Title:
Collapsible insulating sleeves for multi-container packages
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Insulators for multi-container packages and products including multi-container insulators are disclosed. In some embodiments, beverage insulators include sleeves of resilient insulating material which can be slid over multi-container beverage packages. The sleeves can tend to conform to the periphery of the package and can collapse toward the remainder of the package when a container is removed from the package. The insulator can include a panel attached to an end of the sleeve and defining an opening through which the package can be grasped. The inside of the sleeve can include a scuff guard. A flap can be attached to an open end of the sleeve to cover the multi-container package. The insulator can be dimensioned to hold a four, six, twelve, eighteen, or twenty-four container package. Methods of advertising using multi-container beverage insulators are also disclosed. Some methods include using multi-container beverage insulators for advertising.



Inventors:
Villhard Jr., Robert L. (Austin, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/154779
Publication Date:
12/03/2009
Filing Date:
05/27/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/739
International Classes:
B65D25/34
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
DESAI, KAUSHIKKUMAR A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Robert L. Villhard (# 1537 11411 Research Blvd., Austin, TX, 78759-2469, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An insulator comprising: a sleeve of resilient insulating material shaped and dimensioned to allow a multi-container package to slide into the sleeve; the sleeve being open at one end to receive the multi-container package as the multi-container package slides into the sleeve; the sleeve generally conforming to a periphery of the multi-container package when the multi-container package is in the sleeve; and when one or more of the containers are absent from the multi-container package, the sleeve at least partially collapsing toward the remaining containers of the multi-container package.

2. The insulator of claim 1 further comprising a panel attached to the end of the sleeve opposite the open end and defining an opening for grasping the multi-container package.

3. The insulator of claim 1 further comprising a scuff guard disposed on at least a portion of an inside surface of the sleeve.

4. The insulator of claim 1 further comprising a flap attached to the open end of the sleeve and being shaped and dimensioned to generally cover a portion of the multi-container package when the multi-container package is in the sleeve.

5. The insulator of claim 4 wherein the open end of the sleeve has a pair of short sides and a pair of long sides, the flap being attached to one of the short sides.

6. The insulator of claim 4 further comprising a hook and loop fastener including a hook half and a loop half, one of the halves being on the flap and the other half being inside of the insulator.

7. The insulator of claim 1 wherein the sleeve is generally oblong when not collapsed and when viewed looking toward the open end of the sleeve.

8. The insulator of claim 1 wherein the multi-container package is selected from the group consisting of a six pack, a twelve pack, an eighteen pack, a case flat, and a case suitcase.

9. A product comprising: a multi-container package; and a sleeve of resilient insulating material shaped and dimensioned to allow the multi-container package to slide out of the sleeve; the sleeve generally conforming to a periphery of the multi-container package; the sleeve being open at one end to release the multi-container package as the multi-container package slides out of the sleeve; and when one or more of the containers are absent from the multi-container package, the sleeve at least partially collapsing toward the remaining containers of the multi-container package.

10. The product of claim 9 further comprising a panel attached to the end of the sleeve opposite the open end and defining an opening, the multi-container package including a device with rings releasably attaching the containers to each other and defining a grip, the opening being generally adjacent the grip.

11. The product of claim 9 further comprising a scuff guard disposed on at least a portion of the inside of the sleeve.

12. The product of claim 9 further comprising a flap attached to the open end and being shaped and dimensioned to generally cover the multi-container package when the multi-container package is in the sleeve.

13. The product of claim 12 further comprising a hook and loop fastener including a hook half and a loop half, one of the halves being on the flap and the other half being inside the sleeve.

