Title:
Folding carrying pack apparatus and method
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A folding carrying pack apparatus for conversion between a carrying pack and a comfort pad and a method of converting the carrying pack to and from the comfort pad, generally including a preset folding pattern. The apparatus includes a main body having a hollow interior, shoulder straps and side flaps for generally retaining the main body in a carrying pack form. The main body generally includes a front flap and rear flap that is maintained by an upper and lower strap set. The strap sets and the side flaps can be opened and the main body folded outwards into a comfort pad.



Inventors:
Jones, Janay S. (Nashville, TN, US)
Application Number:
11/376389
Publication Date:
11/13/2008
Filing Date:
03/15/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45F4/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WAGGENSPACK, ADAM J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Myers & Associates Intellectual Property Law, PC (1899 Powers Ferry Road Suite 440, Atlanta, GA, 30339, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A carrying pack apparatus for conversion into comfort pad, the carrying pack apparatus comprising: a main body having a hollow interior, and having a front flap and a rear flap contiguously connected to one another through a bottom portion; an upper strap set connected to the rear flap, the upper strap set further coupled to a lower strap set connected to the front flap; a shoulder strap connected to an upper end and a lower end of the rear flap; and side flaps connected to a fixed connection point on the front flap and to a removable connection point on the rear flap.

2. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1 further comprising: a short front flap connected to the front flap and folded; and a short rear flap connected to the rear flap, positioned in opposition to the short front flap and folded.

3. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the front flap and the rear flap form two elongate folded-over portions when the front flap and the rear flap are separated from one another.

4. The apparatus as claimed in claim 3 wherein each of the folded-over portions has a width.

5. The apparatus as claimed in claim 4 wherein the folded-over portions each fold out to a half comfort pad four times the width.

6. The apparatus as claimed in claim 3 wherein each of the elongate folded-over portions are folded over in quarter folds.

7. The apparatus as claimed in claim 3 wherein the elongate folded-over portions are separated by a longitudinal axis.

8. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1 wherein the front and rear flaps unfold into a planar comfort pad.

9. A comfort pad apparatus for conversion into a carrying pack, the comfort pad apparatus comprising: a planar pad having an upper surface and a lower surface and generally separate by a longitudinal axis; a shoulder strap connected to the lower surface and straddling the longitudinal axis an upper strap set connected to the lower surface and straddling the longitudinal axis above the shoulder straps; a lower strap set connected to the lower surface and straddling the longitudinal axis below the shoulder straps and for connecting to the upper strap set; and a set of side flaps each connected to the lower surface at the longitudinal axis.

10. The apparatus as claimed in claim 9 wherein the upper surface includes an insulating lining.

11. A method for converting between a carrying pack and a comfort pad, the method comprising: separating a front flap and rear flap of the carrying pack so that the front and rear flaps are laying on a surface, thereby forming elongate portions that are in a first open position, the elongate portions generally being separated by a longitudinal axis into a width; unfolding a short front flap and a short, rear flap away from each other, both along the longitudinal axis, the elongate portions being in a second open position; unfolding the elongate portions away from the longitudinal axis, the elongate portions being in a third open position; and unfolding the elongate portions away from the longitudinal axis, the elongate portions being in a fourth open position, thereby fully opening an upper surface of the comfort pad.

12. A method for converting between a comfort pad and a carrying pack, the method comprising folding a first elongate portion of the comfort pad into half of its width toward a longitudinal axis separating the first elongate portion and a second elongate portion; folding the second elongate portion into half of its width toward the longitudinal axis; folding the first and second elongate portions into half their widths, toward the longitudinal axis; folding opposing ends of the elongate portions to a short front flap and a rear flap along the longitudinal axis; and folding the comfort pad into generally half its length along the longitudinal axis, thereby forming the front and rear flaps of the carrying pack.

13. The method as claimed in claim 12 further comprising folding over side flaps connected to an outer surface of the front flap to connection points on the rear flap.

14. The method as claimed in claim 13 further comprising buckling together upper and lower strap sets, the upper strap sets being connected to the rear flap and the lower strap set being connected to the front flap.

