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Title:
TACTICAL VEST WITH HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT CAPABILITY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/130295
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A tactical vest may include a belt for fastening about the waist of a user, the belt including an upward-extending element that rigidly extends upward from a rear of the belt; a shoulder strap assembly that includes two shoulder straps and an adjustment strap linked to the shoulder straps; a front panel to cover a front of the user's torso and configured to attach to the shoulder straps; and a rear panel configured to connect to the shoulder strap assembly and to cover a rear of the user's torso, the rear panel including a plurality of inverted pockets that are arranged vertically one above another substantially along and perpendicularly to a vertical midline of the rear panel, each of the inverted pockets configured to enable insertion of the upward-extending element into that inverted pocket so as to adjust a height of the rear panel above the belt.

Inventors:
GILL, Yoram (71A Horev Street, 07 Haifa, 3434407, IL)
BEN-ARAV, Gal (Kfar-Yuval 99, 00 Kfar-Yuval, 1221500, IL)
KARP, Roi (7 Hanarkisim Street, 00 Ganot Hadar, 4293000, IL)
Application Number:
IL2018/051379
Publication Date:
July 04, 2019
Filing Date:
December 20, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SOURCE VAGABOND SYSTEMS LTD. (P.O. Box 32, Tirat Carmel, 39100, IL)
International Classes:
A45F3/06; A45F3/08; F41H1/02
Foreign References:
US20140151424A12014-06-05
FR2695016A31994-03-04
US5586705A1996-12-24
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DORON, Sieradzki (PEARL COHEN ZEDEK LATZER BARATZ, P.O. Box 7198, 21 Tel Aviv, 6107121, IL)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A tactical vest comprising:

a belt for fastening about the waist of a user, the belt including an upward- extending element that rigidly extends upward from a rear of the belt;

a shoulder strap assembly that includes two shoulder straps and an adjustment strap linked to the shoulder straps;

a front panel to cover a front of the user’s torso and configured to attach to the shoulder straps; and

a rear panel configured to connect to the shoulder strap assembly and to cover a rear of the user’s torso, the rear panel including a plurality of inverted pockets that are arranged vertically one above another substantially along and perpendicularly to a vertical midline of the rear panel, each of the inverted pockets configured to enable insertion of the upward-extending element into that inverted pocket so as to adjust a height of the rear panel above the belt.

2. The tactical vest of claim 1, wherein the upward-extending element and the plurality of inverted pockets comprise cooperating hook-and-loop fastener surfaces.

3. The tactical vest of claim 1 or claim 2, wherein shoulder straps have adjustable length.

4. The tactical vest of any of claims 1 to 3, wherein the shoulder strap assembly comprises a two arms connecting at a junction.

5. The tactical vest of any of claims 1 to 4, wherein the adjustment strap includes a projection that is configured to be inserted into a pocket of the plurality of the inverted pockets.

6. The tactical vest of any of claims 1 to 5, wherein the adjus6ment strap includes a hook-and-loop fastener surface that is configured to attach to a cooperating hook-and- loop fastener surface on the plurality of inverted pockets.

7. The tactical vest of any of claims 1 to 6, wherein the rear panel includes structure for holding the shoulder straps and the adjustment strap to the rear panel.

8. The tactical vest of any of claims 1 to 7, further comprising side connecters for connecting the rear panel to the front panel.

9. The tactical vest of claim 8, wherein each of the side connector has an adjustable length.

10. The tactical vest of claim 9, wherein the side connector comprises a ratcheted tongue attached to one of the rear panel and the front panel and that is configured to be inserted into a sleeve that is attached to the other of the rear panel and the front panel.

11. The tactical vest of any of claims 1 to 10, further comprising a first aid pouch that is attachable to the front panel or to the rear panel and that is provided with a handle to enable opening of the pouch to access contents of the pouch.

12. The tactical vest of claim 11, wherein the pouch comprises a base that is configured to attach to the front panel or the rear panel.

13. The tactical vest of claim 12, wherein the base includes structure configured to hold a first aid material.

14. The tactical vest of claim 13, wherein the first aid material comprises at least one of a sterile bandage and a tourniquet.

15. The tactical vest of claim 12, wherein the pouch comprises a plurality of flaps that are configured to be folded over the base to close the pouch.

