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Title:
EQUIPMENT STORAGE DEVICE WITH INTEGRATED COOLER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/109654
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
According to one embodiment, an equipment storage device (5) includes a refreshment portion (10) comprising an insulated cooler (70). The equipment storage device also includes an equipment portion (12) coupled to the refreshment portion. The equipment portion defines a space or compartment (80) for receiving at least a portion of equipment (27). Further, the equipment portion at least partially covers the portion of equipment when received within the space. Additionally, the equipment storage device includes a user attachment portion (120) coupled to the refreshment portion. The user attachment portion includes straps (124) for securing the device to a user's body. In one implementation, the device includes a pouch (140) coupled to the refreshment portion. The pouch is configured to receive the equipment portion when the portion of equipment is not received within the space.

Inventors:
LOPEZ, Dennis (3770 Autumnwood Drive, Ammon, Idaho, 83406, US)
Application Number:
US2011/027079
Publication Date:
September 09, 2011
Filing Date:
March 03, 2011
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
LOPEZ, Dennis (3770 Autumnwood Drive, Ammon, Idaho, 83406, US)
Foreign References:
US20060090975A12006-05-04
US20050263527A12005-12-01
JP2559235Y21998-01-14
KR200291309Y1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MASSEY, Bryan, J. et al. (8 East Broadway, Suite 600Salt Lake City, Utah, 84111, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. An equipment storage device, comprising:

a refreshment portion comprising an insulated cooler;

an equipment portion coupled to the refreshment portion, the equipment portion defining a space for receiving at least a portion of equipment, wherein the equipment portion at least partially covers the portion of equipment when received within the space; and

a user attachment portion coupled to the refreshment portion, the user attachment portion comprising straps for securing the device to a user's body.

2. The device of claim 1, further comprising a pouch coupled to the refreshment portion, the pouch configured to receive the equipment portion when the portion of equipment is not received within the space.

3. The device of claim 1, further comprising a secondary equipment portion movably coupled to the refreshment portion, the secondary equipment portion defining a compartment for receiving a remaining portion of the equipment.

4. The device of claim 3, wherein the portion of equipment receivable within the space comprises a pole and reel of a fishing rod, and the remaining portion of the equipment comprises a handle of the fishing rod, and wherein the space is a substantially narrow and elongate space.

5. The device of claim 3, wherein the equipment portion extends from a side of the refreshment portion and the secondary equipment portion is positionable over a top of the refreshment portion.

6. The device of claim 3, wherein the secondary equipment portion comprises a lid, the secondary equipment portion being pivotable relative to the refreshment portion to cover and uncover an opening of the insulated cooler with the lid.

7. The device of claim 3, further comprising an expandable portion coupled to the secondary equipment portion such that the secondary equipment portion is positioned between the expandable portion and the refreshment portion, the expandable portion comprising a compartment that is expandable from a first volume to a second volume.

8. The device of claim 3, wherein the straps comprise waist straps for extending about a waist of a user.

9. The device of claim 8, further comprising a shoulder strap removably attachable to the waist straps.

10. The device of claim 3, wherein the secondary equipment portion comprises an opening in a side of the secondary equipment portion through which the remaining portion of the equipment is extendable.

1 1. The device of claim 2, wherein the pouch extends along a rear side of the refreshment portion between the straps.

12. The device of claim 2, wherein the equipment portion is fixedly attached to the refreshment portion, and wherein the equipment portion is deformable to wrap at least partially about the refreshment portion and into the pouch.

13. The device of claim 1, wherein the insulated cooler comprises a rigid box-like structure.

14. The device of claim 1, wherein the insulated cooler is covered by a flexible fabric and the equipment portion is comprised of a flexible fabric.

15. The device of claim 1, further comprising at least two couplings configured to receive corresponding couplings of a pair of suspenders.