15. A carrying pack and comfort pad combination, comprising: a main body having shoulder straps; and means for converting the main body from a planar comfort pad having an upper surface and a lower surface into a back pack having a front and rear flap, bottom portion and side flaps.

16. The combination as claimed in claim 15 further comprising means for retaining the main body in the form of the back pack.

17. The combination as claimed in claim 15 further comprising an upper and lower strap set for opening and closing a front flap of the back pack.

18. The combination as claimed in claim 17 wherein the upper strap set is connected to a rear flap of the main body.

19. The combination as claimed in claim 18 wherein the lower strap set is connected to the front flap.

20. The combination as claimed in claim 15 further comprising side flaps for retaining the main body in the form of the carrying pack.

Description:

BACKGROUND

I. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to the field of backpacks and more particularly to a folding backpack apparatus for conversion between a backpack and mattress/mattress pad/blanket.

II. Description of the Related Art.

Present backpacks are utilized for various forms of storage for transport, typically for hiking, camping, picnicking, attending entertainment events, and the like. When camping or attending an event, in particular, it is desirable to have some sort of barrier between the user and the ground, the user often transports a blanket, mattress pad or other suitable barrier. These barriers can occupy a significant amount of space in the backpack, thereby leaving little or no room for other items, and often requiring the user to bring other bags with him/her. Furthermore, the user must typically formulate a folding pattern by trial and error, in an attempt to minimize the volume of space the barrier occupies.

Therefore, there persists a problem with present backpacks having limited space for the storage of blankets, mattress pads and other barriers in addition to other items for storage within the backpacks.

SUMMARY

In general, the invention features a folding backpack apparatus for conversion between a backpack and a comfort pad. It is appreciated that the comfort pad can include blankets, pads, mattress pads or any other planar material that a user can sit, lie or otherwise physically occupy, for comfort, sleeping and the like. The invention further features a method of converting the backpack to and from the comfort pad, generally including a pre-set folding pattern. The apparatus includes a main body having a hollow interior, shoulder straps and side flaps for generally retaining the main body in a back pack form. The main body generally includes a front flap and a rear flap that are maintained by an upper and lower strap set. The strap sets and the side flaps can be opened and the main body folded outwards into a comfort pad.

In general, in one aspect, the invention features a backpack apparatus for conversion into comfort pad, including a main body having a hollow interior, and having a front flap and a rear flap contiguously connected to one another through a bottom portion, wherein the main body also has an upper strap set connected to the rear flap and coupled to a lower strap set connected to the front flap. Shoulder are straps connected to an upper end and a lower end of the rear flap and side flaps connected to a fixed connection point on the front flap and a removable connection point on the rear flap.

In one implementation, the apparatus further includes a short front flap and a short rear flap wherein the short front flap is connected to the front flap and folded into the hollow interior. The short rear flap is connected to the rear flap, and is positioned in opposition to the short front flap and folded.

In another implementation, the front flap and the rear flap form two elongate folded-over portions when separated from one another.

In another implementation, each of the folded-over portions has a width.

In another implementation, the folded-over portions each fold out to a half comfort pad four times the width.

In another implementation, each of the elongate folded-over portions is folded over in quarter folds.

In another implementation, the elongate folded-over portions are separated by a longitudinal axis.

In another implementation, the front and rear flaps unfold into a planar comfort pad.

In another aspect, the invention features a comfort pad apparatus for conversion into a backpack, wherein the comfort pad apparatus includes a planar pad having an upper surface and a lower surface and generally separated by a longitudinal axis. Shoulder straps are connected to the lower surface, straddling the longitudinal axis, and an upper strap set connected to the lower surface, straddling the longitudinal axis above the shoulder straps. A lower strap set is connected to the lower surface, straddling the longitudinal axis below the shoulder straps and for connecting to the upper strap set and a set of side flaps, wherein the upper strap set and the set of side flaps are each connected to the lower surface at the longitudinal axis.

In one implementation, the upper surface includes a fleece lining.

In another implementation, the apparatus can include other surfaces having insulation properties,

In another implementation, the apparatus can include other surfaces having water resistant or water proof properties.

In still another implementation, the apparatus can have other surfaces having anti-reflective or anti-ultraviolet radiation properties.

