Title:
Paintball pod belt
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A belt comprising an exterior layer having at least a portion thereof fabricated from an elastic material. A honeycomb structure sized and configured to receive a plurality of paintball pods is attached to an inner surface of the exterior layer. The honey comb structure is disposed between the exterior layer and the waist of the user when the belt is worn by the user. When paintball pods are removed or inserted into the honeycomb structure, the elastic portion of the exterior layer expands or contracts accordingly such that pressure is applied on the paintball pods against the lower body of the user so as to securely hold the paintball pods against the body of the user.



Inventors:
Marques, John (Placnetia, CA, US)
Corcino, Chris (Temecula, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/982595
Publication Date:
08/07/2008
Filing Date:
11/02/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/684
International Classes:
A45F5/00; F42B39/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COGILL, JOHN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STETINA BRUNDA GARRED & BRUCKER (75 ENTERPRISE, SUITE 250, ALISO VIEJO, CA, 92656, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A paintball pod belt for holding a plurality of paintball pods about a waist of a user, the belt comprising: an exterior layer having left and right end flaps, the left and right end flaps being removeably attachable to each other to secure the belt to the waist of the user, the exterior layer having an elastic portion for adjusting a length of the exterior layer when paintball pods are removed from or inserted into the belt such that tension is always applied on the paintball pod against the lower back of the user by the exterior layer; a honeycomb structure attachable to an inner surface of the exterior layer, the honeycomb structure being sized and configured to hold a plurality of paintball pods, the honeycomb structure being disposable between the exterior layer and the waist of the user when the belt is worn by the user.

2. The belt of claim 1 wherein the exterior layer comprises a midsection and left and right intermediate sections attached to distal ends of the midsection, at least one of the left and right intermediate sections being fabricated from an elastic material defining the elastic portion of the exterior layer.

3. The belt of claim 1 wherein the exterior layer comprises a midsection fabricated from an elastic material defining the elastic portion of the exterior layer and the left and right end flaps being attached to distal ends of the midsection.

4. The belt of claim 1 wherein the honeycomb structure comprises an intermediate layer and an interior layer, the intermediate layer being secured to the exterior layer so as to form a first row of pod compartments for holding paintball pods, the interior layer secured to the intermediate layer so as to form a second row of pod compartments for holding the paintball pods.

5. The belt of claim 4 wherein the pod compartments of the second row are nested between the compartments of the first row.

6. The belt of claim 1 further comprising a padding layer disposable between the honeycomb structure and the waist of the user when the belt is secured to the waist of the user.

7. The belt of claim 1 wherein the left and right end flaps are attached with corresponding hooks and loops attachment system such that the belt may be removeably securable to the waist of the user.

8. The belt of claim 6 wherein the padding layer is removeably attachable to an inner surface of the exterior layer.

9. The belt of claim 8 wherein an inner surface of the exterior layer and the padding layer are attached with corresponding first and second components of a hooks and loops attachment system.

10. The belt of claim 1 further comprising a first or second component of the hook and loop attachment system attached to an outer surface of the exterior layer such that the belt may fit youth sized waists

11. A method for wearing an outer paintball pod belt, the method comprising the steps of: providing an outer belt comprising: a paintball pod belt for holding a plurality of paintball pods about a waist of a user, the belt comprising: an exterior layer having left and right end flaps, the left and right end flaps being removeably attachable to each other to secure the belt to the waist of the user, the exterior layer having an elastic portion for adjusting a length of the exterior layer when paintball pods are removed from or inserted into the belt such that tension is always applied on the paintball pod against the lower back of the user by the exterior layer; a honeycomb structure attachable to an inner surface of the exterior layer, the honeycomb structure being sized and configured to hold a plurality of paintball pods, the honeycomb structure being disposable between the exterior layer and the waist of the user when the belt is worn by the user; positioning the honeycomb structure closer to the waist of the user than the midsection of the exterior layer.

12. The method of claim 11 for comprising the step of attaching the left end flap of the outer belt to the right end flap of the outer belt via a hooks and loops attachment system for securing the belt to the waist of the user.

13. The method of claim 11 further comprising the steps of: providing an inner belt sized and configured to receive a plurality of paintball pods; disposing the inner belt about a periphery of the waist of the user; disposing the outer belt about an outer periphery of the inner belt, the outer belt being sized and configured to hold a plurality of paintball pods.

