Title:
GARMENT AND LOAD ATTACHMENT SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A garment with a load attachment system. The garment has a plurality of spaced apart rows of loop members. The attachment device includes a clip member with an arm having fingers at opposite ends thereof. In a preferred embodiment, the fingers and arm define generally oppositely opening slots. A load is removably mounted to the garment with the attachment device by a loop member being received in a respective slot.



Inventors:
Evans, Scott V. (Jacksonville, NC, US)
Quinlan, Carl James (Richlands, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/671027
Publication Date:
12/20/2007
Filing Date:
02/05/2007
Assignee:
EAGLE INDUSTRIES UNLIMITED, INC. (Fenton, MO, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D1/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
PATEL, TAJASH D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Husch Blackwell LLP (St. Louis, MO, US)
Claims:
1. A garment with an attachment system for removably mounting a load to the garment comprising: a garment having a plurality of spaced apart rows of first loop members with spaces therebetween; an attachment device including a clip member having a pair of fingers and a relatively rigid arm member connected to and extending between the fingers, said attachment device having a first slot and a second slot with the first and second slots opening generally toward each other, a said first loop member in one said row being received in said first slot and a first loop member in another said row being received in the second said slot; and a load mounted to the attachment device.

2. The garment of claim 1 wherein the load including a second loop member secured thereto and receiving the arm member therethrough, said second loop being positioned between at least two of said first loop members received in said first and second slots.

3. An attachment system for mounting a carried device to a carrying device, said system including: at least one first loop member and at least one second loop member secured in spaced apart relationship on a carrying device; and an attachment device including a clip member having a pair of fingers and an arm connected to and extending between the fingers, said attachment device having a first slot and a second slot with the first and second slots opening generally toward each other, a said first loop member being received in a said first slot and a said second loop member being received in a said second slot.

4. The attachment system of claim 3 wherein the first loop member defining a first opening and the second loop member defining a second opening, said first opening being generally in alignment with a said second opening.

5. The attachment system of claim 4 wherein there being a first row of first loop members with each said first loop member defining a respective said first opening and there being a second row of second loop members with each said second loop member defining a respective said second opening.

6. The attachment system of claim 4 including a carried device having at least one third loop member defining a third opening with said arm extending therethrough.

7. The attachment system of claim 4 wherein the first and second slots being on opposite sides of the arm.

8. The attachment system of claim 7 wherein the first and second slots lying in generally parallel planes.

9. The attachment system of claim 8 wherein the fingers including a first finger and a second finger with the first finger and the arm defining the first slot, each of said loop members having a height, said first slot having a length of at least about the height of two said loop members and the first slot contains a loop member on the carrying device and a loop member on the carried device.

10. The attachment system of claim 9 wherein the second slot having a length about equal to or less than about the height of one said loop member received therein.

11. The attachment system of claim 4 wherein the arm bridging at least three said loop members, of which at least two of said loop members are on the carrying device and at least one said loop member is on the carried device and positioned between said two loop members on the carrying device.

12. The attachment system of claim 11 wherein the arm is positioned on the outside of an uppermost loop member on the carrying device, on the inside of a loop member on the carried device and on the inside of a lowermost loop member on the carrying device bridged by the arm.

13. The attachment system of claim 11 wherein the arm bridges at least five said loop members.

14. The attachment system of claim 11 wherein the ann bridging one more loop member on the carrying device than on the carried device.

15. The attachment system of claim 4 wherein there being a plurality of rows of loop members with each row of loop members including a plurality of laterally positioned loop members.

16. The attachment system of claim 15 wherein the attachment device including at least two said clip members and a bridge connected to the arm of each said clip member positioning the clip members in a laterally spaced relationship with each said clip member being mounted to respective said loop members.

17. The attachment system of claim 16 wherein the bridge including an elevated platform on one side thereof and defined by sidewalls and an outer wall member connected to and extending between the sidewalls.

18. The attachment system of claim 17 including at least one load mount device operably associated with the outer wall member.