16. The tactical vest of claim 15, wherein the handle is attached to an outermost flap of the plurality of flaps.

17. The tactical vest of claim 16, wherein the outermost flap and at least another flap of the plurality of flaps are provided with cooperating hook-and-loop fastener surfaces.

Description:
TACTICAL VEST WITH HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT CAPABILITY

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to vests. More particularly, the present invention relates to a tactical vest with height adjustment capability.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Vests are worn in various settings to carry equipment on a user’s torso. Vests intended for use by emergency, military, or law enforcement personnel may also be designed to carry body armor. Typically, a vest includes several separable panels or sections that are connected to the vest before the vest is worn by the user, or that are attached as the user dons the vest.

[0003] For example, a vest may include a front panel and a rear panel. For example, the front and rear panels may be attached to one another by shoulder straps that are connected to one another prior to donning the vest, leaving an opening for the user’s head. The vest may then be placed over the user’s head such that the shoulder straps rest on the user’s shoulders. Side connectors may then be closed to secure the vest to the user’s body.

[0004] Each panel may include webbing or other structure for the attachment of pouches or other equipment holders. The panel may include one or more internal compartments into which plates or panels of body armor may be inserted or held.

[0005] The combined weight of the vest, carried equipment, and body armor may be considerable such that the vest may include provision for enabling the user’s waist or hips to support part of the weight.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] There is provided, according to some embodiments of the invention, a tactical vest. The tactical vest may include a belt for fastening about the waist of a user, the belt including an upward-extending element that rigidly extends upward from a rear of the belt. The tactical vest may also include a shoulder strap assembly that includes two shoulder straps and an adjustment strap linked to the shoulder straps. The tactical vest may further include a front panel to cover a front of the user’s torso and configured to attach to the shoulder straps; and a rear panel configured to connect to the shoulder strap assembly and to cover a rear of the user’s torso, the rear panel including a plurality of inverted pockets that are arranged vertically one above another substantially along and perpendicularly to a vertical midline of the rear panel, each of the inverted pockets configured to enable insertion of the upward-extending element into that inverted pocket so as to adjust a height of the rear panel above the belt.

[0007] In some embodiments wherein the upward-extending element and the plurality of inverted pockets comprise cooperating hook-and-loop fastener surfaces.

[0008] In some embodiments, two shoulder straps have adjustable length.

[0009] In some embodiments the shoulder strap assembly comprises a two arms connecting at a junction.

[0010] In some embodiments the adjustment strap includes a projection that is configured to be inserted into a pocket of the plurality of the inverted pockets.

[0011] According to some embodiments the adjustment strap includes a hook-and-loop fastener surface that is configured to attach to a cooperating hook-and-loop fastener surface on the plurality of inverted pockets.

[0012] In some embodiments the rear panel includes structure for holding the shoulder straps and the adjustment strap to the rear panel.

[0013] In some embodiments the vest further includes side connecters for connecting the rear panel to the front panel.

[0014] In some embodiments the side connector has an adjustable length.

[0015] In some embodiments each of the side connectors comprises a ratcheted tongue attached to one of the rear panel and the front panel and that is configured to be inserted into a sleeve that is attached to the other of the rear panel and the front panel.

[0016] In some embodiments the vest may include a first aid pouch that is attachable to the front panel or to the rear panel and that is provided with a handle to enable opening of the pouch to access contents of the pouch. [0017] In some embodiments the pouch comprises a base that is configured to attach to the front panel or the rear panel.

[0018] In some embodiments the base includes structure configured to hold a first aid material.

[0019] In some embodiments the first aid material comprises at least one of a sterile bandage and a tourniquet.

[0020] In some embodiments the pouch comprises a plurality of flaps that are configured to be folded over the base to close the pouch.

[0021] In some embodiments the handle is attached to an outermost flap of the plurality of flaps.

[0022] In some embodiments the outermost flap and at least another flap of the plurality of flaps are provided with cooperating hook-and-loop fastener surfaces.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0023] In order for the present invention, to be better understood and for its practical applications to be appreciated, the following Figures are provided and referenced hereafter. It should be noted that the Figures are given as examples only and in no way limit the scope of the invention. Fike components are denoted by like reference numerals.