14. The method of claim 14 wherein the left and right end flaps of the outer belt are attached to left and right end flaps of the inner belt for securing the outer belt to the waist of the user.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/856,259, filed on Nov. 2, 2006, the entire contents of which is incorporated herein by reference.

STATEMENT RE: FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to a paintball pod belt.

During a paintball game, a first team made up of a plurality of players is placed in a playing field. A second team made up of a plurality of different players compete against the first team. The goal of the paintball game may be to capture a flag, find something, bring a flag or something back or simply be the last person standing. Players of the first and second team are eliminated when hit by a paintball.

To play a paintball game, each of the players are equipped with a goggle for eye protection, body protection, a paintball gun and a plurality of paintballs. Extra paintballs are typically held in a paintball pod(s). The paintball pods are then secured to a paintball pod harness worn by the player such that the player may reload his paintball gun during play. The pod compartment stretches and relaxes independent of whether paintball pods are inserted or removed from the other pod compartments.

Typically, as shown in FIG. 1, the paintball pod harness comprises a belt which may be wearable about a waist of the user. A plurality of pod compartments for holding a plurality of paintball pods are attached to the belt. Each of the pod compartments may be fabricated from an elastic material sized and configured to receive the paintball pod. The elastic material stretches when the paintball pod is inserted into the compartment. The friction between the elastic material and paintball pod holds the paintball pod in the compartment. Each individual pod compartment is sized and configured to receive the paintball pod. Unfortunately, when one of the compartments or the elastic material of one of the compartments is degraded, the paintball pod is no longer securely held in the pod compartment. As such, the paintball pod harness must either be thrown away or the degraded pod compartment may not be used to hold a paintball pod. Alternatively, the pod compartment may not be able to securely hold the paintball pod for some other reason such as the pod compartment is too large for the paintball pod.

Accordingly, there is a need in the art for an improved paintball pod harness.

BRIEF SUMMARY

The paintball pod belt discussed herein addresses the needs discussed above, discussed below and those that are known in the art.

The belt may be worn alone or in conjunction with a separate inner belt. The belt may comprise an exterior layer wherein at least a portion of the exterior layer is fabricated from an elastic material. The exterior layer may also comprise left and right end flaps. First and second components of a hooks and loops attachment system may be attached to the left and right end flaps such that the belt may be wrapped around the waist of the user and secured thereto. In particular, the user may place the exterior layer around the waist of the user. The left and right end flaps may be laid adjacent the belly of the user and overlap against one another. When the left and right end flaps are overlapped against each other over the belly of the user, the hooks and loops attachment system engages the left end flap to the right end flap thereby securing the belt to the user.

Paintball pod compartments may be attached to an inner surface of the exterior layer. By way of example and not limitation, the paintball pod compartments may comprise a honeycomb structure. When the belt is worn by the user, the honeycomb structure of the paintball pod compartments is disposed between the exterior layer and the lower back of the user. In use, when paintball pods are inserted into the paintball pod compartments, the elastic portion of the exterior layer stretches or expands to allow room for the paintball pod. The exterior layer maintains pressure on the paintball pod against the lower back of the user. Conversely, when the paintball pods are removed from the paintball pod compartments, the elastic portion of the exterior layer contracts such that the exterior layer maintains pressure on the paintball pods and against the lower back of the user.

The paintball pod belt may be used as an outer belt which is secured to an inner belt and the waist of the user. The inner belt may have the same structure as described herein or may be any other conventional paintball pod harness known in the art. Preferably, the inner belt will have exposed hooks and/or loops adjacent the belly portion of the user when the inner belt is worn by the user. The outer belt may be secured to the inner belt via corresponding hooks and loops disposed on the left and right end flaps of the exterior layer of the outer belt. Advantageously, the outer belt contracts and expands as paintball pods are removed and inserted into the compartments of the inner belt and/or the outer belt, as discussed above. Accordingly, the outer belt not only places pressure on the paintball pods inserted into the compartments of the outer belt but also places pressure on the paintball pods inserted into the inner belt.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the various embodiments disclosed herein will be better understood with respect to the following description and drawings, in which like numbers refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of a prior art paintball pod harness;