14. The product of claim 9 wherein the sleeve is generally oblong when viewed looking toward the open end of the sleeve.

15. The product of claim 9 wherein the multi-container package includes a box.

16. The product of claim 15 wherein the box includes a perforation defining a dispensing panel.

17. The product of claim 9 further comprising a device with rings releasably attaching the containers to each other.

18. A method of advertising comprising: placing an advertisement on a plurality of insulators, each insulator including: a sleeve of resilient insulating material shaped and dimensioned to allow a multi-container package to slide into the sleeve; the sleeve being open at one end to receive the multi-container package as the multi-container package slides into the sleeve; the sleeve generally conforming to a periphery of the multi-container package when the multi-container package is in the sleeve; and when one or more of the containers are absent from the multi-container package, the sleeve at least partially collapsing toward the remaining containers of the multi-container package, the advertisement being placed on a portion of each of the insulators visible when a multi-container package is in the sleeve; and giving a consumer an insulator with the advertisement placed on it.

19. The method of claim 18 further comprising displaying at least one of the sleeves with a multi-container package in the sleeve, the advertisement corresponding to the multi-container product.

20. The method of claim 19 further comprising displaying a stack of multi-container packages in sleeves.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

Embodiments of the disclosure relate generally to beverage insulators and more particularly to insulators for beverages.

BACKGROUND

Beverage consumers often purchase, carry, transport, etc. packages of multiple beverage containers. Familiar multi-container packages include four packs, six packs, 12 packs, 18 packs, flats for cases of 24 containers, case “suit cases,” etc. Beverages in multi-container packages warm (or cool) to ambient temperature if left exposed to ambient conditions for appreciable lengths of time. Consumers find these conditions undesirable. Various solutions involve placing individual beverage containers from the packages in insulating devices such as coolers.

Coolers occupy space, however, particularly in vehicles, closets, storage sheds, etc. Carrying a cooler of beverages can involve carrying weight over and above that of the beverages and, when coupled with the additional volume occupied by the cooler, can be awkward. Coolers, when being transported, can become dislodged from their stowed positions, thereby becoming a nuisance and creating noise. Some coolers enclose beverages in a shell with a cover which prevents infiltration of ambient air into the volume surrounding the containers. Cooler covers, however, inhibit ready access to the beverages stored in the coolers.

SUMMARY OF THE DESCRIPTION

Embodiments of the present disclosure provide beverage insulators that eliminate, or at least substantially reduce, the shortcomings of previously available beverage insulators.

Some embodiments provide insulators which can include sleeves of resilient insulating material into which multi-container packages can be slid. The sleeves can be open at one end to receive the packages. When packages are in the sleeves, the sleeves can generally conform to the periphery of the packages. When some containers are absent from the packages, the sleeves can generally at least partially collapsing toward the remaining containers in the sleeves. The insulators can include panels attached to the ends of the sleeves that are opposite the open ends. The panels can define openings for grasping the packages. Scuff guards positioned on inner surfaces of the sleeves can be included with the insulators. The sleeves can be oblong when viewed looking toward the open ends of the sleeves. In some embodiments, flaps can be attached to the open ends of the sleeves. The flaps can be shaped and dimensioned to generally cover portions of the packages when the packages are in the sleeves. The flaps can be attached to the shorter sides of the sleeves. Hook and loop fasteners can be attached to the insulators with one half of the fasteners being on the flaps and the other half of the fasteners being inside the insulator so that the flap can be secured in a position covering containers in the insulator. The sleeves can be shaped and dimensioned to slide over four packs, six packs, twelve packs, eighteen packs, case flats, and case “suit cases.”

Some embodiments provide products including multi-container packages and insulators for the packages. The packages can include rings which attach the containers of the packages to each other. The rings can define grips for carrying the packages which can be positioned near panels of the insulators. The panels can define openings through which the grip can be grasp. The sleeves can be oblong with pairs of opposed short sides and long sides. The insulators can include scuff guards on the inside surfaces of the sleeves and flaps (with hook and loop fasteners) for covering the containers when the packages are in the sleeves. In some embodiments, the packages can include boxes, shrink wrapped plastic, etc, attaching the containers to each other. The boxes can define perforations further defining container dispensing panels.

