Title:
Pants/shorts with mesh fabric for ventilation and skin protection
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to a hiking pant/short having the advantages of both shorts and long pants. The invention preferably comprises an upper portion similar to a pair of regular hiking shorts. Extended down from the upper portion are two leg sections made from a mesh-like material that allows air to ventilate, but protects against insect bites and sunburn. Preferably, there are two layers of mesh like fabric to provide enhanced UV ray protection, while not significantly reducing air ventilation. The layers can be adapted to be separated to improve insect bite prevention.



Inventors:
Bingham, Ray (Modesto, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/476480
Publication Date:
01/17/2008
Filing Date:
06/28/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D1/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HOEY, ALISSA L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Patent Office of J. John Shimazaki (P.O. Box 650741, Sterling, VA, 20165, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A garment for use as a pant, to be worn by an individual, comprising: an upper portion substantially made from a first fabric, comprising two upper leg sections that extend down to about the thighs or knees of the individual, similar to a pair of shorts; a lower portion substantially made from a second fabric, comprising two lower leg sections extended down from said upper leg sections to about the ankles of the individual; and wherein said first fabric is a conventional fabric material, and the second fabric is a mesh-like material that has a cover factor percentage that is less than its UV ray blockage factor percentage.

2. The garment of claim 1, wherein the first fabric has a cover factor percentage that is equal to or greater than its UV ray blockage factor percentage.

3. The garment of claim 1, wherein the second fabric comprises a UV blockage factor of more than 70 percent, and a cover factor of less than 50 percent.

4. The garment of claim 1, wherein said second fabric comprises two layers of mesh-like material.

5. The garment of claim 4, wherein said two layers comprise a first outside layer that has a circumference that is generally greater than that of a second inside layer, helping to form a gap between the two layers, such that the first layer helps to prevent insect bites from penetrating through to the second layer.

6. The garment of claim 4, wherein said two layers comprise first and second layers which are secured together along an upper portion thereof, and wherein the two layers of mesh like material hang down therefrom.

7. The garment of claim 1, wherein the lower portion comprises at least one of the following features: the lower portion is removably attached to said upper portion with zippers, buttons, hook and loop fasteners, or the like; the lower ends of the lower leg sections are open such that they do not enclose around the legs or ankles of the individual.

8. A garment for use as a pant, to be worn by an individual, comprising: an upper portion substantially made from a first fabric, comprising two upper leg sections similar to a pair of shorts; a lower portion substantially made from a second fabric, comprising two lower leg sections extended down from said upper leg sections to about the ankles of the individual; and wherein the second fabric comprises two layers of a mesh-like material that overlap each other, which allows for ventilation, and provides skin protection.

9. The garment of claim 8, wherein the first fabric is a conventional cloth material that has a cover factor percentage that is equal to or greater than its UV ray blockage factor percentage.

10. The garment of claim 8, wherein the two layers of the mesh-like material each has a cover factor percentage that is less than its UV ray blockage factor percentage.

11. The garment of claim 10, wherein each of the two layers comprises a UV blockage factor of more than 70 percent, and a cover factor of less than 50 percent.

12. The garment of claim 8, wherein said two layers comprise a first outside layer that has a circumference that is generally greater than a second inside layer, helping to form a gap between the two layers, such that the first layer helps to prevent insect bites from penetrating through to the second layer.

13. The garment of claim 12, wherein said two layers are secured together along an upper portion thereof, and hang down therefrom, and wherein said second inside layer is slightly shorter in length than said first outside layer.

14. The garment of claim 8, wherein the lower portion comprises at least one of the following features: the lower portion is removably attached to said upper portion with zippers, buttons, hook and loop fasteners, or the like; the lower ends of the lower leg sections are open such that they do not enclose around the legs or ankles of the individual.

15. A garment for use as a pant, to be worn by an individual, comprising: an upper portion substantially made from a first fabric, comprising two upper leg sections that extend down to about the thighs or knees of the individual, similar to a pair of shorts; a lower portion substantially made from a second fabric, comprising two lower leg sections extended down from said upper leg sections to about the ankles of the individual; and wherein said first fabric is a conventional cloth material, and said second fabric is a mesh-like material, and the lower ends of said lower leg sections are open such that they do not enclose around the legs or ankles of the individual.

