Title:
POD HOLDER FOR A PAINTBALL HARNESS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A pod holder for a paintball harness is described. A base, elastic band and cup are used to create opposing forces which hold a pod in place between the base and cup. The pod may be removed quickly by applying force to one of either the base or the cup and thereby countering the opposing forces. The pod may then be quickly opened for rapid access to paintballs for loading.



Inventors:
Callanta, Leonardo (Long Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/563649
Publication Date:
05/29/2008
Filing Date:
11/27/2006
Assignee:
Joey & JC Corporation (Long Beach, CA, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/191
International Classes:
A45F5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HELVEY, PETER N.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KLEINBERG & LERNER, LLP (LOS ANGELES, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A pod holder for a paintball harness comprising: a back piece; a base, affixed to said back piece; a tensile strap, affixed to said back piece, capable of generating force in opposition to said base; and a cup, attached to said tensile strap, for providing oppositional force to a the pod.

2. The pod holder of claim 1, wherein said strap is restrained by a retaining strap, affixed to said back piece.

3. The pod holder of claim 1, wherein said base is also affixed to said back piece using a lower tensile strap, capable of generating opposing force in opposition to said cup.

4. The pod holder of claim 3 wherein said lower tensile strap is restrained by a lower retaining strap, affixed to said back piece.

5. A paintball harness to which the pod holder of claim 1 is affixed.

6. A paintball harness to which a multiplicity of pod holders conforming to the description of the pod holder of claim 1 are affixed.

7. A paintball belt to which the pod holder of claim 1 is affixed.

8. A paintball vest to which the pod holder of claim 1 is affixed.

9. A pod holder for a paintball harness comprising: a back piece for mounting the pod holder; a first cupping means, attached to said back piece, for cupping one end of a paintball pod; a tensile pressure means, attached to said back piece, for providing tension sufficient to hold a paintball pod; and a second cupping means, attached to said back piece by means of said tensile strap, for cupping an opposite end of a paintball pod.

10. The pod holder of claim 9 wherein said first cupping means is attached to said back piece by means of a second tensile pressure means.

11. The pod holder of claim 9 wherein said first tensile pressure means is restrained by a retention means.

12. The pod holder of claim 10 wherein said second tensile pressure means is restrained by a retention means.

13. A pod holder for a paintball harness comprising: a back piece, for mounting a pod holder; a base, fixedly attached to said back piece, for holding one end of a paintball pod; an elastic strap, fixedly attached to said back piece, for providing tension in opposition to said base in order to hold a paintball pod; a cup, attached to said elastic strap, utilizing the tension provided by said elastic strap in order to hold a paintball pod; and a retaining strap, fixedly attached to said back piece on either side of said elastic strap, for holding said elastic strap in place as it provides tension sufficient to hold a paintball pod.

14. The pod holder of claim 13 wherein said base is attached to said back piece by means of a second elastic strap, fixedly attached to said back piece for providing tension in opposition to said cup in order to hold a paintball pod, wherein said second elastic strap is restrained by a second retaining strap, fixedly attached to said back piece on either side of said second elastic strap, for holding said second elastic strap in place as it provides tension sufficient to hold a paintball pod.

15. The pod holder of claim 13 wherein said base is also attached to said back piece by means of said elastic strap, wherein said elastic strap also provides tension in opposition to said cup in order to hold a paintball pod and wherein said elastic strap is also restrained by said retaining strap to thereby hold said elastic strap in place as it provides tension sufficient to hold a paintball pod.

16. The pod holder of claim 15 wherein said elastic strap is also restrained by a second retaining strap, fixedly attached to said back piece on either side of said elastic strap, for holding said elastic strap in place as it provides tension sufficient to hold a paintball pod.

17. A paintball harness to which the pod holder of claim 13 is affixed.

18. A paintball harness to which a multiplicity of pod holders conforming to the description of the pod holder of claim 13 are affixed.

