Title:
Shoulder Strap With Reinforcing Strip
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Embodiments of padded shoulder straps with reinforcing strip are generally described herein. Other embodiments may be described and claimed.



Inventors:
Quartarone, Frank A. (Phoenix, AR, US)
Application Number:
12/235384
Publication Date:
03/25/2010
Filing Date:
09/22/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/264
International Classes:
A63B55/00; A41F15/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAI, TRI M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KARSTEN MANUFACTURING CORPORATION (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A shoulder strap comprising: a padding strip; two or more bearing straps connected to attachment points at or near each end of the padding strip; and a reinforcing strip connected to the attachment points, the reinforcement strip sitting loosely on top of the padding strip so that tension is applied to the padding strip and the reinforcing strip when a load is applied to the bearing straps.

2. The shoulder strap of claim 1 wherein the padding strip is selected from the group consisting of closed cell foam, open cell foam, memory foam or a laminated foam and fabric combination.

3. The shoulder strap of claim 1 wherein the padding strip is a molded foam having an indentation integrated in a top side, and the reinforcing strip rests loosely in the indentation.

4. The shoulder strap of claim 3, further comprising a plurality of indentations on an underside of the padding strip in a pattern that aids flexibility of the padding strip when the padding strip is bent under a load applied to the bearing straps.

5. The shoulder strap of claim 2, further comprising a securing strip attached to the padding strip approximately perpendicular to each bearing strap at a location near the attachment points for the bearing straps.

6. The shoulder strap of claim 5 wherein the securing strips are nylon webbing.

7. The shoulder strap of claim 1 wherein the reinforcing strip is selected from the group consisting of nylon webbing, leather, synthetic leather, wire framed fabric or plastic.

8. The shoulder strap of claim 1 wherein the reinforcing strip is affixed to the attachment point and is connected to the bearing strap with a lateral lock.

9. The shoulder strap of claim 8, further including a securing strip attached to the padding strip approximately perpendicular to each bearing strap and located between each lateral lock and each nearby end of the padding strip.

10. A shoulder strap for a golf bag comprising: a padding strip; two or more bearing straps connected to attachment points at or near each end of the padding strip; and a reinforcing strip connected to the attachment points, the reinforcement strip sitting loosely on top of the padding strip so that tension is applied to the padding strip and the reinforcing strip when a load is applied to the bearing straps.

11. The shoulder strap of claim 10 wherein the padding strip is selected from the group consisting of closed cell foam, open cell foam, memory foam or a laminated foam and fabric combination.

12. The shoulder strap of claim 10 wherein the padding strip is a molded foam having an indentation integrated in a top side, and the reinforcing strip rests loosely in the indentation.

13. The shoulder strap of claim 10, further comprising a securing strip attached to the padding strip approximately perpendicular to each bearing strap at a location near the attachment points for the bearing straps.

14. The shoulder strap of claim 10 wherein the reinforcing strip is affixed to the attachment point and is connected to the bearing strap with a lateral lock.

15. The shoulder strap of claim 14, further including a securing strip attached to the padding strip approximately perpendicular to each bearing strap and located between each lateral lock and each nearby end of the padding strip.

16. A golf bag comprising: a tubular structure to carry one or more golf clubs; and a shoulder strap comprising: a padding strip; two or more bearing straps connected to attachment points at or near each end of the padding strip; and a reinforcing strip connected to the attachment points, the reinforcement strip sitting loosely on top of the padding strip so that tension is applied to the padding strip and the reinforcing strip when a load is applied to the bearing straps.

17. The golf bag of claim 16 wherein the padding strip is selected from the group consisting of closed cell foam, open cell foam, memory foam or a laminated foam and fabric combination.

18. The golf bag of claim 16 wherein the padding strip is a molded foam having an indentation integrated in a top side, and the reinforcing strip rests loosely in the indentation.

19. The shoulder strap of claim 16, further comprising a securing strip attached to the padding strip approximately perpendicular to each bearing strap at a location near the attachment points for the bearing straps.

20. The shoulder strap of claim 16 wherein the reinforcing strip is affixed to the attachment point and is connected to the bearing strap with a lateral lock.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

This application relates generally to golf equipment, and more particularly, to shoulder straps with reinforcing strip.

BACKGROUND

Many heavy items that are carried over distances by walking individuals include shoulder straps. For items in the higher weight range, such as golf bags, suitcases or computer briefcases, padded shoulder straps are common. Comfort and strength of a padded shoulder strap may be improved through appropriate reinforcement.

DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic of an embodiment of a shoulder strap.

FIG. 2 shows a top view of the shoulder strap of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows a top view of the padded foam component of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is a bottom view of the padded foam component of the embodiment of FIG. 1

FIG. 5 is a side view of the padded foam component of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of an embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 7 is a top assembled view of the embodiment of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 is a bottom assembled view of the embodiment of FIG. 6.

FIG. 9 shows an embodiment of the invention with the reinforcing strip separated.

FIG. 10 shows a cross section of a portion of the embodiment of FIG. 9.

