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Title:
ONE-HANDED FILL HYDRATION SYSTEM AND ASSOCIATED METHODS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/005702
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A one-handed fill hydration system with a pinch plate attached to an upper portion of a wide-mouthed reservoir adjacent to a closable, sealable opening with a zipper-style closure configuration.

Inventors:
HAUFF, Macarthur David (4709 51st Ave. S, Seattle, WA, 98118, US)
Application Number:
US2018/039365
Publication Date:
January 03, 2019
Filing Date:
June 25, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
CASCADE DESIGN, INC. (4000 1st Avenue South, Seattle, WA, 98134, US)
International Classes:
A45F3/20; A45F3/16
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WOOLSTON, Robert, G. et al. (Perkins Coie LLP, P.o. Box 1247Seattle, WA, 98111-1247, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

I/We claim:

1 . A hydration system, comprising:

a reservoir having opposing first and second end portions, wherein the reservoir comprises an interior area configured to retain a liquid and a mouth at the first end portion, wherein the interior area is configured to receive the liquid through the mouth, and wherein the reservoir is movable at the mouth between an open position and a closed position; and a pinch plate coupled to the first end portion and movable between first and second configurations, the pinch plate comprising:

an upper edge portion positioned adjacent to the mouth;

a body portion coupled to upper edge portion and having opposing first and second grip portions, wherein the first and second grip portions are engageable by a hand of a user and wherein the first and second grip portions are spaced apart from each other in the first configuration and pinched toward each other in the second configuration; and

wherein the pinch plate is configured to move the reservoir to the open position when the pinch plate moves to the second configuration.

2. The hydration system of claim 1 wherein the reservoir comprises a perimeter and wherein the mouth is formed from an opening in the perimeter.

3. The hydration system of claim 1 wherein the mouth comprises first and second lips having mating closure members.

4. The hydration system of claim 1 wherein- when the reservoir is in the closed position, the mouth can be in a sealed position or an unsealed position, the pinch plate comprises a slide lock releasably coupled to the mouth, the slide lock is movable between an installed position or an uninstalled position, the mouth is retained in the sealed position when the slide lock is in the installed position and the mouth is movable to the unsealed position when the slide lock is in the uninstalled position.

5. The hydration system of claim 4 wherein- the mouth comprises first and second lips having mating closure members configured to be engaged with each other when the mouth is in the sealed position, and

the mating closure members are configured to be disengaged with each other when the mouth is in the unsealed position.

6. The hydration system of claim 5 wherein the slide lock is configured to move from the installed position to the uninstalled position by sliding laterally off of the first and second lips.

7. The hydration system of claim 1 wherein the pinch plate is a contoured unitary member with the upper edge portion integrally connected to the body portion.

8. The hydration system of claim 1 wherein the reservoir is configured to move from the closed position to the open position when the first and second grip portions are engaged by one hand of the user pinching the pinch plate to the second position.

9. A closure system for a reservoir configured to hold a liquid, wherein the reservoir comprises a mouth movable between an open position and a closed position, the closure system comprising:

an edge portion coupled to the reservoir and positioned adjacent to the mouth, wherein the edge portion comprises first and second protuberances, a body portion coupled to the edge portion and having first and second grip portions;

wherein the closure system is movable between a flat configuration and a bent configuration;

wherein the closure system is movable from the flat configuration to the bent configuration when the first and second grip portions are squeezed toward each other; and

wherein, when the closure system moves from the flat configuration to the bent configuration, the mouth moves to the open position.

10. The closure system of claim 9 wherein the body portion comprises a flex slot configured to enable the closure system to transition from the flat configuration to the bent configuration.

1 1 . The closure system of claim 9 wherein the first protuberance, the second protuberance, the first leg, and the second leg are generally planar when the closure system is in the flat configuration.

12. The closure system of claim 9, further comprising:

first and second legs extending downwardly and radially away from the body portion and extending away from the mouth, wherein the first protuberance and the first leg form a first acute angle at the first grip portion and wherein the second protuberance and the second leg form a second acute angle at the second grip portion.