16. The garment of claim 15, wherein the first fabric has a cover factor percentage that is equal to or greater than its UV ray blockage factor percentage, and the second fabric has a cover factor percentage that is less than its UV ray blockage factor percentage.

17. The garment of claim 15, wherein said lower portion comprises two layers of said mesh-like material.

18. The garment of claim 17, wherein said two layers comprise a first outside layer that has a circumference that is generally greater than a second inside layer, helping to form a gap between the two layers, such that the first layer helps to prevent insect bites from penetrating through to the second layer.

19. The garment of claim 18, wherein said two layers are secured together along an upper portion thereof, and hang down therefrom, and wherein said second inside layer is slightly shorter in length than said first outside layer.

20. The garment of claim 15, wherein the lower portion is removably attached to said upper portion with zippers, buttons, hook and loop fasteners, or the like.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of wearing apparel, and in particular, to hiking pants with a mesh-like material extended down the legs that provides ventilation, similar to shorts, while helping to protect against insect bites and sunburn.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

One of the great outdoor pastimes in this country is hiking, which involves walking on outdoor trails, such as through mountains, around lakes, etc. Hiking is a great way to see the outdoors, including national parks, wilderness areas, mountain ranges, etc., and is sometimes combined with backpacking, picnicking and sightseeing.

Hikers are often exposed to the elements, including rugged terrain, extreme temperatures, insect bites, the effects of the sun, harsh winds, etc. Therefore, hikers often wear special apparel, such as hiking boots, protective gear, hats or caps, shorts/pants, etc., specifically designed for hikers. Although hiking is not as strenuous as running or jogging, and therefore, hikers do not normally wear running or jogging apparel, hikers do often wear apparel, such as hiking shorts, designed specifically for hiking. Hiking shorts often look like regular shorts, with special pockets, etc., and are typically made of durable fabric which can hold up under rugged conditions.

One of the advantages of wearing hiking shorts instead of regular pants is that they tend to be more comfortable, insofar as they do not impede the legs' movement, and allow for air to circulate around the legs. Hiking shorts are also typically designed to be loose fitting, and made from breathable materials, such as cotton, etc. Although some people wear long hiking pants, long pants tend to be used mostly during cool weather conditions, such as on high elevation hikes and backpacking trips (above the timber line). Some people also use them to avoid scrapes and scratches along terrains consisting of abrasive brush, and to avoid exposure to poisonous plants and animals, etc. During normal hiking conditions, however, long pants can be uncomfortable, since they can impede the legs' movement, limit air circulation, and prevent cooling. Long pants also weigh more than shorts.

Despite the advantages of wearing shorts, there are some disadvantages. For example, shorts tend to expose the legs to the elements, such as the sun and insect bites. Mosquito bites are very common along hiking trails, especially around lakes and ponds, and the West Nile Virus is always a concern. Moreover, hiking shorts do not help protect the legs from the damaging effects of the sun. For example, people who have recovered or are recovering from skin cancer or have some other skin condition may need extra protection from the sun's UV rays, and wearing hiking shorts provides little or no protection to the legs. Although various skin creams and lotions are available to protect the skin, many individuals have sensitive skin, in which case they may not be able to use those products without causing skin irritation.

For these reasons, there is a need for a new hiking short which provides the advantages of both shorts and long pants, which is light and keeps the hiker cool, like shorts, but is able to protect against insect bites and the sun's UV rays, unlike shorts.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a garment, for use as a pant/short, to be worn by a hiker, which has the advantages of both shorts and long pants. In appearance, the garment preferably looks like a regular pair of hiking shorts, except that each leg has a lower section attached to and extended down that is made from a different see-through mesh-like material. Another way to describe the garment is that it preferably looks like a regular pair of long hiking pants, except that the lower portion of each leg is made from a see-through mesh-like material.

The garment preferably comprises an upper portion substantially made from a conventional material, such as cotton, comprising two upper leg sections that extend down to about the thighs or knees of the individual, similar to a pair of regular shorts. In the preferred embodiment, the upper portion can be constructed, and made to look, much like regular hiking shorts.