16. A recreational equipment apparatus for transporting recreational equipment and wearable by a user during a recreational activity corresponding with the recreational equipment, comprising:

a refreshment storage portion comprising an insulated cooler having an open top, the refreshment storage portion having a top coextensive with the open top of the cooler, opposing front and rear sides substantially transverse to the top, and opposing sides substantially transverse to the top and opposing front and rear sides;

a recreational equipment storage portion secured to one of the opposing sides and extending in a direction substantially transverse to the one of the opposing sides, the first recreational equipment storage portion comprising a first equipment compartment for storing a first portion of a piece of recreational equipment;

a lid pivotally coupled to the top of the refreshment storage portion and pivotable between a closed position substantially sealing the open top of the cooler and an open position providing access to the cooler through the open top, wherein the lid comprises a second recreational equipment compartment for storing a second portion of the piece of recreational equipment when the lid is in a closed position;

at least two spaced-apart straps extending from the rear side of the refreshment portion, the straps being removably engageable to form a loop about the body of a user; and

a sleeve coupled to the rear side of the refreshment portion between the at least two spaced-apart straps, the sleeve defining a space for storing the equipment storage portion when the first equipment compartment is not storing the first portion of the piece of recreational equipment.

17. A method for transporting, storing, and supporting objects associated with a recreational activity, comprising:

providing an equipment storage device comprising a refreshment portion having an insulated cooler, an equipment portion coupled to the refreshment portion, the equipment portion defining a first equipment compartment, a lid coupled to the refreshment portion, the lid comprising a second equipment compartment, a user attachment portion coupled to the refreshment portion, and a pouch coupled to the refreshment portion;

positioning a first portion of a piece of recreational equipment into the first equipment compartment;

with the lid sealing an opening of the insulated cooler, positioning a second portion of the piece of recreational equipment into the second equipment compartment such that the lid is positioned between the second portion of the piece of recreational equipment and the opening of the insulated cooler;

with the lid sealing the opening of the insulated cooler, removing the first portion of the piece of recreational equipment from the first equipment compartment and removing the second portion of the piece of recreational equipment from the second equipment compartment;

after removing the first and second portions of the piece of recreational equipment, inserting the equipment portion into the pouch; and

engaging the user attachment portion to secure the equipment storage device to a user such that the pouch and equipment portion inserted therein are between the user and the refreshment portion.

18. The method of claim 17, further comprising opening the lid to access the insulated cooler while the equipment storage device is secured to the user.

19. The method of claim 17, wherein while the first portion of the piece of recreational equipment is positioned into the first equipment compartment and the second portion of the piece of recreational equipment is positioned into the second equipment compartment, the method further comprising engaging the user attachment portion to secure the equipment storage device about a shoulder of the user.

Description:
EQUIPMENT STORAGE DEVICE WITH INTEGRATED COOLER CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This patent application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/339,566, filed March 5, 2010, and U.S. Utility Patent Application No. 13/029,598, filed February 17, 2011, which are incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD

The present disclosure relates to a device for storing equipment, and more particularly to a transportable device for storing sporting equipment and cooling food items.

BACKGROUND

Participants in many recreational activities (e.g., sporting activities) requiring equipment

(e.g., sporting equipment) often desire to transport refreshments and accessories along with the equipment necessary for the activity. Currently, such participants usually are relegated to carrying separate bags, cases, or containers for each of the equipment, accessories, and refreshments. Transportation of separate bags to recreational activities can be tedious and burdensome to the participant, particularly when the recreational activity involves travel over relatively large distances. For example, a fisherman typically desires quick and easy access to a fishing pole, accessories (e.g., tackle and personal items), and refreshments while fishing.

However, fishermen often traverse long distances between fishing locations or holes, which can position themselves at a considerable distance away from an original location. Accordingly, leaving accessories and refreshments at the original location is not a desirable option should the fisherman desire quick and easy access to the accessories and refreshment. Thus, in order for a fisherman to maintain quick and easy access to equipment, accessories, and refreshments, the fisherman is required to pick up, carry, and set down separate bags or containers each time the fisherman wishes to move to a new location. The same difficulty applies to activities other than fishing, such as skiing, hiking, hunting, skateboarding, photography, and the like.

Associated with the transportation and storage of refreshments for consumption during recreational activities is the inability of some equipment bags with refreshment space to adequately maintain the refreshments at a cool temperature. For example, some equipment bags include non-insulated pockets that may contain refreshments, but do not act to keep the refreshments cool. Further, such pockets typically are not rigid, and thus may fail to adequately protect or prevent damage to refreshments contained in the pockets.