13. The closure system of claim 12 wherein both the first and second acute angles are in the range of approximately 45 °-70 °.

14. The closure system of claim 12 wherein- the first and second legs each includes a lower end and an upper end,

both of the lower ends are permanently affixed to the reservoir, and neither of the upper ends are permanently affixed to the reservoir.

15. The closure system of claim 9 wherein the left and right protuberances are permanently affixed to the reservoir.

16. A refillable hydration system configured to be refilled using a one-handed filling operation, the refillable hydration system comprising:

a reservoir movable between open and closed positions and configured to store a liquid, wherein the reservoir comprises a mouth formed from first and second lips and wherein the reservoir is configured to receive the liquid from the mouth when the reservoir is in the open position;

a slide lock releasably coupled to the first and second lips; and

a pinch plate positioned adjacent to mouth and movable to cause the mouth to move to the open position, the pinch plate comprising:

first and second arms coupled to the first lip; and

a body portion coupled to the first and second arms and having first and second finger grip portions configured to receive first and second fingers from a hand of a user.

17. The refillable hydration system of claim 16 wherein- the slide lock is movable between an installed position and an uninstalled position, and

the slide lock is configured to move from the uninstalled position to the installed position by sliding laterally along the first and second lips.

18. The refillable hydration system of claim 17 wherein- the mouth is movable between a sealed position, an unsealed position, the mouth is in the sealed position when the slide lock is in the installed position, and

the mouth is in the unsealed position when the slide lock is in the uninstalled position.

19. The refillable hydration system of claim 18 wherein- the pinch plate is movable between a planar configuration and a bent configuration,

the refillable hydration system is in the closed position when the pinch plate is in the planar configuration, and

the refillable hydration system is in the open position when the pinch plate is in the bent configuration.

20. The refillable hydration system of claim 19 wherein- the pinch plate is biased towards the planar configuration, and

the pinch plate is configured to move from the planar configuration to the bent configuration when the first and second fingers pinch the first and second finger grip portions together.

Description:
ONE-HANDED FILL HYDRATION SYSTEM AND ASSOCIATED

METHODS

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This patent application claims the benefit of and priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 62/526,244, titled One-Handed Fill Hydration System and Associated Methods, filed June 28, 2017, which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference thereto.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] This patent application is generally directed to hydration systems, and more particularly to easy-to-use hydration systems insertable into a pack or other wearable carrying structure.

BACKGROUND

[0003] Conventional wearable hydration packs typically include a bladder or reservoir carried in a backpack, and a hose with a dispensing head on the distal end communicates with the interior of the reservoir. A person can use the hose and dispensing head to deliver water or other fluid to the person from within the reservoir. Many conventional hydration systems utilize a reservoir with a screw top that releasably closes a larger, threaded fill port that a user can open and add or remove water or other fluid from the bladder. Conventional bladders, however, can be difficult to open and thoroughly clean. Other systems, such as the Platypus® hydration system from Cascade Design of Seattle, WA, includes a reservoir assembly with a wide-mouth opening and a SlideLock™ closure system that sealably zips the top of the reservoir closed. Many conventional hydration systems are configured so that opening the fill port and keeping the reservoir open to receive fluid or to pour fluid out often requires two hands. As a result, this two-hand manipulation of the hydration system can make it difficult for a user to engage or manipulate other items, such as a water faucet, spout, or other items when filling up the reservoir. Conventional systems can also be difficult or awkward to handle when trying to fill the reservoir from a lake, stream, river, or other body of water.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0004] Embodiments of the hydration system introduced herein may be better understood by referring to the following Detailed Description in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals indicate identical or functionally similar elements.

[0005] Figure 1 is a front view of a hydration system in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology, wherein a pinch plate is attached to a reservoir just below the reservoir's mouth.