The lower portion is preferably made from a different mesh-like fabric, and preferably comprises two lower leg sections that are attached to and extended down from the upper leg sections, to about the ankles of the individual. This way, the overall appearance of the garment is similar to a pair of regular hiking shorts, insofar as the regular material leg sections are short, but also similar to a pair of long hiking pants, insofar as the mesh-like fabric extends down to about the ankles. The difference is that the mesh-like fabric allows for air ventilation and can be made of a substantially light see-through material, which makes the long pants look and feel like shorts.

The mesh-like material is preferably designed to allow air to ventilate, while protecting the legs from insect bites and sunburn. Preferably, the material is better able to protect against the sun's UV rays than conventional fabrics, but allows for more air circulation than conventional materials. In the preferred embodiment, the mesh-like material disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,106,947, which is incorporated herein by reference, may be used. In that patent, a material that provides at least 70 percent blockage of UV rays, and a cover factor of less than 50 percent, is disclosed. This material preferably prevents passage of a substantial percentage of the sun's UV rays, i.e., over 70 percent, while at the same time, provides for only a limited amount of physical coverage, i.e., which allows for a comparatively greater amount of air circulation and visibility through the material. In many cases, a conventional cloth material has a cover factor percentage that is equal to or greater than its UV ray blockage factor percentage. On the other hand, the mesh-like material of the present invention preferably has a cover factor percentage that is less than its UV ray blockage factor percentage. Other materials having similar characteristics and properties are also contemplated.

In the preferred embodiment, the lower leg sections are formed using two overlapping layers of the mesh-like fabric, although embodiments with a single layer of mesh-like fabric are also contemplated. This double layer construction provides the advantages of increasing the overall UV ray blockage percentage, while not substantially increasing the amount of coverage, at least from the standpoint of air ventilation. When the layers are overlapped, tiny openings in the outer layer that otherwise allow UV rays to penetrate through to the skin can be blocked by the second inside layer, which enhances UV protection. On the other hand, the same openings will not significantly impede air circulation, even when the two layers are overlapped, since air circulates along a non-linear path. When there are two layers, and they overlap, the air will continue to circulate through both layers, while at the same time, most of the sunlight which travels linearly will be blocked, i.e., only the sunlight that travels through the openings in both layers will reach the skin. In this respect, studies have shown that where a single layer may block 70 to 80 percent of the harmful UV light, a double layer of the same material can block between about 90 to 95 percent of the harmful UV light.

Another advantage of the present invention is provided by forming a gap or space between the two layers of mesh. This can be accomplished, for example, by making the two layers such that the outside layer has a generally larger circumference or cross dimension than the inside layer, in which case, they will remain essentially separated as they hang down from the upper portion. The gap between the two layers helps to prevent insect bites from penetrating through the outer layer to the inside layer, and into the skin, i.e., it keeps the insects further away from the hiker's skin. The inside layer also preferably hangs slightly shorter than the outer layer, so that the inside layer remains virtually unnoticed. Other means of keeping the layers separated such as dividers and pleats, etc., are also contemplated.

The garment of the present invention can also be made so that the lower portion can be attached to and removed from the upper portion, such as with zippers, buttons, hook and loop fasteners, or the like. This way, the pants can be converted into regular hiking shorts simply by removing the lower leg sections. Also, the lower ends of the lower leg sections are preferably made much like regular pants, i.e., open, such that they do not enclose around the legs or ankles of the individual. This gives the garment the feel of regular shorts/pants, without impeding the legs' movement.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side view of the garment of the present invention with an upper portion similar to a regular pair of hiking shorts, and a removable lower section comprising leg sections made of a mesh like fabric;

FIG. 2 is a front view of the garment of the present invention, showing two lower leg sections made of a mesh like fabric extended down from the upper portion;

FIG. 3 is a side view of the garment of the present invention, showing removable lower leg sections made from a mesh like fabric attached with zippers, with a detail showing the mesh with double layer construction;

FIG. 4 is a detail view of the lower leg section made from a mesh like fabric showing the mesh with double layer construction; and