19. The attachment system of claim 18 wherein the at least one load mount device including a plurality of apertures extending through the outer wall member and being in spaced apart relationship.

20. The attachment system of claim 19 wherein the attachment device being formed of a polymeric material, said apertures each having a metallic grommet secured to the outer wall member within a respective said aperture.

21. An attachment system for mounting a carried device to a carrying device, said system including: at least one first loop member and at least one second loop member secured in spaced apart relationship on a carrying device; an attachment device having a pair of arm members positioned in spaced apart relationship to each other, each arm member having a pair of fingers associated therewith, each finger forming a respective slot in association with said respective arm member, said slots associated with each respective arm member opening generally towards each other; and at least one said first loop member being received in one of the slots associated with each of said pair of arm members and at least one said second loop member being received in the other slot associated with each of said pair of arm members.

22. The attachment system of claim 21 wherein the attachment device including a bridge member extending between said pair of arm members, said bridge member including at least one load mount device for attaching a carried device thereto.

23. The attachment system of claim 22 wherein said bridge member includes an elevated platform.

24. An attachment system for mounting a carried device to a carrying device, said system including: at least a pair of first loop members and at least a pair of second loop members secured in spaced apart relationship on a carrying device; an attachment device having at least a pair of arm members positioned in spaced apart relationship to each other and connected together by a bridge member, each arm member having a pair of fingers associated therewith, said attachment device having first and second slots associated with each said arm member, said first slots each opening generally toward a respective said second slot, said bridge member being adapted for attaching a carried device thereto; and said at least a pair of first loop members being received in said first slots and said at least a pair of second loop members being received in said second slots.

25. An attachment device for mounting a carried device to a carrying device wherein the carrying device includes at least one first loop member and at least one second loop member secured in spaced apart relationship on the carrying device, and wherein the carried device includes at least one loop member, said attachment device comprising a pair of fingers and an arm member connected to and extending between said fingers, the distal end portion of each finger being positioned in spaced apart relationship relative to each other, each finger forming a slot in association with said arm member, said slots opening generally towards each other, one of said slots being adapted to receive the at least one first loop member and said second slot being adapted to receive the at least one second loop member.

26. The attachment device of claim 25 wherein the at least one loop member associated with the carried device is received by said arm member when the carried device is mounted thereto.

27. An attachment device for mounting a carried device to a carrying device wherein the carrying device includes at least a pair of first loop members and at least a pair of second loop members secured in spaced apart relationship on the carrying device, and wherein the carried device includes at least one loop member, said attachment device comprising a pair of arm members positioned in spaced apart relationship to each other, a bridge member extending between said pair of arm members, each said arm member having a pair of fingers associated therewith, each said finger forming a slot in association with its respective arm member, the slots associated with each respective arm member opening generally towards each other, one of the slots associated with each arm member being adapted to receive the at least one of said first loop members therein and the other of said slots associated with each respective arm member being adapted to receive the at least one of said second loop members therein.

28. An attachment device for mounting a carried device to a carrying device wherein the carrying device includes at least one first loop member and at least one second loop member positioned in spaced apart relationship on the carrying device, said attachment device comprising at least two fingers and an arm member connected to and extending between at least two of said fingers, the distal end portion of each said finger being positioned in spaced apart relationship relative to each other, each said finger at least partially forming a slot, one of said slots being adapted to receive the at least one first loop member and said second slot being adapted to receive the at least one second loop member.

29. The attachment device of claim 28 wherein at least one of the fingers being in overlying relationship to a major face portion of the arm forming a said slot therebetween.

30. The attachment device of claim 29 wherein said at least two of said fingers both being in overlying relationship to a respective major face portion of the arm each forming a slot therebetween.