Additionally, many bags, cases, and containers associated with recreational equipment are not designed to be worn by a participant while participating in the corresponding recreational activity. For example, many conventional cases for carrying a fishing pole to a fishing location typically are left behind (e.g., at an unpacking location) after the fishing pole is removed and while the fisherman fishes. However, some cases for transporting fishing poles are described as being wearable by the fisherman after the fishing pole is removed and during fishing activities. Although these latter cases may be wearable (e.g., convertible to be worn) by a user while fishing, the cases are bulky, cumbersome, uncomfortable, and detract from the enjoyment of fishing.

Further, some allegedly wearable fishing pole cases are not outfitted to be worn on a body of the fisherman in a hands-free manner while storing a fishing pole and while the fisherman is hiking to a fishing location. For example, one known fishing pole case must be held by the hand of a fisherman while carrying the case and stored fishing pole to a fishing location because the case does not include a shoulder strap or other connector for facilitating attachment to the body, as opposed to the hands, of the fisherman.

SUMMARY

From the foregoing discussion, it should be apparent that a need exists for an equipment storage device that overcomes one or more of the above-mentioned disadvantages of known equipment storage devices. Accordingly, the subject matter of the present disclosure has been developed to provide various embodiments of an equipment storage device that would allow for easy storage of one or more pieces of equipment necessary for a recreational activity, includes a food storage space that maintains refreshments at a cool temperature, is transportable on the body of a user in a hand-free manner prior to, during, and after the recreational activity, and/or is wearable by a user during the recreational activity in a comfortable and convenient manner.

According to one embodiment, an equipment storage device includes a refreshment portion comprising an insulated cooler. The equipment storage device also includes an equipment portion coupled to the refreshment portion. The equipment portion defines a space for receiving at least a portion of equipment. Further, the equipment portion at least partially covers the portion of equipment when received within the space. Additionally, the equipment storage device includes a user attachment portion coupled to the refreshment portion. The user attachment portion includes straps for securing the device to a user's body. In one

implementation, the device includes a pouch coupled to the refreshment portion. The pouch is configured to receive the equipment portion when the portion of equipment is not received or stored within the space.

In some implementations, the device further includes a secondary equipment portion movably coupled to the refreshment portion. The secondary equipment portion defines a compartment for receiving a remaining portion of the equipment. The portion of equipment receivable within the space can be a pole and reel of a fishing rod. The remaining portion of the equipment can be a handle of the fishing rod. The space can be a substantially narrow and elongate space. The equipment portion can extend from a side of the refreshment portion and the secondary equipment portion can be positionable over a top of the refreshment portion. The secondary equipment portion can include a lid and the secondary equipment portion can be pivotable relative to the refreshment portion to cover and uncover an opening of the insulated cooler with the lid.

According to some implementations, the device includes an expandable portion coupled to the secondary equipment portion such that the secondary equipment portion is positioned between the expandable portion and the refreshment portion. The expandable portion includes a compartment that is expandable from a first volume to a second volume. The straps of the device may include waist straps for extending about a waist of a user. In certain

implementations, the device further includes a shoulder strap removably attachable to the waist straps. The secondary equipment portion may include an opening in a side of the secondary equipment portion through which the remaining portion of the equipment is extendable.

In certain implementations, the pouch extends along a rear side of the refreshment portion between the straps. The equipment portion can be fixedly attached to the refreshment portion. The equipment portion may also be deformable to wrap at least partially about the refreshment portion and into the pouch. The insulated cooler can be a rigid box-like structure. The insulated cooler is covered by a flexible fabric and the equipment portion is comprised of a flexible fabric. In some implementations, the device includes at least two couplings configured to receive corresponding couplings of a pair of suspenders.