FIG. 2 is a top view of a paintball pod belt;

FIG. 3 is a rear view of the paintball pod belt shown in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a top view of the paintball pod belt shown in FIG. 2 in a disassembled configuration; and

FIG. 5 is a top view of the paintball pod belt worn in conjunction with a prior art paintball pod harness or a second paintball pod belt.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the figures, FIGS. 2 and 3 illustrate top and rear views of a paintball pod belt 10. The belt 10 may have a plurality of compartments 12 sized and configured to receive conventional or specialty paintball pods 14. The belt 10 is securable to a person's waist 16 via hooks and loops attached to distal end flaps 18a, b of the belt 10. The belt 10 may be wrapped around the waist 16 of the user and the hooks and loops at the distal end flaps 18a, b of the belt 10 engaged to each other. The user may remove the paintball pods 14 from the pod compartments 12.

The belt 10 may comprise an exterior layer 20 and a honeycomb structure 22 attached to an inner surface 24 of the exterior layer 20. The honeycomb structure 22 may be attached to a midsection 26 of the exterior layer, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4. The midsection 26 may be attached to left and right intermediate sections 28. The left and right intermediate sections 28a, b may also be respectively attached to left and right end flaps 18a, b. In use, the honeycomb structure 22 may be filled with a plurality of paintball pods 14 (see FIG. 2). The user may wrap the belt 10 around his/her waist 16 with the paintball pods 14 in the honeycomb structure 22 directly adjacent to the user's body, as shown in FIG. 2. The exterior layer 20 is positioned so as to be at the outer side of the honeycomb structure 22. To secure the belt 10 to the user's waist 16, the left and right end flaps 18a, b may be respectively attached to a first component 30 (e.g., hooks or loops) and a second component 32 (e.g., loops or hooks) of a hooks and loops attachment system. By way of example and not limitation, an inner surface of the left end flap 18a may have a first component 30 of a hooks and loops attachment system. The outer surface of the right end flap 18b may have a second component 32 of the hooks and loops attachment system. The user may place the honeycomb structure 22 and the paintball pods 14 about the lower back of the user. The right end flap 18b may be placed adjacent the user's stomach first, as shown in FIG. 2. The second component 32 on the right end flap 18b is exposed. The user may then place the left end flap 18a over the right end flap 18b thereby attaching the first and second components 30, 32 of the hooks and loops attachment system and securing the belt 10 to the waist 16 of the user. Although the above example has been given in relation to the outer surface of the right end flap 18b and the inner surface of the left end flap 18a, the first and second components 30, 32 of the hooks and loops attachment system may be disposed or attached to the inner surface of the right end flap 18b and the outer surface of the left end flap 18a and still be used to attach the belt 10 to the waist 16 of the user.

The left intermediate section 28a and/or the right intermediate section 28b may be fabricated from an elastic material. When the user is securing the belt 10 to the user's waist 16 as discussed above, the user may adjust the tension of the belt 10 by stretching the elastic material then engaging the left and right end flaps 18a, b. Beneficially, as the paintball pods 14 are removed from the honeycomb structure, the elastic material contracts to take up any slack and to maintain the tension in the belt 10 and pressure on the pods 14 and against the back of the user to securely hold the pods 14 in place. Conversely, when paintball pods 14 are inserted into the honeycomb structure 22, the left and/or right intermediate sections 28a, b expand to allow room for the additional paintball pods 14. Advantageously, whenever paintball pods 14 are removed from the honeycomb structure 22 or added into the honeycomb structure 22 the left and/or right intermediate sections 28a, b maintain constant tension or pressure of the belt 10 on the remaining paintball pods 14 in the honeycomb structure 22 against the waist 16 of the user. This constant minimum pressure that is applied to the waist 16 of the user is advantageous during paintball play. By way of example and not limitation, the user during play of a game of paintball, may run, jump, duck, roll and perform other strenuous physical maneuvers. During these maneuvers, the paintball pod belt 10 remains securely attached to the user's waist 16 due to the minimum tension or pressure applied on the paintball pods 14 and against the user's waist 16 via the left and/or right intermediate sections 28a, b. Also, the pods 14 remain in the pod compartments 12. Moreover, another advantage is that if the elasticity of the intermediate sections 28a, b degrades over time, the exterior layer 20 still maintains pressure on the paintball pods 14 because the end flaps 18a, b are cinched closer to each other to compensate for the degradation of the elasticity of the intermediate sections 28a, b.