[0006] Figure 2 is a partial isometric view of a hydration system in accordance with another embodiment with a dispensing port and hose positioned just below the pinch plate of Figure 1 .

[0007] Figure 3 is an enlarged partial isometric view of a top portion of the hydration system of Figure 1 showing a pinch plate attached to an upper portion of a closed reservoir.

[0008] Figure 4 is an enlarged isometric view of the pinch plate of Figure 1 shown removed from the reservoir.

[0009] Figure 5 is a top isometric view of the hydration system of an embodiment with the slide lock closure removed from the mouth of the reservoir, the zippered lips portions unzipped, the pinch plate generally flat and unpinched, and the mouth of the reservoir in a substantially closed, unsealed position.

[0010] Figures 6 and 7 are top isometric views of the hydration system of Figure 5 with the pinch plate in a pinched position and the mouth of the reservoir retained in a wide-mouthed, fully open position.

[0011] The headings provided herein are for convenience only and do not necessarily affect the scope or meaning of the claimed embodiments. Further, the drawings have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements in the figures may be expanded or reduced to help improve the understanding of the embodiments. Moreover, while the disclosed technology is amenable to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and are described in detail below. The intention, however, is not to limit the embodiments described. On the contrary, the embodiments are intended to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the scope of the embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Overview

[0012] Embodiments of the present technology provide a hydration system with a wide-mouthed reservoir and a pinch plate attached to the reservoir adjacent to the sealable mouth, wherein the pinch plate can be held with a user's single hand and pinched to flex and bend the plate to move and hold the reservoir's mouth in a wide, fully open position. This one-hand operation to open the reservoir's mouth allows the user's other hand to remain free and unencumbered. Accordingly, the user can manipulate a faucet, spout, or other device with his or her free hand while the reservoir is held open with the single-hand operation. Alternatively, the user can hold the reservoir's mouth open with one hand while reaching into the reservoir while, as an example, cleaning the inside of the reservoir. The pinch plate may also be used as a handle to carry or manipulate the hydration system, such as when the reservoir is filled with fluid and in a sealed, closed position. In addition, the pinch plate and its interface with the reservoir's enlarged mouth also facilitates scooping water or otherwise filling the reservoir from a lake, stream, river, or other body of water.

General Description

[0013] Various examples of the hydration system introduced above will now be described in further detail. The following description provides specific details for a thorough understanding and enabling description of these examples. One skilled in the relevant art will understand, however, that the techniques discussed herein may be practiced without many of these details. Likewise, one skilled in the relevant art will also understand that the technology can include many other features not described in detail herein. Additionally, some well-known structures or functions may not be shown or described in detail below so as to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the relevant description. For purposes of simplicity of discussion, the hydration system will be described herein with reference to top and bottom, upper and lower, above and below, and/or left or right relative to the spatial orientation of the embodiment(s) shown in the figures. It is to be understood that the hydration system, however, can be moved to and used in different spatial orientations without changing the structure of the system.

[0014] The terminology used below is to be interpreted in its broadest reasonable manner, even though it is being used in conjunction with a detailed description of some specific examples of the embodiments. Indeed, some terms may even be emphasized below; however, any terminology intended to be interpreted in any restricted manner will be overtly and specifically defined as such in this section.

[0015] Figure 1 illustrates a hydration system 10 in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure. The hydration system 10 includes a flexible reservoir 12 configured to receive and contain water or other fluid. The illustrated reservoir 12 is a low profile, taste-free reservoir made of a durable multi-layer plastic material sealed around its perimeter 14 except at an enlarged, openable and re- sealable mouth 16 at the reservoir's top portion 18. As discussed in greater detail below, the hydration system has a pinch plate 40 adjacent to the mouth 16 and configured to allow a user to pinch the pinch plate with only one hand to easily move and hold the mouth in a fully open position that provides access to an interior area 20 of the reservoir 12, such as to fill the reservoir with fluid through the open mouth. The enlarged mouth 16 also provides easy access into the interior area 20, such as for routine cleaning or drying of the reservoir 12.