Some embodiments provide methods of advertising. The methods can include placing advertisements on multi container insulators. Each insulator can include sleeves of resilient insulating material into which multi-container packages can be slid. The sleeves can be open at one end to receive the packages. When packages are in the sleeves, the sleeves can generally conform to the periphery of the packages. When some containers are absent from the packages, the sleeves can generally at least partially collapsing toward the remaining containers in the sleeves. The methods can include giving consumers the insulators with the advertisements on them. In some cases, the methods can include displaying the sleeves with packages in them corresponding to the advertisement. The methods can include stacking the packages with the sleeves on them.

Embodiments provide advantages over previously available coolers. Multi-container packages can be insulated as units. Containers can be removed from the packages without having to open a cover and while maintaining the insulation around the containers remaining in the packages. Insulators can at least partially collapsing upon themselves when empty, thereby consuming little space in vehicles and other environments where they may be kept. Insulators can create no, or little, noise if they become dislodged in moving vehicles (or elsewhere). Insulators can be soft enough such that if they impact other objects, the other objects may not be damaged. Packages within insulators can be carried by grips defined by the package.

These, and other, aspects will be better appreciated and understood when considered in conjunction with the following description and the accompanying drawings. The following description, while indicating various embodiments and numerous specific details thereof, is given by way of illustration and not of limitation. Many substitutions, modifications, additions or rearrangements may be made within the scope of the disclosure, and the disclosure includes all such substitutions, modifications, additions or rearrangements.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

A more complete understanding of the disclosure and the advantages thereof may be acquired by referring to the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like reference numbers generally indicate like features and wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a product which includes an insulator constructed in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 2 illustrates a perspective view of an insulator constructed in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 3 illustrates a cross sectional view of the insulator of FIG. 2 taken along line 3-3.

FIG. 4 illustrates another cross sectional view of the insulator of FIG. 2 taken along line 3-3.

FIG. 5 illustrates a perspective view of an insulator constructed in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 6 illustrates a perspective view of a product which includes an insulator constructed in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 7 illustrates another cross sectional view of the insulator of FIG. 2 taken along line 3-3.

FIG. 8 illustrates a top plan view of a sheet of resilient insulating material constructed in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 9 illustrates a perspective view of an insulator constructed in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 10 illustrates a flowchart of a method implemented in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 11 illustrates a top plan view of an insulator constructed in accordance with some embodiments.

FIG. 12 illustrates a top plan view of an insulator constructed in accordance with some embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Various embodiments of the disclosure are illustrated in the FIGURES, like numerals being generally used to refer to like and corresponding parts of the various drawings. Embodiments of the disclosure provide insulators for multi-container packages.

As used herein, the terms “comprises,” “comprising,” “includes,” “including,” “has,” “having” or any other variation thereof, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion. For example, a process, process, article, or apparatus that comprises a list of elements is not necessarily limited only those elements but may include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, process, article, or apparatus. Further, unless expressly stated to the contrary, “or” refers to an inclusive or and not to an exclusive or. For example, a condition A or B is satisfied by any one of the following: A is true (or present) and B is false (or not present), A is false (or not present) and B is true (or present), and both A and B are true (or present).

Additionally, any examples or illustrations given herein are not to be regarded in any way as restrictions on, limits to, or express definitions of, any term or terms with which they are utilized. Instead, these examples or illustrations are to be regarded as being described with respect to one particular embodiment and as illustrative only. Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that any term or terms with which these examples or illustrations are utilized will encompass other embodiments which may or may not be given therewith or elsewhere in the specification and all such embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of that term or terms. Language designating such nonlimiting examples and illustrations includes, but is not limited to: “for example”, “for instance”, “e.g.”, “in one embodiment”.

With reference now to FIG. 1, FIG. 1 illustrates multi-container package 100 of beverage containers 102. Package 100 can include ring 104 which holds containers 102 together and allows users to pull one or more of the containers free from package 100. Ring 104 can be positioned toward one end of containers 102. Product 100 may include insulator 106 generally conforming to the periphery of package 100. Insulator 106 can cover a portion of containers 102 below ring 104. Ring 104 can define openings 108 shaped and dimensioned to allow a user to grasp ring 104 with hand 109 and carry package 100 and insulator 106.