In another aspect, the invention features a method for converting between a backpack and a comfort pad, including separating a front flap and rear flap of the backpack so that the front and rear flaps are laying on a surface, thereby forming elongate portions that are in a first open position, the elongate portions generally being separate by a longitudinal axis into a width, unfolding a short front flap and a short rear flap away from each other, both along the longitudinal axis, the elongate portions being in a second open position, unfolding the elongate portions away from the longitudinal axis, the elongate portions being in a third open position, unfolding the elongate portions away from the longitudinal axis, the elongate portions being in a fourth open position, thereby fully opening an upper surface of the comfort pad.

In another aspect, the invention features a method for converting between a comfort pad and a backpack, including folding a first elongate portion of the comfort pad into half of its width toward a longitudinal axis separating the first elongate portion and a second elongate portion, folding the second elongate portion into half of its width toward the longitudinal axis, folding the first and second elongate portions into half their widths, toward the longitudinal axis, folding opposing ends of the elongate portions to short front and rear flaps along the longitudinal axis and folding over the comfort pad into generally half its length along the longitudinal axis, thereby forming the front and rear flaps of the backpack.

In one implementation, the method further includes folding over side flaps, wherein the side flaps are connected to an outer surface of the front flap to connection points on the rear flap.

In another implementation, the method further includes bucking together upper and lower strap sets, wherein the upper strap set is connected to the rear flap and wherein the lower strap set being connected to the front flap.

In another implementation, the strap can pass through the front flap.

In another aspect, the invention features a back pack and comfort pad combination, including a main body having shoulder straps and means for converting the main body from a planar comfort pad having an upper surface and a lower surface into a back pack having a front and rear flap, bottom portion and side flaps.

In one implementation, the combination further comprises a means for retaining the main body in the form of the back pack.

In another implementation, the combination further comprises an upper and lower strap set for opening and closing a front flap of the back pack.

In another implementation, the upper strap set is connected to a rear flap of the main body.

In another implementation, the lower strap set is connected to the front flap and passing through from rear of the front flap to front of the front flap at a distance below top of the front flap.

In another implementation, the combination further includes side flaps for retaining the main body in the form of the back pack.

One feature and advantage of the invention is that it provides a comfort pad as well as suitable storage space for items.

Another feature and advantage of the invention is that it provides a pre-set folding pattern thereby requiring little mental effort from the user to remember how to fold the comfort pad.

Another feature and advantage of the invention is that is provides a comfort pad providing comfort to the user and protection from natural elements.

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent to one skilled in the art from the following description and claims when read in light of the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention will be better understood by reading the Detailed Description of the Preferred and Alternate Embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing figures, in which like reference numerals denote similar structure and refer to like elements throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates a front perspective view of an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus in a closed position;

FIG. 2 illustrates a rear perspective view of an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus in a closed position;

FIG. 3 illustrates a top plan view of an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus in a closed position;

FIG. 4 illustrates a top plan view of an embodiment of comfort pad apparatus formed from an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus in a first open position;

FIG. 5 illustrates a top plan view of an embodiment of a comfort pad apparatus formed from an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus in a second open position;

FIG. 6 illustrates a top plan view of an embodiment of a comfort pad apparatus formed from an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus in a third open position;

FIG. 7 illustrates a top plan view of an embodiment of a comfort pad apparatus formed from an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus in a fourth open position;

FIG. 8 illustrates a bottom plan view of an embodiment of a comfort pad apparatus formed from an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus in a fourth open position; and

FIG. 9 illustrates a side view of an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus in a closed orientation.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In describing the preferred and selected alternate embodiments of the present invention, as illustrated in FIGS. 1-9, specific terminology is employed for the sake of clarity. The invention, however, is not intended to be limited to the specific terminology so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific element includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish similar functions.

Referring to the drawings wherein like reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the several figures, reference is made first to FIG. 1 that illustrates a front perspective view of an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus 100 in a closed position. FIG. 2 illustrates a rear perspective view of an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus 100 in a closed position. In general, the apparatus includes a main body 105 having a hollow interior 110 defined therein. The main body 105 generally includes an upper end 106, a lower end 107, a front side 108 and a rear side 109. The hollow interior 110 can include any variety of contents such as pillow 115 as shown in FIG. 1. Shoulder straps 120 are connected between the upper and lower ends 106, 107 generally adjacent the rear side 109. Shoulder straps 120 can advantageously be adjustable via buckles 125. The shoulder straps can further include pads and pockets 130.

