Title:
Apparel with enhanced breathability
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The breathability of garments, for example, jackets, trousers, and the like, is enhanced by a novel ventilation device. This ventilation device is composed of one or more openings in the outer material over which a closable cover having a closure tab is located, which ensures a clearance from the opening. An opening facing downward is formed between the outer material and the cover, the cover being composed of an additional outer material. This downward-facing opening can be closed as required.



Inventors:
Wittmann, Gabriele Beate (Wuppertal, DE)
Altenhofen, Heike (Koeln, DE)
Van De, Ven Henricus Johannes Maria (Aldenhaagstraat, NL)
Application Number:
11/340584
Publication Date:
08/24/2006
Filing Date:
01/27/2006
Assignee:
Sympatex Technologies Inc. (Hampton, NH, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ANDERSON, AMBER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OLIFF PLC (ALEXANDRIA, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A garment with enhanced breathability which has at least one ventilation device, comprising a ventilation opening in an outer material of the garment and a cover having a border, wherein the cover extends on the outer material of the garment over the ventilation opening and forms with the outer material a further opening in at least one region; the border of the cover is attached in the remaining regions of the border to the outer material, the cover between the regions in which the cover is attached to the outer material having a clearance relative to the outer material, and having a closure tab in at least one region in which the cover forms the further opening with the outer material, by which closure tab the further opening is closable; and the closure tab in an opened state is movable inward into the cover such that the cover forms an arch stabilized by the closure tab.

2. A garment according to claim 1, wherein the garment is equipped with a waterproof, windproof and water-vapor-permeable membrane.

3. A garment according to claim 1, wherein the border of the cover of the ventilation device has four sides and is attached on at least two opposing said sides to the outer material, and at least one side forms the region which with the outer material forms the further opening.

4. A garment according to claim 3, wherein the cover is attached to the outer material on three sides, and on a fourth side forms the further opening-with the outer material.

5. A garment according to claim 3, wherein the cover is attached to the outer material at lateral and top borders, and forms with the outer material said further opening facing downward.

6. A garment according to claim 1, wherein the ventilation device has a longitudinal axis that is roughly parallel to a longitudinal axis of a body of a wearer of the garment.

7. A garment according to claim 1, wherein the ventilation device has a ratio lengthventilation device/widthventilation device that is greater than 1.

8. A garment according to claim 1, wherein the ventilation device is located in a region of the garment corresponding to a region of greater perspiration of a wearer of the garment.

9. A garment according to claim 1, wherein the ventilation opening of the ventilation device is located only in the outer material.

10. A garment according to claim 1, wherein the ventilation opening of the ventilation device is located in the outer material and in a lining of the garment.

11. A garment according to claim 2, wherein the ventilation opening of the ventilation device is located in the outer material, in a lining of the garment, and in the membrane.

Description:

BACKGROUND

The invention relates to apparel with enhanced breathability which is achieved by a novel ventilation device.

During the finishing of outer fabric or inner materials with little permeability to air, garments are provided with ventilation passages to enable ventilation. A known example—also presented in the specification of EP 0,648,438 B1—involves metal-eyelet-encompassed ventilation holes in the shoulder region. The ventilation effect of this measure is insufficient, however.

The same document also describes how the openings of waterproof garments are frequently covered by a flap composed of the same material as the outer material. This flap can cover the ventilation opening in such a way that effective ventilation is no longer provided.

The purpose of a ventilation device is to maximize the exchange of air. When the water vapor formed by perspiration is not able to escape through the garment, the humidity on the inside of the garment may increase until the water vapor condenses. The garment worn under this garment becomes wet.

The use of windproof, waterproof and water-vapor-permeable membranes intended to carry off to the outside the moisture produced by perspiration is not always a sufficient measure. Especially in the case of increased physical exertion or at sites of increased secretion of sweat, the capacity of these membranes is insufficient.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,263,511 B1 describes a breathable garment. At the sites of increased sweat formation, holes are provided on the inside through which the vaporized sweat is able to penetrate more quickly into the intermediate space. Holes for ventilation are provided in the outer material. At the same time, the purpose is to prevent the penetration of fluid from outside in order to maintain waterproofness. This is achieved by a multilayer design. Located below the outer material is a layer of hydrophilic material which is able to absorb perspiration, while under this is another layer forming an intermediate space in which the vapor is transported upwards by a stack effect to the ventilation holes within the outer material. In order to ensure that no fluid can enter these holes from the outside, various structural measures, such as valves, are used to make these closable. The disadvantage of this invention is the high design-related, and thus fabrication-engineering-related, cost of implementing the ventilation.