[0024] Fig. 1 schematically illustrates a frontal view of a tactical vest, in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.

[0025] Fig. 2 schematically illustrates a belt and the inner surface of a rear panel of the tactical vest shown in Fig. 1.

[0026] Fig. 3 schematically illustrates a belt of the tactical vest shown in Fig. 2.

[0027] Fig. 4 schematically illustrates the inner surface of the rear panel shown in Fig.

2.

[0028] Fig. 5A schematically illustrates the inner side of a shoulder strap assembly of the tactical vest shown in Fig. 1. [0029] Fig. 5B schematically illustrates the outer side of the shoulder strap assembly shown in Fig. 5A.

[0030] Fig. 6 A schematically illustrates a first aid pouch, when closed, for attaching to a tactical vest, in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention.

[0031] Fig. 6B schematically illustrates the first aid pouch shown in Fig. 6A, when opened.

[0032] Fig. 7 schematically illustrates a grenade holder for insertion into a pouch of the tactical vest shown in Fig. 1.

[0033] Fig. 8 schematically illustrates a side connector of the tactical vest shown in Fig. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0034] In the following detailed description, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. However, it will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art that the invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known methods, procedures, components, modules, units and/or circuits have not been described in detail so as not to obscure the invention.

[0035] Although embodiments of the invention are not limited in this regard, discussions utilizing terms such as, for example, “processing,” “computing,” “calculating,”“determining,”“establishing”,“an alyzing”,“checking”, or the like, may refer to operation(s) and/or process(es) of a computer, a computing platform, a computing system, or other electronic computing device, that manipulates and/or transforms data represented as physical (e.g., electronic) quantities within the computer’s registers and/or memories into other data similarly represented as physical quantities within the computer’s registers and/or memories or other information non- transitory storage medium (e.g., a memory) that may store instructions to perform operations and/or processes. Although embodiments of the invention are not limited in this regard, the terms“plurality” and“a plurality” as used herein may include, for example,“multiple” or“two or more”. The terms“plurality” or“a plurality” may be used throughout the specification to describe two or more components, devices, elements, units, parameters, or the like. Unless explicitly stated, the method embodiments described herein are not constrained to a particular order or sequence. Additionally, some of the described method embodiments or elements thereof can occur or be performed simultaneously, at the same point in time, or concurrently. Unless otherwise indicated, the conjunction“or” as used herein is to be understood as inclusive (any or all of the stated options).

[0036] In accordance with some embodiments of the present invention, a tactical vest with height adjustment capability is disclosed herein. A tactical vest according to some embodiments of the present invention is designed so as to allow a user to assemble the tactical vest quickly and easily and adjust it to be properly placed over the user’s body, and also allow determining the distribution of weight between the waist and shoulders of the user according to the user’s preference.

[0037] A tactical vest, according to some embodiments, may be designed to allow insertion of personal protection plates (e.g., ceramic plates) into a front panel and a rear panel of the vest. In some embodiments the protection plates may be removable, so that the tactical vest may be used without the plates (e.g., as a combat vest). In some embodiments of the present invention, the tactical vest may be designed to allow attachment of various loads onto it, e.g., onto the front panel, onto the rear panel or anywhere else on the vest.

[0038] In some embodiments, a tactical vest includes a height adjustable mechanism designed to allow the user to adjust the position of the front panel and/or rear panel with respect to the user’s body, and also to affect the distribution of weight of the tactical vest and any loads attached to it, between the waist and shoulders of the user.

[0039] In some embodiments the height adjustable mechanism may include an arrangement of inverted adjustment pockets that enable the vest to be supported in part by an upward-extending element of a belt that is fastened about the waist of a user who is donning the tactical vest. (As used herein, directional references with regard to the vest, belt, or objects that are attached to or mounted on the vest or belt, such as“above”, “below”, “upper”, “lower”, “upward”, “downward”, “inside”, “outside”, “inner”, “outer”,“height”,“width”, or similar references refer to directions when the vest, belt, or other article is worn upright by a user who is standing upright.) Similarly, inverted adjustment pockets also enable adjustment of the length of shoulder straps that connect front and rear panels of the tactical vest.