31. The attachment device of claim 29 wherein said slots opening generally towards each other.

32. The attachment device of claim 31 wherein the fingers being positioned on opposite sides of the arm.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/766,727, filed Feb. 8, 2006, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Over the years, numerous systems have been devised for carrying equipment on one's person, particularly in the military and law enforcement area. In this evolution, modular means of carrying equipment have been devised. One of the later systems is referred to as the MOLLE system which is an acronym for modular light weight load-carrying equipment. The system includes the use of some carrying device or garment worn by a user, for example, a vest, waist belt, panel added to a piece of equipment, back pack, fanny pack or the like. The system further involves the provision of a plurality of standardized rows of loops associated with the carrying device and typically formed by a sewn fabric strip with the rows of loops typically being horizontally disposed during normal use. The loops in one row are aligned vertically with loops in adjacent rows. The loops can be made from a woven heavy weight strip of material such as nylon webbing or other suitable means. Typically, straps are utilized to retain some carried device or load, for example, a pouch, holster or the like, to the carrying device. Mounting of a carried device is usually in a manner to provide for removal once attached. An example of a load attachment system can be found in U.S. Pat. No. 6,823,566. Modular carried devices attached to a garment can be selectively changed and re-positioned depending upon the circumstances and the equipment to be carried. Such a system has proven to be very effective in use.

One major drawback of the current MOLLE attachment systems for mounting a carried device such as a pouch to a vest or the like is that each carried device requires its own attachment device which increases the cost of each carried device. One form of attachment device is a hook and loop attachment assembly but this assembly can be noisy to attach and detach which is a hindrance in certain tactical environments. The hook and loop attachment assembly may also be uncoupled inadvertently. Hook and loop fasteners also add additional labor and costs to the manufacture of the carried device since this assembly must be added to the carried device and such assemblies can wear out over time. Some strap system attachment devices using webbing attachment straps can also allow the carried device to sag and/or flop around.

There is thus a need for an improved attachment system for attaching devices or loads to MOLLE system loops.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention involves the provision of a MOLLE system which includes a carrying device, a carried device and an attachment system for releasably connecting the two devices together. The attachment system includes a member having two slots with spaced apart portions for receiving strap webbing therein. The attachment device is sized and shaped to be received through loops in a MOLLE system chain of loops and has sufficient length to bridge at least two vertically separated chains of loops on the carrying device. A strap forming a chain is received in each of the two slots to mount the carried device to the carrying device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a molle system vest with an attachment device for the attachment system of the present invention attached thereto.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of an attachment device of the present invention and rows of mounting loops.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged exploded fragmentary side view of an attachment device of the present invention and rows of mounting loops.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged fragmentary side view showing a pouch mounted to a vest using an attachment device of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another embodiment of an attachment device constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

Like numbers throughout the various Figures designate like or similar parts or construction.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The reference numeral 1 in FIG. 1, designates generally a MOLLE carrying device or garment which is shown as a vest. It is to be understood however that the carrying device 1 can be any suitable garment compatible with MOLLE system devices such as a harness, belt, shirt, legging, chest protector, backpack, fanny pack and the like. Such MOLLE carrying devices 1 are provided with a plurality of spaced apart rows 2 of loop members 3 which rows are generally in vertically spaced relation and extend generally horizontally in normal use. The loops 3 can be formed by webbing 5 (FIG. 2) sewn to an underlying support member 6 such as a sheet of fabric with the loops 3 being positioned in the various rows of loops to form generally vertical columns of aligned loops. The webbing 5 may be sewn at multiple locations as at locations 7 to the underlying member 6. The webbing may be nylon strapping or the like. An example of such a MOLLE system on a vest is illustrated in U.S. Patent Publication 2005/0005343, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,020,897; the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

A carried device 11 (FIG. 3) or modular load is removably attached to the carrying device 1 via an attachment device 15 described below. The carried device 11 may include pouches, holsters, ammunition clips, knife, utensils such as a flashlight, radios, OPS, map packets, water containers and the like. In one form of the present invention, the carried device 11 may be provided with at least one and preferably a plurality of rows 20 of loop members 21 (FIG. 4) that are coordinated and compatible with the rows 2 of loops 3 on the carrying device 1 such that the rows 20 of webbing 25 will be spaced apart generally the same as the spacing of the webbing 5 on the carrying device 1 and will have generally the same width (height) as the webbing 5 on the carrying device 1 so that the webbing 25 on the carried device 11 will fit in the spaces between the webbing 5 on the carrying device 1. On small carried devices 11, a row of loops 21 may be only one loop long and only one row high.

