer panel 240. Side panels 236 have an arcuate outer edge 242 extending from bottom panel 238 to end panel 188 such that outer panel 240 has a curved surface.

Another embodiment of a pocket 244 is shown in FIG. 23. Pocket 244 is formed of a pair of side panels 246, a bottom panel 248, an end panel 250, a top panel 252, and a connecting panel 253. Connecting panel 253 is oriented at an angle with respect to end panel 188 and extends from the upper edge of end panel 250 to the outer edge of top panel 252.

It is to be appreciated that the various pocket shapes described above and shown herein are merely exemplary of the shapes of pockets to be used with a bag in accordance with the present invention, and other suitable shapes will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art given the benefit of this disclosure.

In light of the foregoing disclosure of the invention and description of the preferred embodiments, those skilled in this area of technology will readily understand that various modifications and adaptations can be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. All such modifications and adaptations are intended to be covered by the following claims.