[0016] A fluid dispensing assembly 22 is sealably attached to the lower portion 24 of the reservoir 12 and communicates with the reservoir's interior area 20 to allow a user to draw water or other fluid out of the reservoir 12 through the dispensing assembly 22. Figure 2 is a partial isometric view of a hydration system 10 in accordance with another embodiment with a dispensing assembly 22 positioned just below the pinch plate 40 and the mouth 16. Other embodiments can have the dispensing assembly 22 in other locations on the reservoir 12. In the illustrated embodiments, the dispensing assembly 22 includes a dispensing port 26 connected to a proximal end 28 of a hose 30. The hose 30 can connect to the dispensing port 26 in a conventional fixed or quick- release configuration. The distal end (not shown) of the hose includes a conventional shut off valve that allows the user to drink from the hydration system by opening the valve and sucking on the valve to draw fluid from the reservoir 12 through the hose 30 and into the user's mouth.

[0017] Figure 3 is an enlarged partial isometric view of top portion 18 of the reservoir 12, and the mouth 16 is shown in a closed and sealed position. The mouth 16 of the reservoir 12 has an elongated zip-closure configuration with substantially planar front and rear lips 34 and 36 that have interleaved, mating closure teeth that can be zipped open and closed. The front and rear lips 34 and 36 have a greater stiffness than the body of the reservoir 12. A slide lock 38 is releasably and laterally slidable onto the front and rear lips 34 and 36 to an installed position, so as to sealably lock the lips together and releasably hold the mouth 16 in a closed, sealed, leak-free configuration. The slide lock 38 can be slid laterally off of the front and rear lips 34 and 36 so as to separate the closure teeth and position the mouth 16 in a closed, un-sealed position. From this closed, un-sealed position, the mouth 16 can be moved to a wide, fully open position to provide easy access to the reservoir's interior area 20.

[0018] The hydration system 10 has a contoured pinch plate 40 attached to the reservoir 12 just below the mouth 16. The pinch plate 40 has an upper edge portion 42 securely attached and spanning substantially across the top portion 18 of the reservoir 12 on or just below the front lip 34. Opposing end segments of the upper edge portion 42 project laterally away from a contoured central body portion 44 to form left and right arms 46 and 48. The pinch plate 40 also has left and right legs 50 and 52 projecting downwardly and radially away from the body portion 44 and extending away from the mouth 16. The pinch plate 40 of the illustrated embodiment can be a contoured unitary member with the arms 46/48, legs 50/52, and body portion 44 are integrally connected to each other. [0019] Portions of the pinch plate 40 are fixedly attached to the reservoir 12 such that bending movement of the pinch plate 40 causes the front lip 34 and/or front portions of the reservoir 12 below the mouth 16 to move with the pinch plate as a unit away from the rear lip 36. For example, in the illustrated embodiment the left and right arms 46 and 48 and a central portion 56 above the body portion 44 are RF welded, adhered, or otherwise permanently affixed to the reservoir's outer portion 54 on or below the front lip 34. The lower ends of the left and right legs 50 and 52 are also RF welded or otherwise affixed to the outer surface 54 of the reservoir 12. The remaining portions of the body 44 and the upper ends of the legs 50/52, however, do not need to be fixed to the reservoir's outer surface 54 so some separation can occur between the reservoir and the portions of the pinch plate 40. This separation allows a user to slip a fingertip and/or a thumb tip around the edge of the pinch plate 40 and slightly behind the pinch plate 40 for better grip and control when holding the pinch plate.

