Title:
Equipment bag with interchangeable panels
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An equipment bag of the kind used to tote sporting equipment having compartments for storing bats, balls, a glove, and the like, the bag further including exterior panel covers that are non-structural and removably connected to the bag via a zipper or other releasable means. The panel covers are provided in coordinating colors, and alternate panel covers are provided in different colors that also removably attach to the equipment bag. The removable panel covers can be selected to coordinate with team colors so that a user can match the colors of other teammates for different teams using the same equipment bag. In one embodiment, the panel covers are reversible to increase the number of bag appearances for the same number of panels.



Inventors:
Coffing, Chris (Rossmoor, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/030824
Publication Date:
07/13/2006
Filing Date:
01/07/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D85/20
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050150782Container for an articleJuly, 2005Leonard
20080149234MOBILE CASEJune, 2008Broumand
20040217029Tool bag for securing tools thereinNovember, 2004Ho
20070151891Metallic Storage BoxJuly, 2007Rioja Calvo
20090188821MULTIPLE SIZE STRAP AND TIE DOWN CONTAINERJuly, 2009Neu et al.
20070205128Reusable Nesting And Denesting Plastic ContainerSeptember, 2007Davis
20080220909GOLF BALL MARKER HOLDERSeptember, 2008Yamashita
20070108085Debris removal container and method of removing debris from a construction siteMay, 2007Andrade
20060032764Gift card and recordable optical disk kit with matching artworkFebruary, 2006Swenson
20090321304THERMOFORMED BATTERY PACKAGEDecember, 2009Watson et al.
20020029994Kit for inserting a multiple catheter assemblyMarch, 2002Schon



Primary Examiner:
REYNOLDS, STEVEN ALAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FULWIDER PATTON LLP (LOS ANGELES, CA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An equipment bag including a plurality of compartments for storing sporting equipment, comprising: first and second straps secured to the equipment bag and forming handles thereon; at least one strap secured to the equipment bag and coupled with a hook member to secure said equipment bag on a vertical structure; and a plurality of removable panels connected to the outer surface of the equipment bag via zippers, said removable panels being decorative rather than structural, and of a like color; wherein said removable panels can be replaced with alternate removable panels of a color other than said like color.

2. The equipment bag of claim 1 comprising three removable panels, a first removable panel covering substantially a lateral side of the equipment bag, a second removable panel disposed on a front surface of the equipment bag, and a third removable panel also disposed on the front surface of the equipment bag.

3. The equipment bag of claim 1 wherein each removable panel includes on a periphery a set of teeth adapted to cooperate with a set of teeth on the equipment bag for releasably connecting the removable panels to the equipment bag.

4. A sports equipment bag having fence clips and carrying handles, and further comprising: external surfaces of a first color; at least one first removable panel cover releasably connected to the equipment bag and comprising an outer surface with a team color thereon, said removable panel being non-structural with respect to the sports bag; and at least one alternate removable panel for substitution with said first removable panel cover comprising an outer surface with a team color different from said first panel cover.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to equipment bags, particularly those used as a carryall for team sport equipment such as softball, baseball, football, lacrosse, etc., that includes interchangeable outer panel covers in varying colors to alter the appearance of the bag.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Equipment bags used to tote sporting equipment are very popular with players who must carry a great deal of equipment and gear for participation in the game. Sports such as baseball, hockey, softball, football and the like typically require a bag to carry all of the bats, balls, gloves, hats, cleats, and the various other equipment and gear required. This has led to the popularity of the sports bag carry-all. These bags are traditionally leather or a synthetic leather-like material having a number of compartments that hold player's bats, gloves, balls, and the like. The bags normally include handles or straps that facilitate carrying the bag, and may also include clips or hooks for suspending the bags from a dugout fence or the like. A line of equipment bags is offered by the assignee of the present invention, Diamond Sports of Cypress, Calif.

Players on a sports team traditionally purchase an equipment bag in the color(s) of their team. This promotes team solidarity and presents a unified presence of team support. In many cases, players play for several teams, including club leagues, city leagues, semi-professional leagues, and so on. For players who play for more than one team, this can present a problem that is solved only by purchasing multiple equipment bags, one in each team color. This can be an expensive endeavor, particularly for players who play for three or more teams or for players who's team colors change every season. The present invention is directed to this problem, which remains unaddressed in the industry.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a sports equipment bag with a plurality of removable colored panel covers that can be exchanged with similar panel covers of a different color, style, or with a different logo. The panel covers are non-structural in that the bag is fully functional without the covers, and the covers serve an aesthetic function to designate team identity. When a player needs to change the appearance of his or her equipment bag to coordinate with a team's colors, the fitted panel covers of the equipment bags are easily removed via releasable fasteners or zippers, and replaced with alternate styled fitted panel covers of the designated colors. In this manner, one equipment bag can serve a player on multiple teams, eliminating the costs of purchasing an equipment bag for each team. Using different panel cover color combinations, the permutations of different bag appearances that can be created using a single bag with multiple panels is virtually endless.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an elevated perspective view of a first preferred embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 2 is an elevated perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 1 showing multiple alternate removable panels as variants.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate an equipment bag 10 of the kind used by athletes to carry their equipment. The equipment bag includes multiple internal compartments for carrying balls, gloves, valuables, keys, glasses, and cleats. On the bag's outer surface is a plurality of pockets and pouches for additional storage. The equipment bag is formed with several panels that comprise structural elements of the bag (such as a side wall). That is, portions of the bag that form compartments are framed on the outside of the bag with front panels that form structural elements of the bag. These structural panels are further formed with means for attaching a non-structural panel cover that are interchangeable with alternate panel covers of different colors or designs so that the appearance of the equipment bag can be quickly and easily modified using said panel covers to coordinate with other player's bags in a unified team color or name.