Optionally, a padding layer 34 may be disposed between the waist 16 of the user and the honeycomb structure 22. The padding layer 34 provides comfort such that the paintball pods 14 do not poke the waist 16 of the user. By way of example and not limitation, the honeycomb structure 22 may be attached to the midsection 26 of the exterior layer 20. Distal end sections 36 (see FIG. 4) of the midsection 26 may be formed with a first component 30 (e.g., hooks or loops) of a hooks and loops attachment system. The padding layer 34 may have corresponding mating second components 32 (e.g., loops or hooks) of the hooks and loops attachment system attached to distal end portions 38 of the padding layer 34. In use, the second component 32 of the hooks and loops system attached to the padding layer 34 may be attached to the first component 30 of the hooks and loops attachment system formed on opposed distal end sections 36 of the midsection 26 of the exterior layer 20. When paintball pods 14 are inserted into the honeycomb structure 22, the padding layer 34 prevents the paintball pods 14 from poking the user, and adds comfort while the belt 10 is being worn by the user. The distance between the second components 32 formed on the distal end portions 38 of the padding layer 34 may be sized to the distance between the first components 30 formed on the distal end sections 36 such that the first and second components 30, 32 may be engaged to each other when the paintball pods 14 are inserted into the honeycomb structure 22 or pod compartments 12.

The honeycomb structure 22 may comprise an intermediate layer 40 and an interior layer 42, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4. The intermediate layer 40 is shown as a dashed line in FIG. 2. The interior layer 42 is shown as a dot-dash line in FIG. 2. The intermediate layer 40 may be attached to the midsection 26 of the exterior layer 20 at a plurality of attachment points. The attachment points 44a-e may be equidistant from each other. The midsection 26 and the intermediate layer 40 may form the first row 46 (see FIG. 2) of pod compartments 12a-d for holding the paintball pods 14. By way of example and not limitation, the intermediate layer 40 may be attached to the midsection 26 of the exterior layer 20 at five different points 44a-e. In particular, the distal ends of the intermediate layer 40 may be secured to the midsection 26 of the exterior layer 20 at attachment points 44a, e. The intermediate layer 40 may further be divided into four equal lengths thereby defining three additional attachment points 44b, c, d between the distal ends of the intermediate layer 40. The three additional attachment points 44b, c, d may be secured to the midsection 26 of the exterior layer 20. Accordingly, the first row 46 of pod compartments 12a-d may comprise four pod compartments 12a-d for holding the paintball pods 14. The interior layer 42 may be secured to the intermediate layer 40 to form a second row 48 of compartments 12 for holding paintball pods 14. In particular, the distal ends of the interior layer 42 may be secured to a middle portion of each of the first and fourth compartments of the first row of pod compartments 12. The interior layer 42 may also be attached to a middle portion of the second and third pod compartments 12b, c of the first row 46 of pod compartments 12. In this manner, the second row 48 of pod compartments 12 may comprise three additional pod compartments 12e, f, g. The second row 48 of pod compartments 12e-f may be nested within the first row 46 of pod compartments 12a, b, c, d and vice versa. It is contemplated that the first and second rows 46, 48 of pod compartments 12 may have any number of pod compartments 12.

The intermediate layer 40 and the interior layer 42 may be fabricated from an elastic material. When the paintball pods 14 are inserted into the compartments 12a-f of the first and second rows 46, 48, the intermediate layer 40 and the interior layer 42 may stretch thereby applying tension against the paintball pods 14. As can be seen from the example above and shown in the figures herein, the honeycomb structure 22 may be formed by (1) the exterior layer 20 and the intermediate layer 40 defining the first row 46 of pod compartments 12a-d and (2) the intermediate layer 40 and the interior layer 42 defining the second row 48 of compartments 12e-f.