Package 100 can be a product such as a four pack, a six pack, a twelve pack, an eighteen pack, a case flat, a case “suitcase,” etc. Some such products use a box instead of ring 104 to hold containers 102 together. These boxes may define an opening for grasping package 100 and an opening for dispensing containers 102 there from. Some packages can include one or more six packs in a flat with shrink wrapped plastic sheeting holding package 100 together. Containers 102 can be bottles, cans, etc. filled with beverages (e.g., soda, fruit drinks, sport drinks, beer, etc.), food, medicine, or other materials which users may desire to insulate from ambient conditions.

With reference to FIG. 2, FIG. 2 illustrates insulator 106. Insulator 106 can be formed from a sheet of an insulating elastomer such as neoprene. When insulator 106 is formed from a sheet, one or more seams 112 may be formed to join certain edges of the sheet together. In any case, insulator 106 can define opening 114 through which package 100 can be slid in and out of insulator 106. Insulator 106 can include bottom panel 116 integral with, or formed separately from, the sleeve portion of insulator 106. If formed separately, bottom panel 116 can be joined by one or more seams 112 to the sleeve portion of insulator 106. Seams 112 need not join all portions of the edges which they join. Rather gaps can exist in seams 112 without departing from the scope of the disclosure. Panel 116 can provide additional insulation to containers 102 and can prevent condensation (from cold containers 102) or warmth (from warm containers 102) from marring surfaces upon which insulator 106 may be placed.

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of package 100 and insulator 106 taken along line 3-3 in FIG. 2. FIG. 3 illustrates that insulator 106 can include one or more layers 118 and 120. Some layers 118 and 120 can be formed of a resilient material, an insulating material, an abrasion resistant material, or a material suited for printing, painting, stenciling, otherwise adding decorative features to insulator 106, or a combination thereof. When any layer 118 or 120 is formed of a resilient material, insulator 106 can conform to containers 102 of package 100. Insulator 106 can include cornice 122 of resilient material to aid insulator 106 in conforming to the periphery of package 100.

FIG. 4 is another cross sectional view of package 100 and insulator 106 at a time when one or more containers 102 are absent from package 100. At such times, insulator 106 can collapse toward remaining containers 102. Cornice 122 can assist in collapsing insulator 106 toward containers 102 as shown by FIG. 4. By collapsing, insulator 106 can save space in the environment in which users may have placed it. Insulators 106 can also form semi-enclosed volume 124 when partially collapsed, thereby minimizing infiltration of ambient air inside insulator 106. When all containers 102 have been removed from insulator 106, insulator 106 can collapse substantially completely, thereby minimizing the volume insulator 106 fills in the environment in which users may have placed it. In addition, insulator 106 can be configured such that objects having even minimal weight can cause insulator 106 to collapse into a nearly planar configuration when placed on insulator 106.