[0040] Inverted adjustment pockets are arranged on the inner surface of a rear panel of the tactical vest. The opening of each of the inverted adjustment pockets faces downward, such that the upward-extending element of the belt may be inserted into the opening of one of the inverted adjustment pockets. The openings of the inverted adjustment pockets are arranged one above the other at different heights on the inner surface of the rear pocket. Typically, the inverted adjustment pockets are arranged along a vertical midline between right and left sides of the rear panel.

[0041] Depending on the depth of each inverted adjustment pocket and the spacing between the openings, the interior of an inverted adjustment pocket may vertically overlap or partially overlap the interiors of one or more other inverted adjustment pockets that are arranged above that inverted adjustment pocket.

[0042] The belt has an upward-extending, typically flat element that extends upward from the rear of the belt when the belt is fastened about the user’s waist. The upper end of the upward-extending element may be inserted into one of the inverted adjustment pockets. The height of a selected inverted adjustment pocket into which the upward- extending element is inserted may determine how the weight of the vest, and of any loads attached to the vest, is distributed between the user’s shoulders and waist. The selection of an inverted adjustment pocket may be in accordance with a particular user’s preferences and comfort. When the height of the vest causes the shoulder straps to be raised above the user’s shoulders, the weight of the load of the vest is mainly supported by the belt, and thus experienced by the user as a load on the waist, whereas when the height of the vest causes the shoulder straps to lie over the user’s shoulders and lift the belt off the user’s waist, the weight of the load of the vest is then caused to be mainly supported by the shoulders straps, and thus experienced by the user as a load on the shoulders.

[0043] A backward facing surface of the upward-extending element may include a hook-and-loop fastener surface (e.g., Velcro™ or a similar hook-and-loop fastener surface). A forward-facing surface of the arrangement of inverted adjustment pockets may similarly include a cooperating hook-and-loop fastener surface. Thus, the hook- and-loop fastener surface of the upward-extending element may engage the hook-and- loop fastener surface of the arrangement of inverted adjustment pockets, thus further securing the rear panel to the upward-extending element at a desired height and enhancing stability and rigidity of the connection between the coupled parts of the vest. In some embodiments of the invention the upward-extending element may be provided with stiffening elements (e.g., a polyethylene plate and/or aluminum bar, etc.) to enhance rigidity.

[0044] The inverted adjustment pocket and upward-extending element may be structured so as to allow the user relative freedom in bending while the upward- extending element remains inserted in the inverted adjustment pocket. For example, the upward-extending element may be sufficiently rigid to assist in supporting the weight of the vest and load, while being sufficiently flexible so as to bend somewhat together with the user’s torso.

[0045] The tactical vest may include shoulder straps that are configured to connect the front panel with the rear panel and to generally rest on the user’s shoulders when the vest is worn. The lengths of the shoulder straps may be adjusted in accordance with the size, preferences, and comfort of a particular user.

[0046] The shoulder straps may be arranged in an assembly such that both shoulder straps may be adjusted in tandem. For example, both shoulder straps may be joined at a substantially Y-shaped junction, with the ends of the shoulder straps forming the arms of the Y. The ends of the shoulder straps are both attached to an adjustment strap at the junction, the adjustment strap forming the leg of the Y.

[0047] An outer side of the adjustment strap includes a projection that is configured to engage an opening of an inverted adjustment pocket of the inverted pockets of the upward-extending element. The adjustment strap of the shoulder strap assembly may be performed by engaging the projection of the adjustment strap with a selected inverted pocket such that the height of the straps is adjusted to the user’s liking. For example, the projection may include a rigid tongue, e.g., constructed of rigid plastic, that is extendible outward and upward from the outer side of the adjustment strap. When the projection engages the opening of a selected inverted adjustment pocket, the shoulder straps may be held at a desired length. The projection may be sufficiently long, or may include additional structure (e.g., clip, friction surface, or other structure) so as to prevent or impede disengagement of the projection from the inverted adjustment pocket.

[0048] A first aid pouch that is attachable to the tactical vest may be configured to enable rapid access to the materials contained within. For example, the first aid pouch may be configured to hold essential first aid materials that may be of use by the user or by a companion of the user in case of injury to the user, or by medically trained personnel. Such a first aid pouch may be configured to hold, for example, a sterile bandage, a tourniquet, or other essential first aid materials.