EP 0,648,438 B1 discloses a waterproof passage cover of a passage opening, in particular, a ventilation opening for a garment. This opening contains on the outside a flap attached on one end, the flap completely covering the opening when in the down-hanging state. Another embodiment is a ventilation opening which contains a zipper by which the opening can be opened or closed. This embodiment is not covered by a flap. Air is able to pass unimpeded through the opening. For the embodiment with the flap, it is possible to provide a device to keep the flap open, the device ensuring that air is able to pass unimpeded through the opening.

Disadvantages of this ventilation opening correspond to those of the ventilation opening disclosed in the document EP 1,002,470 A2 “Wearing Apparel with Venting Arrangement.” In the event of increased sweat secretion due to physical exertion, the garments worn under waterproof or windproof clothing become wet. Functional materials are permeable to vapor, but not to condensed water. The breathability of these materials is limited and is not able to exceed a given vapor transfer rate. Sweating that exceeds this rate must result in condensation. Here too the approach is recognized by which it is possible to improve breathability by using ventilation openings that can be opened or closed as desired. The ventilation device here is implemented as a slit. An elastic expander is attached to the slit or to the closing device, the elastic expander ensuring that the ventilation opening is maintained in the opened state.

In the case of a simple ventilation opening which is implemented as a slit and is closable, a minimum distance between the opposing sides of the opening in the open state is not ensured, with the result that circulation can be impeded. An opening stabilized, for example, by an elastic expander results both in the body becoming visible under the clothing as well as being directly exposed unprotected to external climatic conditions and draft. An additional covering again impedes ventilation.

Document DE 700,490 discloses a garment protecting against wetness having ventilation openings which are overlapped by a fabric component. The ventilation opening is held open by a fillet which is able to bow outward as a result of various measures, such as, for example, a draw strap or pockets into which the fillet is inserted.

GB 2,388,297 A also discloses a garment with ventilation devices. Here again use is made of self-supporting ventilation channels that are open on each end. The inherent stability of the ventilation channels is achieved through the use of a band or a strip composed of thermoplastic material or by a corrugated channel profile.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,731,883 discloses a garment with ventilation openings. Located over the ventilation openings is a cover in the form of a flap. The cover can either lie flat over the opening so as to close it, or it can arch over the opening in a tunnel shape, thereby allowing for improved ventilation. The cover is held in the closed and open, that is, tunnel-shaped position, by a hook and loop (e.g., Velcro®-type) fastener.

FR-A-1,008,240 discloses a coat composed of a waterproof material and having ventilation channels formed by pleats and placed on the back section, the ends of the pleats being open and extending upwards to the inside of the collar.

GB-A-375,207 discloses a ventilation device for garments and composed of openings in the garment and covers over these openings. The covers are attached to the garment; a three-sided cover is attached, for example, on two sides to the garment and forms, together with the third side, an opening with the garment material. The side unattached to the garment is able to be drawn together by a draw string, thereby enabling the cover to arch over the opening.

SUMMARY

An object of embodiments of the present invention is an effective and simple ventilation system for apparel such as outer garments, which system improves breathability and is applicable for a wide variety of garments, including waterproof and windproof athletic and work apparel.

In embodiments, a garment has at least one ventilation device to enhance breathability. The device is preferably composed of at least one ventilation opening and a cover, wherein the cover extends on the outer material of the garment over the ventilation opening and forms with the outer material an opening in at least one region. Preferably, the border of the cover is attached at the remaining regions to the outer material, the cover between the regions at which the cover is attached to the outer material has a clearance relative to the outer material, and has a closure tab in at least one region in which the cover forms the opening with the outer material, by which tab the opening is closable. The closure tab in the opened state is preferably configured to be movable inward into the cover such that the cover forms an arch stabilized by the closure tab. By this structure, the opening which forms the cover with the outer material may be securely held open.