DESCRIPTION

An embodiment of the shoulder strap of the present invention in use is shown in FIG. 1. Padded member (10) sits on the shoulder of an individual (40). Bearing straps (20) are connected to the padded member (10) and are also connected to the load to be carried, such as a golf bag (41) or some other suitable carrying device.

FIG. 2 shows a top view of the embodiment of FIG. 1. The padded member (10) includes a strip(1 1) made of padding material(s) such as foam, a bearing strap (20) extending from each end of the padding strip (11), and a reinforcing strip (30) connecting the interior ends (21) of the bearing strap (20).

One embodiment of the padding strip (11) is shown in FIGS. 3-5. A padding strip (11), about 8 to 12 inches (200 mm to 300 mm) long and 3 to 4 inches (75 mm to 100 mm) wide, is formed with a tapered thickness of about 1 inch (25 mm) in the center and a quarter inch (6 mm) at each end. The apparatus and articles of manufacture described herein is not limited in this regard. On the top (12) of the strip (1) is a formed indentation (13) approximately the width of a reinforcing strip described below. The underside (14) of the padding strip (11), which is worn against the shoulder of the individual, is formed with a pattern of indentations (15) that increase the flexibility of the padding strip (11) to bend over the shoulder of the individual (40). FIG. 5 shows a side view of the padding strip (11). Although the figures may depict a particular pattern of indentations, the apparatus and articles of manufacture described herein may include other suitable patterns of indentations.

An embodiment implementing the padding strip (11) of FIGS. 3-5 can be seen in exploded view in FIG. 6. Bearing straps (20) are firmly affixed to each end of padding strip (11). These bearing straps (20) are attached at their external ends (21) to the load to be carried, such as a golf bag. Bearing straps (20) may be made of a variety of known materials, such as nylon webbing, leather or synthetic leather, or any other belting material. As shown in FIGS. 6-8, the bearing straps (20) are affixed to the padding strip (11) by stitching or some other method at contact points (23). To further secure the bearing straps (20) to the padding strip (11), securing strips (25), which may be made of nylon webbing or other appropriate material(s), are affixed crosswise across and approximately perpendicular to the bearing straps (20) near the contact points (23). In the embodiment shown, the securing strips (25) are sewn to the padding strip (11) at securing attachment points (26).

The interior ends (27) of the bearing straps (20) are connected to each other by a reinforcing strip (30). In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 6-8, the reinforcing strip (30) may be a fabric strip that fits in the indentation (13) on the top of padding strip (11). The reinforcing strip (30) may be attached to the padding strip (11) at contact points (23) where the bearing straps (20) are also attached to the padding strip (11).

In one example, the reinforcing strip (30) may sit loosely on top of the padding strip (11) and resting in the indentation (13) if the padding strip (11) includes such an indentation. When a load, such as a golf bag, is applied to the bearing straps (20), the padding strip (11) flexes and bends over the shoulder of the individual (40). For example, the weight of the bag causes the padding strip (11) to stretch between the two contact points (26) and the reinforcing strip (30) becomes taut, to reinforce the padding strip (11) in tension and spread the load weight more evenly across the shoulder of the individual (40).

The padding strip (11) may be closed cell foam, open cell foam, memory foam, or a laminated foam/fabric combination. The padding strip (11) may include other materials to pad a shoulder of the individual (40) against the weight of a golf bag. As illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, padding strip (11) may also incorporate an indented portion (13) on the top surface (12) to constrain lateral movement of the reinforcing strip (30) in no-load conditions and under load. The apparatus and articles of manufacture described herein are not limited in this regard. For example, other ways to constrain the loose-fitting reinforcing strip are available.

The reinforcing strip (30) may be made of any flexible material with suitable tensile strength, including fabric, leather, nylon webbing, wire frame, plastic, fiberglass, metal wire, metal cord, thread or netting. Variations in the width of the reinforcing strip (30) are also possible. In some embodiments, the reinforcing strip (30) may be configured with an opening (31) in the center, as in FIGS. 9 and 10, to steer the weight distribution to the outside of the assembly for better user comfort. If a center opening is used, it may be advantageous to configure any indentation in the top surface of the padding strip so that a protrusion (32) of material extends through the opening. Another embodiment may include a decorative cap over the reinforcing strip (30) to hide the reinforcing strip (30) from view.

As shown in the embodiments in FIGS. 2 and 6, lateral locks (28) may be used to connect the reinforcing strip (30) to the bearing straps (20) at each end. Also in this illustrated embodiment, the reinforcing strip (30) and the securing strips (25) are stitched to the padding strip (11). The apparatus and articles of manufacture described herein are not limited in this regard. For example, other means of connection may be used between the bearing strips (20) and the reinforcing strip (30), and fastenings other than stitching may secure these bearing and/or reinforcing strips (20 and 30, respectively) to the padding strip (11).

Although certain illustrative embodiments and methods have been disclosed herein, it will be apparent from the foregoing disclosure to those skilled in the art that variations and modifications of such embodiments and methods may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is intended that the invention should be limited only to the extent required by the appended claims and the rules and principles of applicable law.