[0049] The first aid pouch may have a rectangular base to which the first aid materials are attached. For example, the rectangular base may have loops (e.g., elastic loops) or other holders for holding the first aid materials.

[0050] Each edge of the rectangular base may be attached to a flap that may be folded over the rectangular base. Three of the flaps may be configured to be folded over the rectangular base and its contents. The fourth flap may be configured to be folded over the other three flaps, and may be configured to hold the other three flaps in place. For example, an inner surface of the fourth flap may include a surface of a hook-and-loop fastener while the outer surfaces of one or more of the other flaps may include a corresponding cooperating surface of the hook-and-loop fastener. In some cases, one or more pairs of the other flaps may include cooperating hook-and-loop fastener surfaces.

[0051] The fourth flap that may be folded over the other flaps and may include an opening handle or tab (e.g., a loop of cloth material) that extends outward beyond the other flaps when the flaps are folded. The opening handle may enable a user, or a companion of the user, to quickly lift the fourth flap off of the other flaps with a simple pulling motion. In some cases, the pulling motion may enable the other flaps to also unfold. Thus, the contents of the rectangular base may be quickly and conveniently exposed, e.g., facilitating access to the contents in the event of a first aid emergency.

[0052] For example, in some cases, a top flap attached to the upper edge of the rectangular base and two side flaps attached to the right and left sides of the rectangular base may be configured to fold over the rectangular base and its contents. A bottom flap that is attached to the bottom edge of the rectangular base may fold upward over the other flaps, holding them in place. An opening handle of the bottom flap may extend upward beyond the other folded flaps. Thus, pulling downward on the opening handle may remove the bottom flap from the other flaps, and enable or facilitate access to the contents of the rectangular base.

[0053] Fig. 1 schematically illustrates a tactical vest, in accordance with some embodiments of the present invention. Fig. 2 schematically illustrates a belt and the inner surface of a rear panel of the tactical vest shown in Fig. 1. Fig. 3 schematically illustrates a belt of the tactical vest shown in Fig. 2. Fig. 4 schematically illustrates the inner surface of the rear panel shown in Fig. 2.

[0054] Tactical vest 10 includes rear panel 12, configured to be worn on the back of a user’s torso, a front panel 14 (which may include a single section or two or more connected or connectable sections) to be worn on the front of the torso, and belt 16 to be worn about the user’s waist.

[0055] Rear panel 12, front panel 14, or both, may be designed, each to include a personal protection plate (e.g., ceramic plates) that may be inserted into the panels (e.g., into a designated pocket) or otherwise attached to them. Typically such personal protection plates are designed to protect vital organs of the user. For many purposes it is generally understood that the front protection plate is designed to cover the torso from the suprasternal notch beneath the neck and down to the navel. Similarly, the back protection plate is typically designed to be worn in such a way so as to protect the torso from the cervical vertebra C7 and down to the parallel point on the back opposite the navel. Thus, in accordance with some embodiments of the invention the tactical vest is designed so as to allow simple and quick attachment and adjustment of the front and rear panels in order to properly place them on the user’s body. Such feature may be advantageous when considering issuing one-size protection plates to users of different heights and widths. A tactical vest according to some embodiments of the invention is designed to facilitate adjustment of the front and rear panels so that when the tactical vest is worn by a user, the front and rear panels may be properly placed on the user. It is noted, however, that the present invention is not limited to one- size protection plates only.

[0056] Rear panel 12, front panel 14, or both, may include load attachment structure 17 to enable attachment of one or more loads. For example, the structure may include one or more loops, hooks, clips, Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) webbing (e.g., as shown), or other webbing or structure configured to enable attachment of one or more pouches 21 or other types of loads. In particular, a first aid pouch 30 with an opening handle 60 may be attached to tactical vest 10, e.g., to front panel 14. An inner side of rear panel 12, front panel 14, or of both, may include panel padding 28.

[0057] Belt 16 may be fastened about the waist of a user who is to don tactical vest 10. For example, fastening structure 26 of belt 16 may include cooperating hook-and-loop fastener surfaces, buckles, snaps, zippers, buttons, or other fastening structure. Belt 16 may include one or more cushioning pads 28, or other structure to reduce movement or discomfort.