[0020] The pinch plate 40 is configured to allow a user to grasp opposing left and right edge portions 60 and 62 on opposing sides of the body portion 44 between the user's thumb and finger(s). In the illustrated embodiment, the left and right edge portions 60 and 62 of the pinch plate 40 can be flared outwardly away from the reservoir's outer surface 54 to help facilitate maintaining grip on the pinch plate 40 with only one hand. When the user pinches or squeezes the pinch plate 40 between the one or more fingers and the thumb of one hand, the pinch plate 40 flexes and bends from a generally flat, planar position to a bowed, arcuate position, wherein the left and right arms 46 and 48, and the left and right legs 50 and 52 move partially toward each other out of the generally planar orientation. This causes the body portion 44 to flex and bow, thereby pulling the front lip 34 of the reservoir 12 away from the rear lip 36 (when the slide lock is removed from the reservoir's mouth 16) to automatically move the mouth 16 to the fully open position.

[0021] Figure 4 is an enlarged isometric view of the pinch plate of Figure 1 shown removed from the reservoir 12. In the illustrated embodiment, the body portion 44 of the pinch plate 40 has a plurality of elongated slots 66 that form modified kerf hinges that allow the body portion 44 to flex and bend with a desired degree of stiffness when the user pinches the pinch plate 40. In other embodiments, the body portion 44 can include one or more channels or recesses of forming one or more living hinges that can allow the pinch plate 40 to flex and bow when pinched by only one hand of the user. Other embodiments can use other flex grooves in other configurations to provide the degree of flexibility and bowing of the pinch plate 40 when pinched by the user's hand.

[0022] In the illustrated embodiment, the pinch plate 40 has an arcuate bottom contour edge 68 between the left and right legs 50 and 52 below the body portion 44. The arcuate bottom contoured edge 68 can be partially raised away from the outer surface 54 of the reservoir 12 (Figure 3) to provide space between the reservoir surface and the arcuate bottom edge 68. This contoured configuration provides a handle-like structure that a user can use to hold the hydration system 10 at the pinch plate 40 by slipping the user's fingertips between the pinch plate's contoured bottom edge 68 and the reservoir. In other embodiments, the body portion 44 and left and right legs 50 and 52 can be coplanar without providing a lower flared handle portion on the pinch plate 40.

[0023] The pinch plate 40 of the illustrated embodiment shown in Figure 4 also has contoured and flared finger grip portions 70 on the edges formed between the left arm 46 and the left leg 50 and between the right arm 48 and the right leg 52. The illustrated finger grip portions 70 have an acute angle defined between the arm 46/48 and leg 50/52 on the respective left and right edge portions 60 and 62 of the pinch plate 40. This acute angle helps form a receiving area for the user's thumb and finger(s) to facilitate pinching and flexing the pinch plate 40. If the angle is not sufficiently acute, the user's thumb or finger(s) may be prone to sliding along the edge of the pinch plate during the pinching motion, which can make bending and flexing of the pinch plate 40 more difficult. In the illustrated embodiment, the acute angle between the respective arm 46/48 and leg 50/52 on the left and right edge portions 60 and 62 of the pinch plate 40 is in the range of approximately 45 °-70 °. In one embodiment, the angle is approximately 63 °-67°, and more preferably, approximately 65 °. Other embodiments can have other acute angles on the left and right edge portions 60 and 62 of the pinch plate below the left and right arms 46 and 48. [0024] The pinch plate 40 is configured so a user can grasp and pinch the pinch plate 40 between his or her thumb and finger(s) of only one hand, such that the pinch plate 40 will flex and bend so as to easily move the reservoir's large mouth 16 to the fully open position. The user can move and hold the mouth 16 fully open with only the one hand by continuing to hold the pinch plate 40 in the bent and flexed position.

[0025] In operation when a user wants to open the reservoir 12 of the hydration system 10, such as to fill, empty, clean or otherwise access the reservoir's interior area 20, the user slides the slide lock 38 (Figure 3) off of the front and rear lips 34 and 36. As the slide lock 38 (Figure 3) is removed from the reservoir 12, the closure teeth 78 on the lips 34/36 are disengaged, so the mouth of the reservoir is unsealed but is in a substantially closed position, as shown in Figure 6. In this closed, unsealed position, the pinch plate 40 is substantially flat and unflexed. The user can then grasp the pinch plate 40 with his or her thumb and finger(s) of one hand in the finger grip portions 70 while the left and right arms 46 and 48 of the pinch plate 40 are substantially or approximately coplanar.