FIGS. 11 and 12 illustrate insulator 106 of some embodiments in which one or more containers 102 have been removed from package 100, ring 104 (not shown for clarity), and insulator 106. In FIG. 11, a particular container 102 has been removed from a corner position in product 100 and a particular product has been removed from a central position in product 100. At the corner position, insulator 106 has collapsed to conform to the particular containers 102 remaining in package 100 and departing from the periphery of package containers 102 at the corner position. Thus, semi-enclosed volume 124 is generally triangular in cross sectional shape as viewed looking toward opening 114. In some embodiments all, or a portion, of the vertical wall of insulator 106 can collapse toward containers 106. At the open central position of FIG. 11, insulator 106 conforms to the periphery of the remaining containers 102 while (if so configured) remaining stretched across the open position. In some embodiments, insulator 106 can be configured to partially fill open central positions of package 100. FIG. 12 illustrates that insulator 106 can collapse to conform to remaining containers 102 when two particular containers are removed from adjacent end positions of package 100. Insulator 106 can be configured to partially, or completely, collapse toward remaining containers 102. In FIGS. 11 and 12, insulator 106 has a panel 116 closing one end of insulator 106 and generally maintaining insulator's 106 oblong shape. When insulator 106 has no panel 116 and is open at both ends, both ends (and perhaps) intermediate portions of insulator 106 will collapse toward remaining containers 102. FIGS. 11 and 12 further illustrate that package 100 can have a periphery defined by absent and remaining containers 102 and that, by collapse to conform to remaining containers 102, insulator 106 can generally conform to the periphery of package 100 whether particular containers 102 are absent from package 100 or not.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of one embodiment of insulator 106. In FIG. 5, insulator 106 includes flap 125. Flap 125 can be shaped and dimensioned to cover opening 114 or portions of containers 102 extending from insulator 106 beyond opening 114. Flap 125 can have one or more tabs of various shapes and dimensions extending there from and having a half 126 of a hook and loop fastener attached thereto. The other half 127 of the hook and loop fastener can be attached to various portions of insulator 106. For example, fastener half 127 can be attached to the outside surface of insulator 106 opposite flap 126 so that, in some embodiments, hook and loop fastener 126 and 127 can secure flap 125 over containers 102 (or opening 114). Fastener half 127 can be attached to bottom panel 116 so that, for example, as containers 102 are withdrawn from insulator 106, flap 125 can be secured by hook and loop fastener 126 and 127 to bottom panel 116 by folding flap 125 into opening 114. Thus, as containers 102 are withdrawn from insulator 106, flap 125 can protect remaining containers 102 from exposure to ambient conditions.

Scuff guards 130 can be attached to inner surfaces of insulator 106 as shown by FIG. 5. Scuff guards 130 can protect insulator 106 from projections, burrs, edges, etc. of ring 104 which might extend from ring 104 and come into sliding contact with the inside surfaces of insulator 106 (see FIG. 3). Such burrs, when various packages are repeatedly slid into and out of insulator 106, might otherwise wear, snag, fray, or otherwise damage insulator 106. Scuff guards 130 can be formed from sufficiently abrasion resistant material to prevent such damage to insulator 106.

Panel 116 of insulator 106 (or other portions of insulator 106) can define openings 132. In some embodiments, as discussed with reference to FIGS. 6 and 7, openings 132 can allow users to grasp package 100 by ring 104. More particularly, when package 100 is a six pack and insulator 106 is shaped and dimensioned to conform to such a six pack, users may place package 100 upside down in insulator 106 so that ring 104 lies generally adjacent to bottom panel 116 with ring grip openings 108 generally adjacent to and aligned with openings 132 in insulator 106. Thus, as illustrated by FIG. 6, users may extend fingers of hand 109 through openings 132 of insulator 106, grasp ring 104, and carry (or otherwise manipulate) package 100 and insulator 106. Depending on the shapes and dimensions of package 100, openings 132 may vary in number, shapes, and dimensions. For instance, when package 100 is a twelve pack, one generally rectangular opening 132 may be defined by a certain side of insulator 106 for grasping generally slot like opening 108 defined by many twelve pack packages 100.

With further reference to FIG. 6, insulator 106 may contain a panel, surface, pad, etc. 134 for placing decorative features on insulator 106. Surface 134 can allow certain users to place advertisements on insulator 106. Such users can give away insulators 106 for free or in exchange for money or other consideration. In accordance with some embodiments, surface 134 may carry an advertisement corresponding to package 100. For example, when package 100 is a six pack of beer, surface 134 may carry an advertisement for the particular brand of beverage contained in package 100. Surface 134 or, more particularly, the advertisement thereon may be orientated in a manner selected by certain users. For example, the advertisements can be oriented upside down relative to containers 102.