According to yet another embodiment, a recreational equipment apparatus for transporting recreational equipment and wearable by a user during a recreational activity corresponding with the recreational equipment includes a refreshment storage portion. The refreshment storage portion includes an insulated cooler having an open top. The refreshment storage portion may also have a top coextensive with the open top of the cooler, opposing front and rear sides substantially transverse to the top, and opposing sides substantially transverse to the top and opposing front and rear sides. The apparatus also includes a recreational equipment storage portion secured to one of the opposing sides and extending in a direction substantially transverse to the one of the opposing sides. The first recreational equipment storage portion includes a first equipment compartment for storing a first portion of a piece of recreational equipment. The apparatus further includes a lid pivotally coupled to the top of the refreshment storage portion and pivotable between a closed position substantially sealing the open top of the cooler and an open position providing access to the cooler through the open top. The lid includes a second recreational equipment compartment for storing a second portion of the piece of recreational equipment when the lid is in a closed position. Additionally, the apparatus includes at least two spaced-apart straps extending from the rear side of the refreshment portion. The straps are removably engageable to form a loop about the body of a user. The apparatus also includes a sleeve coupled to the rear side of the refreshment portion between the at least two spaced-apart straps. The sleeve defines a space for storing the equipment storage portion when the first equipment compartment is not storing the first portion of the piece of recreational equipment.

In another embodiment, a method for transporting, storing, and supporting objects associated with a recreational activity includes providing an equipment storage device. The equipment storage device includes a refreshment portion having an insulated cooler, an equipment portion coupled to the refreshment portion. The equipment portion defines a first equipment compartment. The device also includes a lid coupled to the refreshment portion where the lid includes a second equipment compartment, a user attachment portion coupled to the refreshment portion, and a pouch coupled to the refreshment portion. The method includes positioning a first portion of a piece of recreational equipment into the first equipment compartment. With the lid sealing an opening of the insulated cooler, the method includes positioning a second portion of the piece of recreational equipment into the second equipment compartment such that the lid is positioned between the second portion of the piece of recreational equipment and the opening of the insulated cooler. Additionally, with the lid sealing the opening of the insulated cooler, the method includes removing the first portion of the piece of recreational equipment from the first equipment compartment and removing the second portion of the piece of recreational equipment from the second equipment compartment. After removing the first and second portions of the piece of recreational equipment, the method includes inserting the equipment portion into the pouch. The method also includes engaging the user attachment portion to secure the equipment storage device to a user such that the pouch and equipment portion inserted therein are between the user and the refreshment portion.

In certain implementations, the method includes opening the lid to access the insulated cooler while the equipment storage device is secured to the user. While the first portion of the piece of recreational equipment is positioned into the first equipment compartment and the second portion of the piece of recreational equipment is positioned into the second equipment compartment, the method may further include engaging the user attachment portion to secure the equipment storage device about a shoulder of the user. Reference throughout this specification to features, advantages, or similar language does not imply that all of the features and advantages that may be realized with the subject matter of the present disclosure should be or are in any single embodiment of the subject matter. Rather, language referring to the features and advantages is understood to mean that a specific feature, advantage, or characteristic described in connection with an embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the subject matter of the present disclosure. Thus, discussion of the features and advantages, and similar language, throughout this specification may, but do not necessarily, refer to the same embodiment.

The described features, structures, advantages, and/or characteristics of the subject matter of the present disclosure may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more embodiments and/or implementations. In the following description, numerous specific details are provided to impart a thorough understanding of embodiments of the subject matter of the present disclosure. One skilled in the relevant art will recognize that the subject matter of the present disclosure may be practiced without one or more of the specific features, details, components, materials, and/or methods of a particular embodiment or implementation. In other instances, additional features and advantages may be recognized in certain embodiments and/or implementations that may not be present in all embodiments or implementations. Further, in some instances, well-known structures, materials, or operations are not shown or described in detail to avoid obscuring aspects of the subject matter of the present disclosure. The features and advantages of the subject matter of the present disclosure will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the practice of the subject matter as set forth hereinafter.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In order that the advantages of the subject matter of the present disclosure will be readily understood, a more particular description of the subject matter briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments that are illustrated in the appended drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the subject matter of the present disclosure and are not therefore to be considered to be limiting of its scope, the subject matter will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings, in which:

Figure 1 is a frontal perspective view of an equipment storage device according to one embodiment;

Figure 2 is a rear perspective view of the equipment storage device of Figure 1 ;

Figure 3 is a side view of the equipment storage device of Figure 1 ; Figure 4 is a top perspective view of the equipment storage device of Figure 1 shown with a cooler cover opened;

Figure 5 is a top perspective view of the equipment storage device of Figure 1 shown with an expandable storage compartment in an expanded state;

Figure 6 is a cross-sectional side view of an equipment storage device showing the relative positioning between a piece of sporting equipment stored by the device and a refreshment cooler contained within the device according to one embodiment; and

Figure 7 is frontal perspective view of an equipment storage device for storing an alternative piece of equipment according to one embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference throughout this specification to "one embodiment," "an embodiment," or similar language means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the subject matter of the present disclosure. Appearances of the phrases "in one embodiment," "in an embodiment," and similar language throughout this specification may, but do not necessarily, all refer to the same embodiment. Similarly, the use of the term "implementation" means an implementation having a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with one or more embodiments of the subject matter of the present disclosure, however, absent an express correlation to indicate otherwise, an implementation may be associated with one or more embodiments.