19. A paintball belt to which the pod holder of claim 13 is affixed.

20. A paintball vest to which the pod holder of claim 13 is affixed.

Description:

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to the sport of paintball and more particularly to a pod holder for a paintball harness.

2. Description of the Related Art

Various prior art systems exit for holding pods in a paintball harness. Pods are typically plastic elongated tubes with rounded bottoms and flat caps. Pods are useful in storing large numbers of paintballs. Pods have evolved to be clear, so as to see at a glance whether or not, there are paintballs within a particular pod. Secondarily, over time, pods have become easier and easier to hold and gain access to utilizing only one hand.

Most of the prior art systems utilize straps and circular loops in which to hold the pods. One such example system, U.S. Pat. No. 7,100,810 provides for a series of straps and circular loops for holding paintball pods. Another system, U.S. Pat. No. 6,718,558 owned by the assignee of this invention, provides for a strap equipped with an elastic mechanism, whereby the strap, once it is lifted, springs back out of the way of a user attempting to access a pod within the circular loop. This is done so as to facilitate access to the pod for speed.

Speed is important in accessing pods. In the fastest paintball matches, entire games may last only a matter of a few seconds. The longest games of this type, last seven minutes. It has become increasingly important to these types of players that they be able to gain access to paintballs and thus the pods that hold them, quickly.

Additional prior art references include the addition of elastic “bottoms” under the circular loops, so as to eject the pod quickly from the loop once the strap is undone. Straps are typically fastened with Velcro® so as to easily attach and unattach securely numerous times.

Pod holders in the prior art are typically attached to a harness. A harness is a specially-designed belt for holding one or more pods. The pods in a harness are typically placed behind a wearer of the harness on the lower back. The pods in a harness of the prior art are situated with the end capable of opening downward, whereby a user may reach behind their back, open a strap, grasp the pod, return the pod to the front of the user and the pod is now “rightside up” for opening. Were it otherwise, there is potential that pods would open before a user could place the pod in front of their body and the paintballs might spill on the ground.

Additional prior art provides for the use of elastic loops between the standard pod straps. These straps expand to hold additional pods, but are not made of the same solid material as typical pod holding loops. These provide additional pods for use in longer matches. They typically do not provide for straps or any system for additional ease or speed of access. They are typically held in place by friction created by the elastic loop itself with the pod's exterior casing.

There is substantial emphasis in the prior art on increasing the speed at which a user may access the pods and the paintballs that they contain. All of the prior art is aimed at ensuring the pods stay in place, while also providing the quickest possible access.

For these reasons, there exists in the prior art a need. The prior art provides no means whereby a user may use a single hand to quickly and in one motion access a pod in a harness. There exists a need for an apparatus whereby a pod may be securely and quickly stored for immediate retrieval while still providing fast access to a pod and the paintballs contained therein.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention provides a pod holder for a paintball harness. This pod holder may be used in conjunction with additional pod holders, for example, in series on a harness to thereby provide for the storage and quick access of a multiplicity of pods and paintballs. The apparatus of this invention provides benefit over the prior art in terms of speed and ease of access. The apparatus is also simpler than methods provided for in the prior art, requiring less material to manufacture.

The pod holder of the preferred embodiment described herein is made up of a back panel, two pieces of canvas, neoprene or other suitable material, an elastic band, a securing strap and stitching to hold each element in place. The two pieces of canvas or other suitable material make up a “cup” and a “base” for holding a typical pod.

The cup is affixed to the back panel by means of an elastic band or substantially similar device. The base is affixed in place to the back panel by means of stitches or other similar device. The securing strap holds the elastic band near to the back panel.

The cup is designed in such a way that it “cups” a rounded-end of a pod sufficiently so as to provide frictional force to hold the rounded-end of a pod in place. The base is designed so as to permanently hold the opening top of a pod in place when sufficient opposing pressure is supplied by means of the elastic strap. In alternative embodiments, the base may also be designed so that it is not permanently held in place, but it also equipped with an elastic strap for providing tensile force against the cup.