[0058] Rear panel 12 may be connected to front panel 14 using shoulder straps 18. For example, strap connection structure 19 of shoulder straps 18 may connect to corresponding structure on front panel 14. For example, strap connection structure 19 may include a strap as shown, e.g., that includes, in some cases, cooperating hook-and- loop fastener surfaces, which may connect with corresponding connecting structure 23 (e.g., a buckle or rigid loop) on front panel 14.

[0059] Each shoulder strap 18 is located at a distal end of either of strap arms 41. For example, a distal portion of strap arm 41 that extends outward from a strap loop 29 may function as shoulder strap 18 to extend from rear panel 12 to front panel 41.

[0060] When rear panel 12 is connected via shoulder straps 18 to front panel 14, rear panel 12, front panel 14, and shoulder straps 18 may frame a head opening 13. For example, shoulder straps 18 may be attached from rear panel 12 to front panel 14 in preparation for donning tactical vest 10. When a user dons tactical vest 10, head opening 13 may be placed over the user’s head. Front panel 14 may then be secured to rear panel 12 below the user’s arms, and below shoulder straps 18, by engaging side connector l5b, which may be provided on either sides of the vest (for example, passing through openings l5c between panel padding l2b and rear section l2a.

[0061] Side connector l5b may include structure that is connected to rear panel 12 and is configured to engage cooperating structure on front panel 14. Side connector l5b may have an adjustable length, e.g., to enable closing in such a manner (e.g., after fully inhaling) as to enable the user to breath normally when confined by the vest (e.g., allow full lung capacity of the user).

[0062] In some embodiments of the invention, each of the side connectors l5b is linked to a belt l5a that is coupled to and extends across the back of rear panel 12.

[0063] The lengths of shoulder straps 18 may be adjusted via adjustment strap 24. For example, adjustment strap 24 may be fixed to the upward-extending element at a low position, in order to shorten the distance between shoulder straps 18 and belt 16. When it is desired to increase the distance between shoulder straps 18 and belt 16, adjustment strap 24 may be fixed to the upward-extending element at a higher position, in order to increase that distance. Shoulder straps 18 may be held in place by strap loops 29, or other structure. Adjustment strap 24 may pass through strap opening l2d, e.g. between panel padding l2b and rear section l2a to emerge in opening l2e of rear panel 12.

[0064] Rear panel 12 includes a vertical arrangement of inverted adjustment pockets 22. Inverted adjustment pockets 22 may be perpendicularly arranged approximately along vertical midline 27 of rear panel 12. The bottom end of each inverted adjustment pocket 22 includes a pocket opening 22a. Inverted adjustment pockets 22 may fully or partially overlap one another, such that an inverted adjustment pocket 22 extends upward beyond pocket opening 22a of the inverted adjustment pocket 22 that is located immediately above that inverted adjustment pocket 22.

[0065] An inner (forward-facing) surface of each inverted adjustment pocket 22 may include one or more hook-and-loop fastener surfaces. The hook-and-loop fastener surfaces may function to assist in holding in place elements that are inserted into one or more of inverted adjustment pockets 22.

[0066] Upward-extending element 20 extends upward from the rear of belt 16. For example, upward-extending element 20 may include a flat piece of rigid insert (e.g. a polyethylene plate) that extends upward from belt 16. The rigid insert may be covered with cloth or another material. In particular, upward-extending element 20 may include a plurality of horizontal straps 32. In some cases, each horizontal strap 32 may include a hook-and-loop fastener surface. A distal end of upward-extending element 20 may be inserted into a pocket opening 22a of one of inverted adjustment pockets 22. [0067] For example, a depth of each inverted adjustment pocket 22 may be defined as the distance between pocket opening 22a of that inverted adjustment pocket 22 to an upper internal closed end of that inverted adjustment pocket 22. This depth of inverted adjustment pocket 22 may be sufficient such that upward-extending element 20 remains within, and confined by, inverted adjustment pocket 22 during a range of movements (e.g., including bending) that may be expected from a typical user who is donning tactical vest 10.