As shown in Figure 1, one embodiment of an equipment storage device 5 includes a refreshment portion 10 coupled to a recreational equipment portion 12. Generally, the refreshment portion 10 defines a refreshment compartment 50 (see Figures 4 and 6) for storing refreshments (e.g., food and beverages 28). The refreshment compartment 50 is defined between four side panels 52, a bottom panel 54, and a top cover or lid 56 defined by an auxiliary equipment portion 14. The top cover 56 covers the refreshment compartment 50 in a closed position (see, e.g., Figure 1) and allows access to the refreshment compartment in an open position (see, e.g., Figure 4). Further, the top cover 56 is removably securable to the four side panels 52 in the closed position to seal, or otherwise prevent access to, the refreshment compartment 50. In the illustrated embodiment, the top cover 56 is removably securable to the four side panels 52 via a zipper mechanism 18 having two opposing strips 60, 62 each secured to opposing edges of the side panels 52 and top cover 56 (see Figure 4). The zipper mechanism 18 includes a slider 64 that is movable along the opposing zipper strips 60, 62 of the zipper mechanism 18 to engage and disengage mateable teeth of the zipper strips, as is commonly known in the art, to respectively seal and unseal the top cover from the side panels.

Preferably, the refreshment compartment 50 is insulated to maintain refreshments stored in the compartment at a cool temperature. Accordingly, referring to the illustrated embodiment of Figures 4 and 6, the refreshment portion 10 includes a cooler 70 positioned within the refreshment compartment 50. In certain implementations, the cooler 70 is a rigid container or box-like structure defining an interior space 72 within which refreshments, such as refreshments 28 of Figure 6, are positionable. However, in other implementations, the cooler 70 can be at least partially flexible (e.g., collapsible) without departing from the essence of the subject matter of the present disclosure. For some flexible cooler implementations, the cooler 70 can be integrated into the sidewalls 52 and bottom wall 54 such that the sidewalls 52 and bottom wall 54 include inner and outer fabric layers between which a flexible insulation layer is positioned. In certain implementations, the cooler 70 is easily removable from the refreshment portion 10 for cleaning and/or other desired uses, and easily reinsertable back into the refreshment portion. The cooler 70 is configured to receive a heat absorber, such as ice, an ice pack, refrigerant (e.g., gel), or liquid designed to keep cool food or beverages within the cooler.

Preferably, the shape and size of the interior space 72 of the cooler 70 corresponds with the shape and size of the refreshment compartment 50. The cooler 70 includes four sidewalls 74, a bottom wall 76, and an open top 78. The sidewalls 74 and bottom wall 76 provide insulation to resist the transfer of heat from outside of the interior space 72 to within the interior space. In certain implementations, the sidewalls 74 and bottom wall 76 are made from a polymer with a thickness sufficient to effectively insulate the interior space 72. For example, in some implementations, the sidewalls 74 and bottom wall 76 may be made from a polyurethane rigid panel, polystyrene foam board, and/or other similar insulating material. In some

implementations, the sidewalls 74 and bottom wall 76 include an inner and outer semi-insulating layer made from a first material, such as a hard plastic, and an insulation layer made from a hard or soft insulating material between the inner and outer layers. Additionally, the top cover 56 can be made from an insulation material to resist the transfer of heat from outside of the interior space 72, through the open top 78, and into the interior space when in the closed position. In certain implementations, the cooler 70 is removable from the refreshment compartment 50 for cleaning or for other use.

The device 5 may additionally include a front pocket 1 1 secured to a front side panel 52 of the refreshment portion 10. The front pocket 11 can have any of various shapes and be accessible via an opening that is closable via an attachment mechanism, such as zipper mechanism 21. The front pocket 1 1 can be used to store any of various objects, accessories, and/or personal items.