[0026] As seen in Figures 6 and 7, the user can hold the hydration system 10 with the one hand via the pinch plate 40, and then pinch the thumb and finger(s) together (i.e., toward each other), causing the pinch plate 40 to flex and bend in an arcuate shape. This bending of the pinch plate 40 causes the left and right arms 46 and 48 to move laterally and, in some embodiments, partially radially toward each other. The pinch plate's body portion 44 also bends outwardly which draws the reservoir's front lip 34 forwardly, causing the rearward lip 36 to simultaneously move rearwardly, which results in the reservoir's mouth 16 to move to the wide, fully open position. The user can hold the reservoir's mouth 16 in this fully open position simply by holding the pinch plate 40 in the flexed, bent position with just one hand. The user can then add water or fluid into the reservoir 12 through the wide open mouth 16, and the user's other hand is free to engage a faucet, spout, hose, bottle, or other fluid source. The user can also hold the pinch plate 40 in the flexed, bent position with one hand and scoop water into the reservoir 12 from a lake, stream, river, or other body of water. The user can also pinch the pinch plate 40 and hold the mouth open while submerging the assembly in the body of water to fill the reservoir 12. This one-handed operation also keeps the user's other hand free for anything else that may be helpful or convenient for the user. Opening and holding the reservoir's mouth 16 in the wide open position also allows the user to reach into the reservoir's interior area 20 if needed, such as to clean or scrub the inside surfaces of the reservoir 12.

[0027] The pinch plate 40 is biased to the substantially flat position with the mouth 16 of the reservoir 12 in the closed, unsealed position. Accordingly, the user can release his or her thumb and finger(s) to release the pinching action, thereby allowing the pinch plate 40 to automatically return to the substantially flat configuration. The user can then slide the slide lock 38 (Figure 3) laterally over the adjacent front and rear lips 34 and 36, thereby causing the closure teeth 78 on the lips 34/36 to mate and sealably engaged each other, so the mouth 16 of the reservoir 12 is releasably retained in the fully closed, sealed, leak-free configuration. The user can also, if desired, carry the hydration system 10 by the contoured bottom edge 68 of the pinch plate 40 when the reservoir 12 is in the fully closed, sealed, leak-free position for easy and simple one- handed engagement with the hydration system 10.

Remarks

[0028] The above description and drawings are illustrative and are not to be construed as limiting. Numerous specific details are described to provide a thorough understanding of the disclosure. However, in some instances, well-known details are not described in order to avoid obscuring the description. Further, various modifications may be made without deviating from the scope of the embodiments.

[0029] Reference in this specification to "one embodiment" or "an embodiment" means that a particular feature, structure or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the disclosure. The appearances of the phrase "in one embodiment" in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment, nor are separate or alternative embodiments mutually exclusive of other embodiments. Moreover, various features are described which may be exhibited by some embodiments and not by others. Similarly, various requirements are described which may be requirements for some embodiments but not for other embodiments.

[0030] The terms used in this specification generally have their ordinary meanings in the art, within the context of the disclosure, and in the specific context where each term is used. It will be appreciated that the same thing can be said in more than one way. Consequently, alternative language and synonyms may be used for any one or more of the terms discussed herein, and any special significance is not to be placed upon whether or not a term is elaborated or discussed herein. Synonyms for some terms are provided. A recital of one or more synonyms does not exclude the use of other synonyms. The use of examples anywhere in this specification, including examples of any term discussed herein, is illustrative only and is not intended to further limit the scope and meaning of the disclosure or of any exemplified term. Likewise, the disclosure is not limited to various embodiments given in this specification. Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this disclosure pertains. In the case of conflict, the present document, including definitions, will control.