A user inserting a pod into the apparatus first inserts the pod, rounded-end first, into the cup of the pod holder. The user applies sufficient force so as to stretch the elastic allowing the base of the pod to be inserted into the base of the pod holder.

Once the base of the pod (the end capable of being opened in the preferred embodiment) is within the base of the pod holder, the user of this apparatus ceases to provide force to stretch the elastic and the pod is held in place by means of the force applied by the elastic strap.

To remove a pod from the pod holder, a user need only apply sufficient force opposing the elastic strap and away from the pod holder base. The cup of the pod holder will then move, opposed by the elastic strap, away from the pod holder base. Once the pod is moved away from the base sufficiently, a user may pull outward, away from the pod holder, thereby gaining access, using only one hand, to the pod and the paintballs contained therein.

The preferred embodiment of the present invention provides numerous benefits over the prior art. It provides an apparatus whereby a user may gain access to pods quickly and with the use of only one hand. The speed at which a user may access pods is substantially faster than the prior art methods. Furthermore, no straps or other mechanisms for holding the pod in place fall into the way of a user grasping for the pod. The speed to “load” the pod into the harness is also much faster than in prior embodiments. There is less material used in this apparatus, it is therefore cheaper to manufacture and ship.

The novel features which are characteristic of the invention, both as to structure and method of the operation thereof, together with further objects and advantages thereof, will be understood from the following description, considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which the preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood, however, that the drawings are for the purpose of illustration and description only, and they are not intended as a definition of the limits of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective depiction of a pod holder.

FIG. 2 is a perspective depiction of an alternative embodiment pod holder.

FIG. 3 is a perspective depiction of an alternative embodiment pod holder.

FIG. 4 is a top plan depiction of a pod holder.

FIG. 5 is a perspective depiction of a pod being inserted into a pod holder.

FIG. 6 is a side view depiction of a pod being held by a pod holder.

FIG. 7 is a top plan depiction of a pod being held by a pod holder.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Turning first to FIG. 1, a perspective view of the preferred embodiment of the pod holder is depicted. The pod holder is mounted in this example, on a portion of a pod holder back piece 10. In alternative embodiments, the pod holder may be mounted individually or in groups by means of straps or clothing to any part of a player's body, gun or other equipment. However, in the prior art, pod holders are typically mounted, using a harness, to the back of a player.

A harness typically consists of a belt or vest worn by a player. The harness may have additional pockets and storage areas dedicated to additional elements, such as CO2, goggles, binoculars and other elements useful during a paintball match. In the preferred embodiment, pod holders are mounted on the lower back of players for ease of storage and to avoid the pods being held interfering with player movement, aiming and shooting.

The pod holder back piece 10 portion depicted is typically made of neoprene or canvas, secured around a player's waste by means of Velcro®, zippers or other straps as a portion of a larger harness. Several pod holders may be mounted next to each other along the pod backpiece 10. The backpiece would then provide access to a multiplicity of pods. Only one pod holder is depicted here for purposes of simplicity in description.

Still referring to FIG. 1, the base 12 of the pod holder is depicted. The base 12 provides a stop against which the pod may be held. In the preferred embodiment, the base is made of canvas or neoprene. In alternative embodiments, the base may be made of plastic or steel or any other material sufficiently capable of being hardened and able to hold a plastic pod in place.

Also depicted is the cup 14. The cup 14 is also made of neoprene or canvas. In alternative embodiments, it may be made of plastic or other material capable of being hardened and able to hold a plastic pod in place. The cup of the preferred embodiment is designed in such a way as to snuggly fit the rounded base of a pod designed for holding paintballs.

Current pods resemble test-tubes. They have a flip top and a rounded base. They are typically made of clear plastic so as to provide visual confirmation that paintballs are held within the pod. They are sufficiently large so as to hold many paint balls, but sufficiently small so as to provide for ease of holding and grasping with one hand.