The attachment device 15 for mounting a carried device 11 to the carrying device 1 is best seen in FIGS. 1-3. A second form or another embodiment of the present attachment device is shown in FIG. 5 and is designated generally 35. The devices 15 and 35 can have common features as discussed below. The device 15 is provided with two slots 42, 43 formed by clip fingers 44, 45. The arm 46 and the fingers 44, 45 are configured to capture the loop members 3, 21, of at least two rows 2 or 20 of webbing 5 or 25 each in a respective slot 42, 43 for mounting of the attachment device 15 to a carrying device 1. In a preferred embodiment, the slots 42, 43 are oppositely opening and are formed by the fingers 44, 45 overlying opposite major faces 37, 38 of an intermediate connector arm 46 as best illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. In alternate embodiments, the fingers 44, 45 may be positioned on the same side of the arm 45; the slots 42, 43 may open in the same direction; and/or one or more of the fingers 44, 45 forming the slots 42, 43 may be traversely offset from the arm 45, or from each other without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. In the illustrated structure, the arm 46 connects fingers 44, 45 together and is preferably integral therewith forming a clip member. The device 15 is relatively rigid and may be polymeric and formed by extrusion of an elongate strip which is then cut transversely to the desired width. The device 15 may also be formed by heat forming a sheet of polymeric material to form bends at closed ends 47, 48 of the slots 42, 43 to provide the overlapping portions. The attachment device 15 may also be of a formed metallic material.

In the illustrated structure, the slots 42, 43 have open ends 51, 52 respectively with the slots 42, 43, lying generally in parallel planes which are also parallel to a central plane of the intermediate arm 46. Preferably, the fingers 44, 45 and arm 46 are generally rectangular in shape and have generally planar opposed surfaces. The slots 42, 43 are preferably on opposite sides of the arm 46. The length L1 of the arm 46 in one embodiment is significantly longer than the lengths L2, L3 of the slots 42, 43 respectively as illustrated in FIG. 2. Preferably, the length L1 is greater than about three times the height H, FIGS. 2 and 3, of the webbing 5 and 25 (both preferably having the same height), the length L2 is preferably equal to at least about the height H and preferably to at least about twice the height H (2H), and L3 is preferably approximately equal to the height H. Preferably, the distal end of each finger 44, 45 are spaced apart along the arm 46 a distance of at least about the height H and preferably at least about 2H such that the distal end portions of the fingers 44 and 45 do not overlap. In the illustrated structure, the free ends of the fingers 44, 45 are tapered to provide a tapered lead in into the respective slot 42, 43. The fingers 44, 45 are preferably resiliently bendable relative to the arm 46 and the relaxed thickness of the slots 42, 43 is approximately equal to or less than the thickness of the webbing 5, 25 forming the chains of loops 3, 21 so as to apply a force to the webbing 5, 25 when positioned therebetween.