In an aspect of the belt 10, the midsection 26 may be fabricated from an inelastic fabric material. Accordingly, the tension of the belt 10 may primarily be supplied via the elastic left and/or right intermediate sections 28a, b. Alternatively, the midsection 26 of exterior layer 20 may be fabricated from an elastic material. In this embodiment, the left and right end flaps 18a, b may be directly attached to the midsection 26 and the left and right intermediate sections 28a, b removed from the belt 10. Alternatively, the left and right end flaps 18 may be attached to the left and right intermediate sections 28. The elastic midsection 26 helps to control the tension of the belt 10 on the paintball pods 14 against the waist 16 of the user. Also, the elastic midsection version controls the tension of the belt 10 on the paintball pods 14 themselves. As discussed above, when the midsection 26 is fabricated out of an inelastic material, the left and right intermediate sections 28 adjust the tension of the midsection 26 on the paintball pods 14 against the lower back of the user as a whole. The reason is that midsection 26 is inelastic. The midsection 26 applies a general force against all of the paintball pods 14. In the event that one of the paintball pods 14 is removed from the honeycomb structure 22, the midsection 26 would not expand or contract to accommodate such removal or insertion. Rather, the left and right intermediate sections 28a, b would expand or contract such that the midsection 26 would continue to apply a force against the paintball pods 14. In the elastic midsection version, when paintball pods 14 are inserted or removed from the first and/or second row 46, 48 of compartments 12, the midsection 26 itself expands and contracts to adjust the tension that the belt 10 applies to the paintball pods 14 themselves as well as the pressure the midsection 26 applies to the lower back of the user.

In an aspect of the belt 10, the outer surface of the right intermediate section 28b may have a second component 32a (see FIG. 2) of the hooks and loops attachment system attached thereto. This allows the left end flap 18a to engage the second component 32a such that the belt 10 may fit smaller waist 16 sizes such as youths.

In an aspect of the belt 10, the same may be used as an add on to an inner belt 50 (e.g., prior art paintball pod harness or a second paintball pod belt 10). By way of example and not limitation, as shown in FIG. 5, the inner belt 50 and the paintball pod belt 10 are shown. The inner belt 50 may have a plurality of pod compartments 12 for holding paintball pods 14. Additionally, the inner belt 50 may be secured to the waist 16 of the user through the use of a hooks and loops attachment system. When the inner belt 50 is secured to the waist 16 of the user, the end flaps 52a, b of the inner belt 50 may have either first components 30 (e.g., hooks or loops) or second components 32 (e.g., loops or hooks) of the hooks and loops attachment system exposed to the environment. The paintball pod belt 10 shown in FIGS. 2-4 may be secured to the inner belt 50. In particular, the inner surfaces of the left and right end flaps 18a, b of the paintball pod belt 10 may have mating second components 32 or first components 30 of the hooks and loops attachment system.

In use, the inner belt 50 is attached to the waist 16 of the user by engaging left and right end flaps 52a, b of the inner belt 50 to each other. The left and right end flaps of the inner belt 50 may have first components 30 or second components 32 of the hooks and loops attachment system exposed to the environment. To attach the paintball pod belt 10 to the inner belt 50, the inner surfaces of the left and right end flaps 18a, b of the paintball pod belt 10 may have corresponding second components 32 or first components 30 of the hooks and loops attachment system attached thereto (see FIG. 4). The paintball pod belt 10 is disposed about the inner belt 50. The honeycomb structure 22 of the paintball pod belt 10 is disposed at the lower back of the user's waist 16. The left and right end flaps 18a, b of the paintball pod belt 10 are wrapped around the user's waist 16 and may optionally be engaged to each other as discussed above. Also, the inner surfaces of the left and right end flaps 18a, b of the paintball pod belt 10 may have corresponding second components 32 or first components 30 of the hooks and loops attachment system which are secured to the first component 30 or the second component 32 of the hooks and loops attachment system attached to the outer surfaces of the left and right end flaps 52a, b of the inner belt 50. In this manner, the paintball pod belt 10 provides additional pod compartments 12 for holding paintball pods 14 in addition to the inner belt 50.

As used herein, the first and second components of the hooks and loops attachment system may be (1) hooks and loops, respectively or (2) loops and hooks, respectively.

The above description is given by way of example, and not limitation. Given the above disclosure, one skilled in the art could devise variations that are within the scope and spirit of the invention disclosed herein. Further, the various features of the embodiments disclosed herein can be used alone, or in varying combinations with each other and are not intended to be limited to the specific combination described herein. Thus, the scope of the claims is not to be limited by the illustrated embodiments.