The cup 14 and base 12 are designed so as to fit current pods. In later embodiments of the invention, advances in technology may alter the shape and structure of pods. The apparatus of the present invention may be altered so as to accommodate these changes, for example, by altering the shape of the cup 14 or base 12.

Also depicted in FIG. 1 are the retaining strap 18 and the elastic strap 16. The elastic strap 16 is used to provide counter-force for motion of the cup 14 away from the base 12. This elastic strap 16 is affixed in such a way that a pod would not fit within the cup 14 and base 12 were the strap not elastic. The elastic strap 16 is capable of stretching so as to accommodate, while still provided sufficient counter-tension, a pod between the cup 14 and the base 16.

The elastic strap 16, as can be understood, need not actually be made of elastic. It may be made of any material that may provide elastic properties of stretch and shape and length retention. The elastic strap 16 may be made of any material capable of providing counter-tension to a pod placed within the pod holder. This provides the primary mechanism retaining the pod within the pod holder.

The elastic strap 16 is affixed to the cup 14. In the preferred embodiment, the elastic strap 16 is affixed to the cup 14 by means of stitching. The stitching is double or triple stitched so as to ensure that the cup 14 does not come loose from the elastic strap 16. The elastic strap is also affixed at the opposite end to the pod holder back piece 10. In the preferred embodiment, the elastic strap is affixed by means of stitching. In alternative embodiments, any means for holding the elastic strap 16 in place may be used.

The elastic strap 16 is held closely to the pod holder back piece 10 by means of a retaining strap 18. The retaining strap lies over the elastic strap 16, between the cup 14 and the base 12. The retaining strap 18 is not made of elastic in the preferred embodiment. It is designed in such a way as to allow the elastic strap 16 to expand and contract while still securing the elastic strap 16 close to the pod holder back piece 10. This helps the pod holder maintain the pod securely.

It is to be understood, however, that substantially similar apparatus may be created through the use of any number of similar pieces. A base 12 may be made of plastic, while a cup 14 is made up of neoprene. The elastic strap 16 may be a series of pieces of rubber or neoprene. The retaining strap 18 may be a piece of metal or plastic, affixed to the pod holder back piece 10. In any apparatus whereby a pod is restrained by means of two opposing ends, utilizing opposing tensions to hold the pod in place, the present invention is embodied.

Referring to FIG. 2, an alternative embodiment is depicted. In this embodiment, both the cup 14 and the base 12 may be affixed to the pod holder back piece 10 by means of elastic straps 22 and 24, attached to both the cup 14 and the base 12, respectively. In this embodiment, retaining straps 17 and 19, are used for both of the elastic straps 22 and 24. Both the cup 14 and the base 12 are movable by opposing the force provided by the respective elastic straps 16 and are designed so as to provide opposing force to hold a pod between the two through opposing tensile forces.

In yet another alternative embodiment, depicted in FIG. 3, a single elastic strap 26, and none, one or more retaining straps, such as those depicted in elements 21 and 23, may be used. In this embodiment, the single elastic strap 26 is fixedly attached in the middle, between the cup 14 and the base 12. The elastic strap 26 may then provide tensile force in opposition to both the cup 14 and the base 12. None,one or two retaining straps, such as those depicted in elements 21 and 23, may be used to retain the single elastic strap 26 while it provides its tensile force for both the cup 14 and the base 12.

Referring next to FIG. 4, a top plan view of the preferred embodiment is depicted showing the pod holder back piece 10, the base 12 and the cup 14. The elastic strap 16 and the retaining strap 18 are also depicted. The cup 14, as can be more clearly seen in this figure, is affixed, only, to the elastic strap 16. In alternative embodiments, a portion of the pod holder back piece 10 may be elastic or may be otherwise used in place of the elastic strap 16. In these embodiments, the cup 14 is affixed directly to the pod holder back piece 10.

Referring now to FIG. 5, a depiction of a pod being put into the pod holder is depicted. The pod 20 is being inserted, as described above, rounded-end 24 first into the cup 14. Pressure is then applied to the pod cap 22 away from the base 12. This pressure stretches the elastic strap 16, while the elastic strap 16 is still held in place by the retaining strap 18. Once sufficient force is applied to the pod cap 22, the pod cap 22 may be inserted into the base 12.