As seen in FIG. 4, mounting the attachment device 15 to both the carrying device 1 and the carried device 11 is accomplished by placing the finger 44 on the inside of a loop 3 associated with the carrying device 1, extending through the loop with the arm 46 being positioned on the outside of the webbing 5 with the loop 3 being in the slot 42. The arm 46 is then inserted through a topmost loop 21 associated with the carried device 11 such that the webbing 25 of a loop 21 on the carried device 11 is on the inside surface and can also be positioned within the slot 42 depending upon the length of the finger 44. The ann 46 is then extended through a loop 3 on the carrying device 1 interlocking the chains of webbing 5, 25. After passing through the loop 3 on the carrying device, the arm 46 may then be extended through another loop 21 on the inside between the carried device 11 and the inside surface of the loop and then through another loop 3 on the carrying device 1 which will have a portion thereof positioned within the slot 43. The length L1 of the arm 46 is approximately equal to the spacing between the top and bottom closed ends 47, 48 respectively of the slots 42, 43 and is approximately equal to the spacing S1 between oppositely facing edges of an odd number of the chains of webbing 5 and intervening spaces 49 (two in FIG. 3) on the carrying device 1 as best illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4. The height of a space 49 between adjacent rows of webbing 5, 25 is approximately equal to the height H of the webbing. While it is shown that the fingers 44, 45 are secured to the chains of webbing 5 of the carrying device 1, they may be reversed and be attached to the carried device 11 as an alternate rigging. There will be at least one row of webbing on the carried device 11 (or carrying device 1 depending on the rigging method) and at least two rows of webbing on the other of the carrying device 1 (or carried device 11 depending on the rigging method) cooperating with the attachment device 15 for securing the same together and the load to the garment. In a preferred embodiment, at least two rows of webbing are encompassed or received within the slot 42, and preferably only one row of webbing is encompassed or received within the slot 43.

FIG. 5 shows an alternate embodiment 35 of the present invention that is particularly useful for carrying hardware, for example, a holster that could exhibit a rotational moment or torque on an attachment device because of an imbalance in loading. The attachment device 35 is comprised of a pair of laterally spaced apart side portions or clip members 51A, 51B each similar in construction to the device 15 and being interconnected by an intermediate bridge portion 53. The attachment device 35 may be made as for example by extrusion and then forming the notches 55, 56 after extrusion. The device 35 may also be made from a sheet of material as by die cutting and then thermoforming to form the fingers 64, 65 joined by arm 66 and the oppositely facing slots 62, 63 in the side portions 51A and 51B. The fingers 64, 65 can have tapered lead-ins 71, 72. The bridge portion 53 can be provided with a plurality of apertures 74 reinforced with metallic grommets 75. Fasteners can be utilized to attach a holster or the like to the device 35. Suitable fasteners can include rivets, screw fasteners or other mechanical type fasteners. Fastening can be done in a manner to allow removal of the carried device or load from the attachment device 35.

For rigidity, the device 35 may be provided with formed contours such as sidewalls 78 to increase the moment of inertia in the bridge 53 and to provide an elevated platform with a recess 79 on the back side 80 for fastener heads to be received in permitting below flush mounting of the fasteners. The outer wall 81 extends between and connects the sidewalls 78 forming an outer side of the recess 79. The device 35 can be mounted to a carrying device 1 as by having one or more chains of webbing 5 of the carrying device 1 received within the slots 62, and preferably two or more chains of webbing 5 particularly when the device 35 is utilized to carry heavy equipment like a side arm in a holster. Preferably, only one chain of webbing 5 is received within the slots 63. The device 35, because of the bridge 53 being in the way of the arms 66 passing through some loops 3, the arms 66 may skip being received through loops 3 of one or more rows of chains of webbing 5. The length of the arms 66 and fingers 64 may be such as to be received through loops of a plurality of rows of chains on the carrying device 1 and/or carried device as desired. The spacing S2 of the ends of the slots 62, 63 is approximately equal to the spacing between top and bottom edges of a plurality of rows of chains of webbing 5, for example 3 to 5 rows of chains of webbing 5.

The devices 15 and 35 may be made from a polymeric material as for example nylon, polypropylene, polyethylene or the like and can have thickness in the range of between about 0.03 inches and about 0.1 inches for the arms 46, 66 and fingers 44, 45, 64, 56 thereof. The devices 15, 35 can also be made of a metallic material if desired, or any other suitable material depending upon the particular application.

Thus, there has been shown and described several embodiments of a novel invention. As is evident from the foregoing description, certain aspects of the present invention are not limited by the particular details of the examples illustrated herein, and it is therefore contemplated that other modifications and applications, or equivalents thereof, will occur to those skilled in the art. The terms “having” and “including” and similar terms as used in the foregoing specification are used in the sense of “optional” or “may include” and not as “required”. Many changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications of the present construction will, however, become apparent to those skilled in the art after considering the specification and the accompanying drawings.