The recreational equipment portion 12 is configured to receive and retain one or more pieces of recreational equipment (e.g., sporting equipment). Generally, the recreational equipment portion 12 has a shape corresponding with a shape of the recreational equipment to be retained within the recreational equipment portion. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, the recreational equipment portion 12 has a substantially elongate shape to receive and retain a fishing rod. Alternatively, the recreational equipment portion of the storage device can be shaped differently depending on the type of recreational equipment being stored. For example, as shown in Figure 7, a storage device 105 includes a recreational equipment portion 112 and an auxiliary recreational equipment portion 114 shaped to receive a tennis, racquetball, badminton, and/or other type of racket. The recreational equipment portion 1 12 defines a compartment having the shape of a shaft and handle of a racket and the auxiliary recreational equipment portion 1 14 defines a compartment having the shape of a head of the racket. It is recognized that the recreational equipment portion described herein can have any of various shapes

corresponding with any of variously-shaped recreational or non-recreational equipment without departing from the essence of the present disclosure.

Referring back to Figure 1, the recreational equipment portion 12 includes an opening 17 that is selectively closable and openable via an attachment mechanism, such as a zipper mechanism 82. The opening 17 can be opened to gain access to a recreational equipment compartment 80 defined within the recreational equipment portion 12. Once accessible, a piece of recreational equipment, such as a fishing rod, can be placed within the compartment 80 for transportation purposes prior to use, or removed from the compartment 80 for use following transportation. When the recreational equipment is removed for use or stored for transportation, the opening 17 can be closed via engagement of the attachment mechanism. To facilitate retention of the equipment within the compartment 80 during transportation or storage, the recreational equipment portion 12 may include opposing tabs 84 on each side of the recreational equipment portion. The tabs 84 are securable to each other, such as via a snap button 85, Velcro®, or other attachment mechanism, to relieve at least some of the pressure a stored piece of equipment may impart on the zipper mechanism 82 during transportation of the equipment

(see Figure 4). Additionally, the tabs 84 help to cover or protect the equipment if a portion of the equipment extends out of the compartment 80 and into an auxiliary compartment above the refreshment portion 10. In certain embodiments, the recreational equipment portion 12 may include other compartments in addition to the recreational equipment compartment 80. For example, the recreational equipment portion 12 may include an accessories compartment that is accessible by opening a flap 13 formed in a sidewall of the equipment portion (see Figure 1). The flap 13 may be openable and closable via an attachment mechanism, such as zipper mechanism 22. The accessories compartment may be open to or partitioned from (e.g., via an internal wall) the recreational equipment compartment 80. When the recreational equipment is removed from the recreational equipment portion 12, the accessories compartment can be used to store any of various accessories as desired by a user. Even when the recreational equipment portion 12 is stored in the storage pouch or sleeve 140, as will be described in more detail below, the flap 13 of the accessories compartment remains accessible to a user (e.g., is not stored within the sleeve 140) for the storage of accessories.

The equipment storage device 5 may also include an auxiliary recreational equipment portion 14 positioned adjacent (e.g., above) the refreshment portion 10. The auxiliary recreational equipment portion 14 is movable (e.g., pivotable) relative to the refreshment portion 10 to open and close the refreshment compartment 50. More specifically, the auxiliary equipment portion 14 includes the top cover 56 of the refreshment compartment 50, which simultaneously acts as a bottom panel of the auxiliary equipment portion. The auxiliary equipment portion 14 is coupled to the refreshment portion 10 along a back side panel 52 of the refreshment portion 10. The coupling 88 between the auxiliary equipment portion 14 and refreshment portion 10 facilitates pivoting of the auxiliary equipment portion relative to the refreshment portion. In certain embodiments, the coupling between the auxiliary equipment portion 14 and refreshment portion 10 is simply a sewed seam between the portions. In alternative embodiments, a length of material, such as fabric or plastic, is positioned between the two portions 10, 14 to facilitate repeated pivotal movement between the two portions.