In the preferred embodiment, the rounded-end 24 is first inserted in the cup. It is to be understood that a substantially similar pod holder may employ two elastic straps, one for the cup 14 and the base 12, as described above. Alternatively, the elastic strap 16 may be affixed to the cup 14 and the base 12 respectively. In yet other alternative embodiments, the pod cap 22 may be inserted into a cup 14 (or base 12) first, followed by the rounded-end 24.

FIG. 6 depicts a side-view of the pod, already inserted into the pod holder. The pod holder back piece 10 is depicted, along with the base 12 and the cup 14. The pod 20 is also depicted, along with the pod cap 22. The rounded-end 24 is being held within the cup 14.

As described above, the cup 14 is designed in such a way so as to provide snug fitting to the rounded-end 24 when opposing pressure is applied to the pod 20. The retaining strap 18, retains the elastic strap 16 that provides this opposing pressure. This way, the opposing pressure does not slip to the side or front, thereby ejecting the pod 20 from the pod holder.

In order for a user of the pod holder to gain access to the pod, the user need only apply pressure opposing the pressure provided by the elastic band 16. This pressure is applied against the cup 14 in the preferred embodiment. After sufficient pressure is applied, the pod cap 22 will become sufficiently free of the base 12 so as to be removable.

Referring next to FIG. 7, a top plan view of the pod holder holding a pod 20 is shown. The base 12 of the pod holder and the cup 14 of the pod holder are both still visible. The pod 20 is translucent so as to allow sight of the elastic strap 16 and the retaining strap 18. The base 12 is affixed to the pod holder back piece 10 in the preferred embodiment, by stitches.

The pod harness described improves on the prior art in a number of ways. The first way is that it provides faster access to pods. In some matches, quick access to pods is very important. The pods must be available in a very short period of time. Running out of paintballs mid-skirmish with an opponent assures a certain loss unless additional paintballs can be loaded quickly.

Quick access to paintballs is the reason that paintball pods are designed in the way they are. They are designed to be accessed using one hand, quickly. A user must be able to access the pods in order to load the paint balls into a gun mid-match. The method of this invention provides the quickest possible access while maintaining the pods securely.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the pod holder is mounted with the cup 14 (see FIG. 1) facing upward and the base 12 facing downward on a player's back. The pod holder is mounted to a pod holder back piece 10 that is made up of a belt or vest worn by a player.

In this position, a full pod is grasped by a user by reaching with a hand behind a player's back and grasping the pod. Because the pod is upside down on the players back, the natural way a player grasps the pod is upside down when the pod is behind the player.

The player then applies upward pressure, against the cup 14, thereby freeing the pod 20 (see FIG. 3) from the base 12 as the elastic strap 16 lengthens with pressure from the player. The pod is then held in the player's grasp, upside down. As the player returns the pod to his or her front, the pod is flipped, by motion of the player's arm to be upright. The user may then use the thumb to “flip” open the pod's top and begin dispensing the paintballs into the hopper for holding the paintballs.

The apparatus of this invention provides further improvement over the prior art because it requires less material to manufacture, thereby saving money in the manufacturing process. The loop and strap apparatus of the prior art provide for more material in order to hold the pod in place. By contrast, the pod is only held at its ends in the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

Therefore, the required material to hold a pod in place can be very minimal. A small loop of material, for example, could be used for the cup 14. A plate held in place by any number of means may be used for the base 12. The pictured apparatus utilizes less material, no Velcro® and less stitching (requiring less labor to manufacture) than the apparatus available in the prior art.

Accordingly, a pod holder for a paintball harness is described. It is to be understood that the foregoing description has been made with respect to specific embodiments thereof for illustrative purposes only. The overall spirit and scope of the present invention is limited only by the following claims, as defined in the foregoing description.