[0068] An outer surface of upward-extending element 20 may include one or more hook-and-loop fastener surfaces, e.g., on horizontal straps 32. The hook-and-loop fastener surfaces may engage cooperating hook-and-loop fastener surfaces on the inner surfaces of inverted adjustment pockets 22. Engagement of the hook-and-loop fastener surfaces may further hold upward-extending element 20 in place within the selected inverted adjustment pocket 22.

[0069] Selection of an inverted adjustment pocket 22 for insertion of upward-extending element 20 may determine a distance between shoulder straps 18 and belt 16 when tactical vest 10 is worn by a user. The distance between shoulder straps 18 and belt 16 may determine or affect a distribution of weight load between the shoulders and waist of the user. Selection of an tactical vest 10 inverted adjustment pocket 22 for insertion of upward-extending element 20 may be in accordance with one or more of a task that is to be performed by the user of tactical vest 10, the user’s height or other body characteristics, the user’s preference, or other considerations.

[0070] Inverted adjustment pockets 22, and thus upward-extending element 20, may be recessed within panel padding 28. Thus, upward-extending element 20 may be prevented from causing discomfort to the user.

[0071] In some embodiments of the present invention, inverted adjustment pockets 22 may also be utilized to enable adjustment of the lengths of shoulder straps 18.

[0072] Fig. 5A schematically illustrates the inner side of a shoulder strap assembly of the tactical vest shown in Fig. 1. Fig. 5B schematically illustrates the outer side of the shoulder strap assembly shown in Fig. 5A.

[0073] Shoulder strap assembly 40 includes two strap arms 41 that are joined at strap junction 42 (e.g., a Y-shaped junction) to adjustment strap 24. Shoulder strap assembly 40 is configured to be attached to rear panel 12 of tactical vest 10. A distal end of each strap arm 41 functions as a shoulder strap 18 for connecting rear panel 12 to front panel 14.

[0074] For example, each strap arm 41 may be held to a shoulder of rear panel 12 by a strap loop 29 of rear panel 12. Strap arms 41 may be inserted through strap openings l2d of rear panel 12. In this case, a section of each strap arm 41 that is distal to strap loop 29 may function as a shoulder strap 18.

[0075] Strap arms 41 and adjustment strap 24 are joined at strap junction 42. For example, strap arms 41 may be constructed (e.g., woven) as a single (e.g., V-shaped) piece. Adjustment strap 24 may then be connected to the piece that includes strap arms

41 by stitching, riveting, or another connection technique. Alternatively, adjustment strap 24 may be incorporated into a single piece that includes strap arms 41, or may be otherwise connected to strap arms 41 at strap junction 42.

[0076] An outward facing side of adjustment strap 24, e.g., a side of adjustment strap 24 that faces toward the inner surface and inverted adjustment pockets 22 of rear panel 12 when adjustment strap 24 is attached to rear panel 12, includes a projection, e.g., in the form of rigid tongue 44. For example, rigid tongue 44 may be constructed in the form of flat piece of rigid plastic, metal, or another rigid material. The rigid material of rigid tongue 44 may be enclosed in cloth, vinyl, or another material.

[0077] A bottom end of rigid tongue 44 may be attached to the outward facing side of adjustment strap 24, e.g., by stitching or otherwise coupling them together. The attachment to adjustment strap 24 enables the upper portion of rigid tongue 44 to bend outward. Thus, the upper end of rigid tongue 44 may engage with any the available inverted adjustment pockets 22, with any or of the straps 32 located on the inward facing surface of upward-extending element 20 and exposed outside the inverted adjustment pocket into which the end of the upward-extending element is inserted (see Fig. 3) and thus determine the position of the shoulder straps 18 with respect to the belt (in other words - this may be used to determine the distance between the shoulder straps 18 and belt 16).

[0078] For example, when tactical vest 10 is assembled, rear panel 12 may be attached to front panel 14 via shoulder straps 18. Prior to donning tactical vest 10, or when donning tactical vest 10 (e.g., with the help of a companion), adjustment strap 24 may engaged at a lower position. Positioning adjustment strap 24 at a low position may shorten the length of the distal part of each strap arm 41 that functions as a shoulder strap 18, e.g., the section of strap arm 41 that is exposed and that extends from rear panel 12 to front panel 14. Since shoulder straps 18 are attached to adjustment strap 24 at strap junction 42 (via strap arms 41) in a symmetric manner, the low position of adjustment strap 24 may shorten the distance from shoulder straps 18 to belt 16.