In embodiments, the closure tab may be an extension of the cover, the border of which is not attached to the outer material and can thus be moved inward into the cover. In order to ensure that the closure tab does not unintentionally close the opening which the cover forms with the outer material, but in fact stabilizes the arch, the closure tab may be configured to be fixed in the desired position by appropriate measures, such as, for example, hook-and-loop (e.g., a Velcro®-type) or snap or other fastener. The closure tab thus not only may serve to close the opening as required but may also ensure in the opened state that the cover is stiffened or stabilized by a second layer, thereby securely holding open the cover which is formed with the outer material.

The ventilation device is especially well suited for waterproof and windproof functional garments that are equipped with a membrane, for example, a water vapor permeable membrane. For these functional garments, the cover of the ventilation device is attached at attachment sites to the outer material so as to prevent water from penetrating. Attachment can be effected, for example, by stitching, gluing, welding, or other attachment techniques, or by a combination of attachment techniques.

The clearance between cover and outer material may be, depending on the embodiment, but need not be, essentially constant over the width and length of the cover. In some embodiments, the clearance may be greater in the center region of the cover than in the border region and diminish towards the border where the cover is attached to the outer material. The clearance between outer material and cover preferably measures between 1 mm and 100 mm. It is advantageous if the clearance of the cover relative to the outer material measures between 5 mm and 85 mm; in a preferred embodiment, the clearance of the cover relative to the outer material is between about 10 mm and 70 mm, while a measurement between 15 mm and 50 mm is especially preferred.

Any shape of the cover and also of the ventilation opening may be selected as desired. For example, circular shapes, rectangles, even free forms may be selected. In terms of fabrication technology, a rectangular or trapezoidal design is preferred; that is, the ventilation device normally has four sides including two shorter and two longer sides, although four sides of roughly equal length are also possible.

The preferably four-sided cover of the ventilation device is preferably attached to the outer material on at least two opposing sides and forms an opening with the outer material on at least one side, for example on two opposing sides. A preferred embodiment with a four-sided cover employs attachment of the cover on three sides to the outer material. In this case the cover has only one opening. The opening may, for example, be formed on one of the longer sides by the cover, which has the clearance from the outer material, and the outer material; preferably, the opening is implemented on one of the two shorter sides. It is of course also possible for the opening formed by the cover and outer material to be formed on the longer side of the cover, in which case it is preferable that the inward-moved closure tab sufficiently stabilizes the cover such that the clearance between cover and ventilation opening is maintained.

In principle, the opening which is formed by the cover, which has a clearance from the outer material, and the outer material may be oriented in any direction. It is especially advantageous if the cover forms with the outer material an opening facing downward so as to limit or prevent rain from reaching the inside of the garment through the ventilation opening.

The cover is located on the outer material and is preferably composed of the same material as the outer material, although the use of different materials is not excluded.

Apparel according to preferred embodiments of the invention prevents the wearer from being directly exposed to external conditions and to draft.

In order to ensure that the ventilation opening maintains its shape and is not pulled apart, it is possible to provide the ventilation opening with a mesh or the like that is attached at borders of the ventilation opening. Another possibility is to incorporate transverse links, which are preferably composed of the same material as the outer material. It is also possible to provide (e.g., cut out) multiple ventilation openings adjacent to one another so that links remain between the openings. Making it impossible for the ventilation opening to be pulled apart in normal use can simultaneously help in ensuring that the cover which arches over the ventilation opening does not come to lie on the ventilation opening and impede ventilation.

In preferred embodiments, the cover extends over the ventilation opening, in an arc-like or semicircular manner, the opposing sides running parallel, being attached at three sides to the garment, and forming with the outer material an opening facing downward, thereby creating a ventilation tunnel. The cross-sectional area of such an opening is preferably roughly constant over the entire length of the ventilation device. In an especially preferred embodiment, the cross-sectional area of the opening widens downward such that the arch of the cover increases proceeding downward. This design achieves an even greater ventilation effect.

It is also possible for the opposing sides attached to the garment to run in a non-parallel manner, for example, so as to narrow towards the ventilation opening. In terms of enhancing the ventilation effect, it is preferred that the opposing sides attached to the garment have the greatest mutual clearance at the lower end of the cover and the smallest mutual clearance at the top end of the cover. The opposing sides can also meet at their apex and form a partial conical cover which together with the outer material exhibits an opening facing downward. In this case, the cover may be attached only to the lateral borders of the outer material; the top border may be, for example, eliminated if the lateral borders meet at their apex.