The auxiliary equipment portion 14 defines an auxiliary equipment compartment 93 sized and shaped to receive a portion of equipment stored within the main recreational equipment compartment 80. Generally, the auxiliary equipment compartment 93 is defined between the top cover 56 (which acts as a bottom cover for the compartment 93), sidewalls 92, and a top cover 94. The top cover 94 is movable relative to the sidewalls 92 to open and close a top opening to the compartment 93. In a similar manner as discussed above, the top cover 94 can be attachable to the sidewalls 92 to close the top opening and partially detachable to the sidewalls to open the top opening via an attachment mechanism, such as a zipper mechanism 19. At least a portion of a sidewall 92 facing the recreational equipment compartment 80 is open to receive a portion of equipment stored within the compartment 80. As shown in Figure 6, the sidewall 92 facing the compartment 80 includes an opening 96 through which a handle 28 of a fishing rod 27 passes through when stored in the auxiliary equipment compartment. In this manner, when stored by the device 5, the handle 28 is positioned above the refreshment portion 10, but does not conflict with the sealing engagement between the top cover 56 and the sidewalls 52 of the refreshment portion. The auxiliary equipment compartment 93 is accessible by detaching and pivoting the top cover 94 from the sidewalls 92 to expose the compartment 93. Accordingly, when the fishing rod 27 is to be removed from the device 5, the auxiliary equipment compartment 93 can be accessed and the handle 28 removed without opening the refreshment compartment 50.

In some embodiments, the equipment storage device 5 can include an expandable portion

15 that defines an expandable compartment 95. Generally, the expandable compartment 95 is defined between the top cover 94 (which acts as a bottom cover of the compartment 95), fixed sidewalls 100, expandable sidewalls 102, and top cover 104. The top cover 94 and expandable sidewalls 102 are collectively movable (e.g., pivotable) relative to the fixed sidewalls 100 to open and close an opening to the compartment 95. The top cover 94 and expandable sidewalls 102 can be attachable to the fixed sidewalls 102 to close the opening to the compartment 95 and partially detachable from the fixed sidewalls 102 to open the opening via an attachment mechanism, such as a zipper mechanism 108. As shown in Figures 4 and 6, in a collapsed or non-expanded state, the expandable sidewalls 102 are collapsed (e.g., folded upon itself) such that the size or usuable volume of the expandable compartment 95 is at a minimum. However, as shown in Figure 5, in an expanded or non-collapsed state, the expandable sidewalls 102 are expanded or straightened to increase the size or usuable volume of the expandable compartment 95 to a maximum size or volume. The expandable portion 15 is covertable between the collapsed and expanded states by actuation of an attachment mechanism, such as zipper mechanism 20. The zipper mechanism 20 includes two opposing strips 110, 112 that extend about an entire periphery of the expandable portion 15. Each strip 1 10, 112 is fixed to the expandable portion 15 on opposite sides of the expandable sidewalls 102 such that when the mateable teeth of the zipper strips are disengaged, the expandable sidewalls can be expanded into the straightened state shown in Figure 5 from the folded state shown in Figure 6. Similarly, the mateable teeth of the zipper strips 1 10, 112 can be engaged to force the expandable sidewalls 102 into the collapsed state.

The equipment storage device 5 also includes a user attachment portion 120 configured to facilitate secure attachment of the device to a user during transportation of recreational equipment and/or during a recreational activity that utilizes the recreational equipment. The user attachment portion 120 includes two hip tabs 122 coupled to and extending from the refreshment compartment 50. The two hip tabs 122 are spaced-apart and positioned proximate a back side panel of the refreshment compartment 50. The user attachment portion 120 also includes two straps 124 attached to respective hip tabs 122. Each strap 124 includes an adjustable coupling 126. The couplings 126 of the straps 124 are matingly engageable with each other to couple the straps 124 together to define a continuous loop with the refreshment portion and tabs 122. The positioning of the couplings 126 along the straps 124 are adjustable to adjust the circumference of the defined loop. The equipment storage device 5 is wearable about a waist of a user by positioning the straps about the user and matingly engaging the couplings 126. Preferably, the two hip tabs 122 rest on the user's hips to comfortably distribute the weight of the device 5 to the user's body. In certain embodiments, the straps may be configured to form a harness that is securable to the user's body.