Now with reference to FIG. 7, another cross sectional view of insulator 106 is illustrated. FIG. 7 illustrates that package 100 can be oriented in insulator 106 such that ring 104 is adjacent to panel 116. More particularly, tops 13 of containers 102 can be adjacent to bottom panel 116 and bottoms 135 of containers 102 can extend from opening 114 of insulator 106. To withdraw a particular container 102 from insulator 106, it may be desirable to remove the particular container 102 from ring 104 without withdrawing package 100 or other containers 102 from insulator 106. Insulator 106 may therefore include lobes 137 adjacent to bottom panel 116 to allow some clearance 139 between container tops 133 and insulator 106. Clearance 139 can allow users to twist a particular container relative to ring 104 (and other containers 102) to cause ring 104 to release the desired container. In some embodiments, insulator 106 is resilient enough that lobes 137 can be omitted while still allowing users to twist containers 102 for release from ring 104.

Turning now to FIG. 8, FIG. 8 illustrates a top plan view of sheet 140 which may be used to form insulator 106 of some embodiments. Sheet 140 can be made from a resilient insulating material such as neoprene and can include layers of other materials as desired such as nylon. Sheet 104 may include hook and loop fasteners 126 and 127 (see FIG. 5), scuff guards 130, openings 132, surfaces or panels 134 (not shown) with or without advertisements (see FIG. 6), etc. Sheet 140 can include panels 152 to define insulator sides, edges 154 and 156 to define opening 114, flap 157, panels 158 to define the ends (or, in some embodiments, relatively short sides of insulator 106), edges 160, etc. Sheet 140 can be folded to form insulators 106 of various shapes and dimensions by joining certain portions of edges 160. In some embodiments, edges 160 may be joined to minimize infiltration of ambient air into the interior of insulator 106. In some embodiments, user selected portions of edges 160 may be joined to form insulator 106 while minimizing manufacturing expenses. Edges 160 may be joined in a variety of manners including using stitches, adhesives, heat, etc.

With reference to FIG. 9, FIG. 9 illustrates that insulators 106 of various shapes and dimensions can accommodate packages 100 of differing configurations. For example, as illustrated, package 100 can be a twelve pack with a box 104 holding containers 102 together and defining opening 108 for carrying package 100. Insulator 106 can correspond to package 100 in shapes and dimensions and the location of opening 132. In some embodiments, opening 114 may correspond to perforations 160 of package 100 which defining an opening for dispensing containers 102 from package 100 (and insulator 106).

Insulators 106 may be used in various methods as illustrated by FIG. 10. FIG. 10 illustrates method 200 implemented by various embodiments. Method 200 can include placing advertisements corresponding to user selected products on surfaces 134 of insulator 106. See step 202. Packages 100 may be inserted into insulators 106 and displayed at step 204. When desired, packages 100 in insulators 106 can be stacked into variously shaped displays at step 206. Insulators 106 may be given to users at step 208. Insulators 106 may be given away for free, as part of a promotional campaign, in exchange for money, etc. at step 208.

In use, users may obtain insulators 106 in a variety of ways such as receiving them as gifts, receiving them as promotional items, purchasing them, etc. Users may, at some time relative to obtaining insulator 106, obtain one or more, multi-container packages 100. When users desire to slow the rate at which a particular package 100 assumes ambient temperature, users may slide package 100 into insulator 106. Users who so desire, may orient package 100 so that the end of package 100 with ring 100 there on can slide into insulator 106 before other portions of package 106. In some situations, users may desire to stretch insulator 106 to a size exceeding one or more dimensions of the periphery of package 100 and to work insulator 106 around package 100. In any case, insulator 106 can generally conform to the periphery of package 100 after package 100 is slid into insulator 106.

Users may then orientate package 100 and insulator 106 so that openings 108 of ring 104 are accessible. When users have oriented package 100 such that ring 104 remains outside of insulator 106 (or near opening 114), users may grasp ring 104 directly. When users have oriented package 100 such that the end of package 100 with ring 104 entered insulator 106 first and, therefore, came to rest with ring 104 adjacent to bottom panel 116, users may grasp ring 104 through openings 132. Scuff guards 130 located at positions within insulator 106 where burrs (and the like) on ring 104 may contact insulator 106 can protect insulator 106 from wear and tear as packages 100 and containers 102 are inserted into and withdrawn from insulator 106. Users may carry package 100 and insulator 106 by ring 104 (or otherwise) to some convenient location such as near a barbecue pit, picnic table, lawn chair, television, radio, in a boat, in an automobile, and many other places known to those skilled in the art.