A particular advantage of the described embodiments of this ventilation device is the fact that they can provide a design feature with functional characteristics which may be set off by color or accentuated by color-highlighted seams.

The longitudinal axis of the ventilation device preferably runs parallel to the longitudinal axis of the body, although this axis can also run at an angle of approximately 90° to the longitudinal axis of the body, or at any desired angle. The ratio lengthventilation device/widthventilation device is preferably greater than 1. The cover is preferably at least as large as the ventilation opening such that the ventilation opening is completely covered by the cover. In a preferred embodiment, the cover extends beyond the point at which it forms the opening with the outer material.

In a preferred approach, the ventilation device is located in regions of increased perspiration. In order to effectively protect the body from cold even under extreme weather conditions, the ventilation device has, in an especially preferred embodiment, a fastener, for example, a zipper or hook and loop (e.g., Velcro®-type) fastener or snap fastener.

The ventilation opening may extend only through the outer material, but may also extend through outer material and lining, or outer material, membrane, and lining. The ventilation opening may be completely open, or it may be provided with an air-permeable material, for example, a mesh. The opening formed by the cover with the outer material may also be completely open, or be provided with an air-permeable material, for example, a mesh.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following discussion explains embodiments of the invention in more detail based on the figures. A preferred embodiment is shown. However, the invention is not limited to this embodiment.

FIG. 1 shows an outer material having two ventilation openings;

FIG. 2 shows an outer material having a ventilation device composed of two ventilation openings and a cover; and

FIG. 3 is a sectional drawing of a ventilation opening along the axis AA drawn in FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

The embodiments shown in the figures illustrate an embodiment of an outer garment according to the invention with enhanced breathability. The outer garment shown in sectional view in FIGS. 1-3 has a ventilation opening or a ventilation device composed of at least one ventilation opening 1 and a cover 4 which is closable by a closure tab 7. Cover 4 is located on the outer material 3 of the garment. The cover arches over ventilation opening 1 and has along the longitudinal axis a clearance “a” from ventilation opening 1. Cover 4 is attached to outer material 3 at the lateral borders 5 and top border 6, and in the opened state forms an opening facing downward with outer material 3.

FIG. 1 shows an outer material 3 having two ventilation openings 1. For the sake of clarity, the cover is not shown here. Ventilation openings 1 lie adjacent to one another and are cut out so as to leave a link 2 between the openings. This link 2 ensures that ventilation opening 1 retains its shape and is not pulled apart. This feature ensures that cover 4, which arches over the ventilation opening, does not lie against the ventilation opening and impede ventilation.

FIG. 2 shows an outer material 3 having a ventilation device composed of two ventilation openings 1 and a cover 4. The opposing sides of the cover run parallel. The cover is attached to outer material 3 on three sides—the lateral borders 5 and the top border 6—and forms an opening facing downward with outer material 3. For the sake of clarity, in this illustration closure tab 7 is not moved inward. In the embodiment shown, the closure tab may be affixed in the desired position by a snap fastener 8. The portion of the snap fastener located on the inside of cover 4 to affix the inward-moved closure tab 7 is not shown in the illustration. The cover may also be shaped as discussed above. The attachment of outer material to cover shown in FIG. 2 is a seam. In addition to stitching, the attachment can be effected by gluing, welding, or other attachment techniques, or by a combination of techniques. The length of the cover is preferably at least as great as the length of the opening; in the embodiment shown, the cover extends beyond the opening. FIG. 2 shows a ventilation device without a closing mechanism.

FIG. 3 presents a cross-sectional drawing of the ventilation opening along the sectional axis shown in FIG. 2, illustrating how cover 4 arches over ventilation opening 1 and has a clearance “a” from outer material 3. The cover arches preferably in an arc-like or semicircular manner over the ventilation opening. The ventilation opening may extend only through the outer material, but may also extend through outer material and lining, or outer material, membrane, and lining. The ventilation opening here may be completely open, or it may be provided with an air-permeable material, for example, a mesh.