Alternatively, the equipment storage device 5 can be worn about a shoulder of a user instead of the waist as desired. In one implementation, the length of the straps 124 and positioning of the couplings 126 can be configured to form a loop large enough to wrap around a user's shoulder. In certain implementations, the loop is large enough such that the loop wraps about the user's shoulder and across the user's body. To facilitate a quick and efficient transition between wearing of the equipment storage device 5 about the user's waist and shoulder, a secondary strap 128 with opposing couplings 130 can be used (see, e.g., Figure 2). The couplings 130 are positioned on opposing ends of the secondary strap 128 with each being matingly engageable with a respective one of the couplings 126. By matingly engaging the couplings 130 of the secondary strap 128 to the couplings 126, the circumference of the defined loop is immediately increased from a dimension for wearing about a waist of a user to a dimension sufficient for wearing about a shoulder of a user. In certain implementations, the position of the couplings 130 on the secondary strap 128 may be adjustable.

In one embodiment, a user wears the equipment storage device 5 about the user's shoulder when transporting recreational equipment to a location for use of the equipment. Once the equipment is removed from the device 5, the device 5 is worn about the user's waist and worn during the recreational activity. When worn by a user, the refreshment portion 10 can be positioned adjacent a user's backside or frontside based on the user's preference. Generally, when transporting recreational equipment and during the recreational activity, the refreshment portion 10 is positioned adjacent or proximate the user's backside. In some embodiments, as shown in Figure 5, the device 5 includes couplings 150 configured to receive associated rear couplings on a pair of suspenders (not shown). Additional couplings 151 can be positioned on the straps 124 to receive associated front couplings of the suspenders. In this manner, a user can wear the device 5 using the user attachment portion 120, suspenders, or both.

To facilitate wearing of the equipment storage device 5 during a recreational activity, the device include a storage pouch or sleeve 140 integrated into the refreshment portion 12 to store the recreational equipment portion 12 of the device when empty. Referring to Figures 2-5, the storage pouch 140 is secured to a rear side panel 52 of the refreshment portion 12 and extends across a rear side of the device. In some instances, the storage pouch 140 may be secured, at least partially, to the auxiliary equipment portion 14 and/or expandable portion 15. The storage pouch 140 defines a space 142 defined between an outer panel 144 of the pouch and a rear side of the recreational equipment portion 12. The space 142 is sufficiently sized to receive at least a portion of the recreational equipment portion 12. As shown, the space 142 has a substantially semi-circular, or semi-oblong, shaped cross-sectional shape. However, the space 142 can have any of various cross-sectional shapes. The outer panel 144 of the pouch 140 can be a length of flexible fabric secured to the refreshment portion 10 at opposite sides of the fabric.

Alternatively, the pouch 140 can include a rigid outer panel that defines the space 142. As shown, the space 142 is open-ended on both ends. However, in other embodiments, one end of the space 142 may be closed while the opposite end is open.

When a piece of recreational equipment (e.g., a fishing pole) is removed from the recreational equipment portion 12, the recreational equipment portion 12 goes limp and would otherwise downwardly hang from the refreshment portion 10. To remove possibility of the unused recreation equipment portion 12 acting as an obstruction while the device 5 is being worn by a user, the user can deform and insert the unused equipment portion into the space 142 defined by the pouch 140 as shown in Figure 5. As illustrated, the user can fold the equipment portion 12 and neatly insert it into the pouch 140. Alternatively, the user can stuff the equipment portion 12 into the pouch 140. When stored in the pouch 140, the end of the equipment portion 12 attached to the refreshment portion 10 remains attached. Accordingly, to position the equipment portion 12 for insertion into the pouch 140, the equipment portion can be bent or folded proximate the attachment to the refreshment portion as shown in Figure 5. With the equipment portion 12 stored in the pouch 140, not only is the unused equipment portion positioned out of the way of the user, but the inserted, folded, and/or stuffed unused equipment portion can be used as a cushion against the user's body to promote comfort while the device 5 is worn.

The various portions (e.g., refreshment portion 10, equipment storage portion 12, auxiliary recreational equipment portion 14, expandable portion 15, and tabs 122) of the equipment storage device 5 can formed with an outer flexible covering, such as a fabric. In some implementations, the outer flexible covering of the portions of the device 5 is water-resistant or water-proof.

The subject matter of the present disclosure may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.