The apparatus 100 can further include front flap 135 and rear flap 140, wherein front flap 135 and rear flap 140 are generally held in a closed position by straps 145, each strap 145 having upper strap 146 connected to the upper end 106 at rear flap 140, and a lower strap 147 generally connected to a lower portion of front flap 135. The upper and lower straps 146, 147 are connected together through buckles 150. In a typical implementation, the buckles 150 can be used to connect and disconnect the upper and lower straps 146, 147 from one another so that the front and rear flaps 135, 140 can be opened and closed to access the hollow interior 110. The front flap 135 generally further includes front short flap 136, and the rear flap 140 includes rear short flap 141. The front and rear short flaps 136, 141 can be advantageously folded in a variety of ways, which includes, but is not limited to as shown in the Figures.

The apparatus 100 further includes side flaps 155 that are generally connected to front flap 135 at a common connection point 160 and wrap around the main body 105 to respective connection points 165 on rear flap 140. In a typical embodiment, the rear connection points 165 are hook and loop fasteners such that the side flaps 155 can be connected and disconnected from the rear flap 140 as discussed further in the description below. The side flaps 155 as well as various other locations along the main body 105 can include additional storage pockets 170 as needed.

FIG. 3 illustrates a top plan view of an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus 100 in a closed position. As is appreciated further in the description below, the front and rear flaps 135, 140 are contiguously connected such that a bottom 175 of the apparatus 100 is formed from the contiguous connection. The side flaps 155 function as the side walls of the apparatus 100 and the front and rear flaps 135, 140 function as the front and rear walls of the apparatus thereby forming the self-contained hollow interior 110.

The backpack apparatus 100 can advantageously be converted into a comfort pad apparatus 200 (see FIGS. 3-8) by opening buckles 150 to generally separate front and rear flaps 135, 140, and by detaching side flaps 155 from the connection points 165 on rear flap 140. By opening buckles 150 and detaching side flaps 155, the front and rear flaps 135, 140 are entirely open thereby generally dismantling the backpack apparatus 100 and transforming the backpack apparatus 100 into the comfort pad apparatus 200. The details of the transformation and conversion from the backpack apparatus 100 to the comfort pad apparatus 200 are now described.

FIG. 4 illustrates a top plan view of an embodiment of a comfort pad apparatus 200 formed from an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus 100 in a first open position. In a typical implementation, the front and rear flaps 135, 140 have been folded from one another so that they are oriented 180° with respect to one another and wherein front and rear flaps 135, 140 lay flat on a surface, such as the ground. Side flaps 155 can be advantageously laid open on the surface generally perpendicular to the front and rear flaps 135, 140. When the front flap 135 is first unfolded, the front short flap 136 remains in the inward folded position as described above. Similarly, when the rear flap 140 is first unfolded, the rear short flap 141 remains in the inward folded position as described above. It is understood that the flaps, such as rear flap 140, can be folded in a variety of ways. The orientation in FIG. 4 and all the Figures is for illustrative purposes only. The upper and lower straps 146, 147 remain partially exposed. The shoulder straps 120 have advantageously been fully covered in this first open position. The contents 115 are shown as a pillow 115 is shown for illustrative purposes. In general, the comfort pad apparatus 200 is arranged about an axis 250 toward which and away from the folding and folding generally occurs as described further below.

FIG. 5 illustrates a top plan view of an embodiment of a comfort pad apparatus 200 formed from an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus 100 in a second open position. In the second position the front and rear short flaps 136, 141 are further folded outwards along the axis 250, which advantageously cover the upper and lower straps 146, 147. When in this partially unfolded second position, the comfort pad apparatus 200 includes two elongate folded-over portions 205, 210 each having width w and length L.