FIG. 5 is a schematic view of the lower leg section made from two layers of mesh like fabric, wherein the outer solid line shows the outer layer, and the inner dashed line shows the inner layer.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows the garment of the present invention 1 with an upper portion 3 similar in construction and design to a regular pair of hiking shorts. Upper portion 3 preferably has two upper leg sections 4, which preferably but not necessarily extend down to about the thighs or knees of the wearer, similar to a regular pair of hiking shorts. Upper portion 3 can have pockets, an elastic waist band, belt loops, side pockets, pleats, zippers/buttons, etc., similar to conventional shorts. The material used to make upper portion 3 can be virtually any conventional material, and is preferably a durable and comfortable fabric, such as cotton or cotton blend, which can breathe.

Upper portion 3 is preferably adapted to have a lower portion 7 made of a different fabric attached thereto. As shown in FIG. 2, lower portion 7 preferably comprises two lower leg sections 10 attached to and extending down from upper leg sections 4. The lower end 5 of each upper leg section 4 is preferably adapted to be connected to the upper end 6 of each lower leg section 10. As will be discussed, each lower leg section 10 is preferably removably attached to upper leg section 4, such that garment 1 can easily be converted into regular hiking shorts when desired. Each lower leg section 10 is preferably substantially tubular in shape, as shown in FIG. 4, and extends downward from upper portion 3 like legs on regular pants.

Lower leg sections 10 are preferably made from mesh-like fabric 9, and preferably extend down from upper leg sections 4 to about the ankles of the individual, as shown in FIG. 1. This way, the overall appearance of the garment is similar to a pair of regular hiking shorts, insofar as the regular material upper leg sections 4 are short, but also similar to a pair of long hiking pants, insofar as mesh-like fabric 9 extends down to about the ankles. The difference is that mesh-like fabric 9 allows for air to ventilate and can be made of a substantially light see-through material, which makes these long pants look and feel like shorts.

Mesh-like material 9 is preferably designed to allow air to ventilate, while at the same time, protecting the wearer's legs from insect bites and sunburn, etc. Preferably, mesh material 9 is better able to protect against the sun's UV rays than conventional fabrics, but allows for more air circulation and visibility than conventional materials. In the preferred embodiment, mesh-like material 9 has characteristics and properties like the material disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,106,947, which is incorporated herein by reference. The material shown provides at least 70 percent blockage of UV rays, and a cover factor of less than 50 percent. This way, the material prevents passage of a substantial percentage of the sun's damaging UV rays, i.e., over 70 percent, while at the same time, provides for only a limited amount of physical coverage, i.e., to allow for a comparatively greater amount of air circulation and visibility through the fabric.

In one embodiment, upper portion 3 is preferably made from a conventional cloth material that has a cover factor percentage that is equal to or greater than its UV ray blockage factor percentage. For example, it can be made from a material that has a 50 to 60 percent UV blockage factor and about a 60 percent coverage factor. On the other hand, mesh-like material 9 from which lower leg sections 10 are made preferably has a cover factor percentage that is less than its UV ray blockage factor percentage. Preferably, mesh-like material 9 has a UV blockage percentage of over 70 percent, and a coverage of less than 70 percent, and even more desirably, less than 50 percent. These characteristics can be achieved by the combination of the fabric weave (knitting), and type of yarn used, etc. Other fabric materials having similar characteristics and properties are also contemplated.

In one embodiment, lower leg sections 10 are preferably formed using two overlapping layers 11, 12, of mesh like fabric 9, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, connected together along the top 13. This double layer approach provides the advantage of increasing the overall UV light blockage percentage of the lower leg sections 10, without necessarily reducing air circulation. This is because sunlight normally travels along a linear path, and, when the layers are overlapped, the sunlight must pass through tiny openings 14 on both layers 11, 12, to penetrate to the skin. Using two layers reduces the chances that openings 14 will line up to allow sunlight to pass through, and enables lower leg sections 10 to block a significantly greater amount of the sun's UV rays than a single layer of the same material 9. This two layer construction, while increasing UV protection, preferably does not significantly decrease air circulation because air CAN flow through a fabric randomly, i.e., non-linearly, and therefore, air circulation will not be significantly impeded even if the layers are doubled.