Users may leave package 100 with insulator 106 inhibiting heat transfer to or from the ambient environment to package 100. It may be worth noting that many users may wish that insulator 106 maintain package 100 within some desired range for some time. For instance, a particular user on the way to a sporting event (to attend as a spectator, to attend as a participant, etc.) might desire that insulator 106 keep package 100 cool until some time after the sporting event ends.

At some time, users may desire to consume beverages from one or more containers 102 in package 100. Users may remove package 100 from insulator 106 and consume beverages as desired. When users oriented package 100 in insulator 106 with ring 104 adjacent to bottom panel 116, users may grasp the exposed end of a particular container 102 with one hand while holding insulator 106 (and package 100) with the other hand and twist the particular container 102 out of ring 104. When insulators 106 include lobes 137, lobes 137 may provide sufficient clearance to accommodate movements of container 102 associated with removal of containers 102 from ring 104. When insulators 106 do not include lobes 137, materials from which insulator 106 can be formed can have sufficient elasticity to accommodate movements of containers 102 associated with such removals from ring 104. In various embodiments, insulator 106 can be formed from sheets of approximately 1/16″ to approximately ⅛″ neoprene or nylon reinforced neoprene although other materials and thicknesses may be used without departing from the scope of the disclosure.

Users may remove additional containers 102 from ring 104 and insulator 106 according to their desires. As users remove containers 102 from insulator 106, resiliency of insulator 106 may cause insulator 106 to collapse toward the particular containers 102 remaining in insulator 106. As insulator 106 collapses, it can create relatively semi-enclosed volume 124, thereby preventing, or inhibiting infiltration of ambient air into the proximity of containers 102 remaining in insulator 102.

When insulator 106 includes flap 125, insulator 106 can be shaped and dimensioned such that, at some time, portions of flap 125 can be moved into insulator 106 through opening 114 and down toward bottom panel 116. Doing so can create semi-enclosed volume 124, thereby preventing or inhibiting infiltration of ambient air into the proximity of containers 102 remaining in insulator 102. When insulator 106 includes hook and loop fasteners 126 and 127 positioned at appropriate locations on flap 125 and inside insulator 106 (e.g. on bottom panel 116) hook and loop fasteners 126 and 127 can be used to secure flap 125 in a position preserving semi-enclosed volume 124 and preventing infiltration. When users desire to remove another container 102 from insulator 106, users can lift flap 125 and remove another container 102 from insulator 106.

When users abstain from removing containers 102 from insulator 106, users may close flap 125 over the remaining containers 102 in insulator 106 if any. Users may place insulator 106 in a desired location until users desire to place another package 100 (or container 102) in insulator 106. While insulator 106 is empty, or partially empty, insulator 106 can consume minimal volume. For instance, in a vehicle such as an automobile, insulator 106 will tend to collapse upon itself and, perhaps, leave volume available for other uses. Insulator 106 can avoid creating noise if left un-stowed in a location at which it might become dislodged. For instance, in a vehicle, insulator 106 can become dislodged (or be left free to move relative to the vehicle). When such circumstances occur, materials from which insulator 106 can be constructed can be such that, should insulator 106 contact (e.g., impact, rub, vibrate against, etc.) some surface, no, or little noise is produce by the contact.

Although embodiments have been described in detail herein, it should be understood that the description is by way of example only and is not to be construed in a limiting sense. It is to be further understood, therefore, that numerous changes in the details of the embodiments and additional embodiments will be apparent, and may be made by, persons of ordinary skill in the art having reference to this description. It is contemplated that all such changes and additional embodiments are within scope of the claims below and their legal equivalents.





 
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