FIG. 6 illustrates a top plan view of an embodiment of a comfort pad apparatus 200 formed from an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus 100 in a third open position. In this third open position, the elongate portions 205, 210 have further been unfolded away from the axis 250 to folded-over portions 205, 210 now each having width 2 w, or generally twice their original width, thereby increasing the width of the comfort pad apparatus 200 by a factor of two. The side flaps 155 are further covered by the unfolding of the folded-over portions 205, 210. One or both of the folded-over portions 205, 210 can include additional pockets 215 and straps 220.

FIG. 7 illustrates a top plan view of an embodiment of a comfort pad apparatus 200 formed from an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus 100 in a fourth open position. In this fourth open position, the folded-over portions 205, 210 have been further unfolded away from axis 250 to folded-over portions 205, 210, now each having a width 4 w, or generally twice the previous folded width 2 w, or four times the original width w. The comfort pad apparatus 200 is generally planar and generally rectangular or square. The contents 115, illustrated as a pillow, has advantageously been placed at a head position on the comfort pad apparatus 200 to illustrate that the comfort pad apparatus 200 can be used as a pad for lounging, sitting or otherwise lying down. In a typical embodiment, the upper surface 225 of the comfort pad apparatus 200 can be lined with a warm soft material such as fleece or other suitable material. The apparatus 200 can further include a border that can be raised in one implementation in order to prevent items from rolling off the surface 225.

FIG. 8 illustrates a bottom plan view of an embodiment of a comfort pad apparatus 200 formed from an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus 100 in a fifth open position. This bottom plan view illustrates that the components of the backpack apparatus 100, that is, the shoulder straps 120, the upper and lower straps 146, 147, the side flaps 155, pockets and pad 130, 170 and connection points 165, as well as pockets 215 and straps 220, are all located on the lower surface 235 of the comfort pad apparatus 200. In a typical embodiment, the lower surface 235 can be a durable weather resistant material such as vinyl or other suitable material. In still another implementation, an insulating layer (not shown) can be interposed between the upper and lower surfaces 225, 235 to provide further thermal insulation between the user atop the comfort pad apparatus 200 and the ground, to insulate the user from cold temperature.

As indicated above, the comfort pad apparatus 200 can be converted into the backpack apparatus 100 generally by following the same steps in reverse. In general, in the fully unfolded or open position as illustrated in FIG. 7, the comfort pad apparatus 200 has overall length L and having a width 2 W, with two elongate portions 205, 210. The two elongate portions 205, 210 can be folded in half toward the axis 250 so that the folded-over elongate portions 205, 210 now each have width ½ W, as illustrated in FIG. 6. The folded-over portions 205, 210 can be further folded in half toward the axis 250 so that the folded-over portions 205, 210 now each have width ¼ W, as illustrated in FIG. 5, thereby exposing the side flaps 155. The front short flap 136 and the rear short flap 141 can both be partially folded over along the axis 250 as illustrated in FIG. 4, thereby exposing the upper and lower straps 146, 147. The backpack apparatus 100 can thus be assembled by folding the front and rear flaps 135, 140 about the bottom 175 and toward one another and connecting the side flaps 155 at the connection points 165. The upper and lower buckles 146, 147 can further be connected together to completely assemble and close the backpack apparatus 100 as illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 and in FIG. 9 that illustrates a side view of an embodiment of a folding backpack apparatus 100 in a closed orientation. It is therefore appreciated that the comfort pad apparatus 200 can be advantageously folded in a preset folding pattern thereby minimizing the volume that it occupies. Furthermore, the folded comfort pad apparatus 200 in its folded orientation forms the front and rear walls as well as bottom portion of the backpack apparatus 100.

In general, it is appreciated that a backpack has been described as an exemplary embodiment. It is understood that other types of carrying packs are contemplated, including, but not limited to messenger bags, “man-bags” and other dual or single strap bags.

It is further appreciated that the folding pattern of the comfort pad has been described in a specific folding pattern for illustrative purposes only. It is appreciated that other folding patterns are contemplated.

The foregoing description and drawings comprise illustrative embodiments of the present invention. Having thus described exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it should be noted by those skilled in the art that the within disclosures are exemplary only, and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention. Merely listing or numbering the steps of a method in a certain order does not constitute any limitation on the order of the steps of that method. Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which this invention pertains having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Although specific terms may be employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments illustrated herein, but is limited only by the following claims.