The equipment bag 10 shown in FIG. 1 includes a top portion 30, a left side 32, a right side 34, a front surface 36, and a bottom surface 38. The front surface 36 may be equipped with a pair of straps 40 that can be used as handles when the bag is carried in a horizontal orientation (where the front surface 36 becomes the top surface) or alternatively the straps 40 can be used as shoulder straps to carry the bag 10 like a back pack. The upper surface 30 may be equipped with hooks or clips 42 that connect the bag to a chain link fence or other similar structure as is known in the art. It is to be understood that variations on the type of fence clip are known in the art, and the type of fence is not part of the present invention. With the bag hung vertically as shown in FIG. 1, the player can access the bag's internal compartments by unzipping flaps that expose the bag's interior. Because the equipment bag may be heavy when loaded with sports equipment, wheels 44 can also be provided on the bottom surface 38 to allow the player to pull the bag behind him or her like a suitcase.

Bags such as those shown in FIG. 1 traditionally include surfaces that are of a basic or neutral color such as black or white. These surfaces may include the top surface 30, the front surface 36, the right side 34, and the lower surface 38. Conversely, some other surfaces can be decorated or adorned with team colors or logos that designate a particular team color, theme, nickname, or other affiliation. An example of those surfaces include side panel 50, front upper compartment panel 52, and front lower compartment panel 54. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a first side panel cover 20a releasably attaches to the equipment bag 10 at side panel 50 using a zipper 22 that circumscribes the panel. The panel cover 20a has a row of teeth 24 along its perimeter forming one half of a zipper connection, the other half 29 of the zipper formed on the boundary of the equipment bag's side panel 50. The zipper 22 engages and disengages the mating teeth 24,29 on the bag 10 and the panel cover 20a to releasably attach the panel to the equipment bag. Other types of fastening mechanisms are possible as well, such as snaps, Velcro® hook and loop fastening materials, hook and clasp arrangements, and the like.

A second removable panel 52 is located at a second compartment portal for the equipment bag 10. The panel 52 also serves as locator for the front upper compartment panel cover 23a where the engagement of the panel cover 23a with the panel 52 is similar to the previous example. A third panel, the front lower compartment panel 54 serves as a locator for a third panel cover 26a, where each panel cover may be color-coordinated to match the other panel covers. For example, panel covers 20a, 23a, and 26a are preferably of a common color or display a common logo such that the equipment bag 10 can be adorned with a visually consistent theme or color scheme. Against the other neutral surfaces of the equipment bag, the colored panel covers allow customization of the equipment bag to coincide with a particular team's color scheme.

As shown in FIG. 2, multiple panel covers 20a-c, 23a-c, 26a-c can be used interchangeably with the same equipment bag to create multiple appearances. Each panel is separately removed by unzipping the engaged mating teeth 24, 29 via a zipper to release the panel cover from the bag, and an alternate panel cover can be used as a replacement. The panels 50, 52, 54 are the structural members that maintain the integrity of the bag, whereas the panel covers 20, 23, 26 are non-structural and overlay the panels. Their function is aesthetic and not load bearing, where the panels 50, 52, 54 provide the necessary support. By providing a stock of panels having various colors or team logos, the each bag can be altered in countless combinations to coordinate with the respective team design by selecting and attaching the appropriate panel covers. In one preferred embodiment the separate panel covers can be reversible to provide two separate colors on the same panel, thereby reducing inventory and doubling the number of color combinations for the same number of panels. Because the panels can use mating zipper teeth at its perimeter, the reversible aspect (i.e., a different color on each side of the panels) does not affect the connectivity of the panels.

The present invention allows players of multiple teams to keep a single equipment bag, requiring only the acquisition of various panel covers to vary the bag's appearance. Removing the panel covers is simple and takes only a few seconds to replace, and can even make a worn bag look new again. Accordingly, the present invention significantly reduces the cost of participating in multiple softball or baseball leagues.





 
Previous Patent: Compact disc wallet

Next Patent: Swab holder