As shown in FIG. 5, the two layers 11, 12 are preferably formed as two substantially tubular shaped sections 15, 16, with the inner section 16 concentrically located inside the outer section 15, and with only the top area 13 secured together by stitching or the like. This way, each tubular section 15, 16 is preferably only connected along the top 13, with the lower sections and ends loose and unsecured, i.e., hanging down from upper leg sections 4. If necessary, upper area 13 where the two layers 11, 12 are connected together can be provided with a conventional cloth material, to give the connection added strength and durability. Other construction means that enable the two layers to be formed together are also contemplated, i.e., they can be stitched along all or a portion of the perimeters, etc.

Another advantage of the present invention is provided by forming a gap or space 20 between layers 11, 12. This can be accomplished, for example, by making the garment so that the outer tubular section 15 has a larger circumference or overall cross dimension than the inside tubular section 16, as shown in FIG. 5. In one embodiment, this is accomplished by making the circumference or dimension of the upper part 13 of the two tubular sections 15, 16 (where they connect) about the same, and then adjusting the circumference or dimension of one section or the other, so that the dimensional difference between the two tubular sections 15, 16 increases, and tapers, the further away the sections are from top area 13. This way, tubular sections 15, 16 are connected together at the top, and then hang down, i.e., from upper portion 3, in a manner that naturally allows layers 11, 12 to be separated to form a gap 20 between them. Other means of keeping the tubular sections 15, 16 separated such as dividers, pleats, etc., are also contemplated.

The gap or space 20 between layers 11, 12 helps to prevent insect bites from penetrating from outer layer 11 to inside layer 12, and into the skin, i.e., it keeps the insects further away from the hikers skin. Inside layer 12 also preferably hangs slightly shorter than outer layer 11, as shown in FIG. 5, so that inside layer 12 remains virtually unnoticeable.

In the preferred embodiments, lower leg sections 10 can be attached to and removed from upper portion 3 using any of various conventional methods. This allows garment 1 to be converted into a regular hiking short when desired, simply by removing lower leg sections 10 from upper portion 3. Likewise, whenever a hiker wants the added protection of mesh-like fabric 9, the hiker can simply re-attach lower leg sections 10 onto upper leg sections 4. In an alternate embodiment, mesh like fabric 9 can be permanently sewn along lower edge 5 of leg sections 4.

In one embodiment, zippers 17 can be provided along the upper and lower leg sections, 4, 10, which can be used to zip the two sections together. For example, a single zipper 17 can be extended around the circumference of each leg section 4, 10. In such case, the upper connecting area 6 on which zipper 17 is formed can be made using a conventional fabric, which is sewn directly to mesh 9. Also, garment 1 is preferably adapted such that when lower leg sections 10 are attached to upper portion 3, upper connecting area 6 is hidden from view. This gives the appearance that mesh like material 9 extends down directly from upper portion 3.

Alternatively, a series of buttons, sufficient to keep the two sections together, such as three, four or five, on each section, can be used. Again, the upper connecting area 6 can be made using a conventional fabric, and, when the two sections 4, 10 are secured together, the upper connecting area 6 can be hidden from view.

In another embodiment, a hook and loop fastener, such as Velcro®, can be extended around the circumference of upper and lower leg sections 4, 10, and used to secure the sections together. In such case, the upper connecting area 6 on which the hook and loop fastener is formed can be sewn directly to mesh material 9. Any other means of connecting sections 4, 10 together are contemplated by the present invention.

In the preferred embodiment, lower end 19 of each lower leg section 10 is preferably open and loose, and made much like regular long pants, i.e., they are not made to enclose around the legs or ankles of the individual. Although the open leg sections 10 may allow insects to fly up and into the leg area, this design advantageously serves to give garment 1 the same “feel” of regular shorts, without impeding the legs' movement. That is, lower leg sections 10 are preferably constructed like legs of a regular pair of pants, but when combined with light see-through mesh-like fabric 9, the design gives garment 1 a lighter and more ventilated feel than a regular pair of long pants.

These embodiments are illustrative only, and by no means are intended to be construed as limitations on the present invention. Other embodiments providing similar features and benefits, not specifically described herein, are also within the contemplation of the present invention.





 
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