[0079] When adjustment strap 24 has been properly positioned to maintain shoulder straps 18 at a desired length, rigid tongue 44 may be inserted into a pocket opening 22a that fits the desired distance between belt 16 and shoulder straps 18. Thus, rigid tongue 44 may engage the corresponding inverted adjustment pocket 22. Engagement of the inverted adjustment pocket 22 may prevent or impede upward pulling of adjustment strap 24, e.g., as a result of forces that tend to pull front panel 14 away from rear panel 12 so as to lengthen shoulder straps 18.

[0080] Shoulder strap assembly 40 may include hook-and-loop fastener surface 46, e.g., on or adjacent to adjustment strap 24. Hook-and-loop fastener surface 46 may engage a cooperating hook-and-loop fastener surface, e.g., on the inward surfaces and on top of inverted adjustment pockets 22, in order to further secure shoulder straps 18 at a desired length.

[0081] When shoulder straps 18 are to be lengthened, rigid tongue 44 may be removed from inverted adjustment pockets 22 and reengaged with a different inverted adjustment pocket 22 or strap 23 on upward-extending element 20.

[0082] A first aid pouch 30 may be attached to tactical vest 10, e.g., to front panel 14 of tactical vest 10.

[0083] Fig. 6A schematically illustrates a first aid pouch, when closed, for attaching to the tactical vest shown in Fig. 1. Fig. 6B schematically illustrates the first aid pouch shown in Fig. 6A, when opened.

[0084] First aid pouch 30 may be configured, e.g., with appropriate attachment structure, to enable attachment of first aid pouch 30 to an outer surface of tactical vest 10, e.g., of front panel 14, rear panel 12, or another outer surface. For example, first aid pouch 30 may be configured to hold one or more first aid materials, such as a sterile bandage, tourniquet, or other materials or objects for use in first aid treatment.

[0085] One or more sides of first aid pouch 30 may include marking to facilitate identification of first aid pouch 30, e.g., by a companion of the user of tactical vest 10, or to emergency or rescue personnel.

[0086] First aid pouch 30 may include pouch base 50. Pouch base 50 may be configured to attach to front panel 14 or to rear panel 12, e.g., to load attachment structure 17 (e.g., in the form of webbing or otherwise).

[0087] For example, pouch base 50 may have a general rectangular shape, as in the example shown, or another shape. Pouch base 50 may include a rigid or semi-rigid material so that pouch base 50 may be resistant to bending.

[0088] Pouch base 50 may be configured to hold one or more first aid materials. For example, pouch base 50 may be provided with one or more holders 52. Holders 52 may be in the form of straps or loops, as shown, or may include other structure (e.g., projections, pockets, latches, indentations, or other structure) that may be utilized to hold one or more types of first aid materials.

[0089] Various flaps of first aid pouch 30 may be folded over pouch base 50 to close first aid pouch 30. Outermost flap 58 is configured to fold over the other, previously folded flaps, and to hold all of the other flaps in place. In the example shown, outermost flap 58 is a bottom flap that is attached to a bottom edge of pouch base 50. In other configurations, the outermost flap may be attached to an upper edge or side edge of pouch base 50.

[0090] For example, the inner surface of outermost flap 58 (e.g., the surface of outermost flap 58 that is to contact the other, previously folded flaps) may include a hook-and-loop fastener surface. The outer surface of each of the other flaps (e.g., that surface of the flap that is visible from the outside when the flap is folded over pouch base 50), top flap 54 and side flaps 56 in the example shown, may include a cooperating hook-and-loop fastener surface that is configured to engage the hook-and-loop fastener surface on outermost flap 58. Thus, when outermost flap 58 is folded over top flap 54 and side flaps 56, the engagement of the cooperating hook-and-loop fastener surfaces may hold all of the flaps in place, closing first aid pouch 30 and securing its contents. [0091] In some cases, the inner surface of each flap, e.g., of top flap 54 and of each side flap 56, may be provided with a hook-and-loop fastener surface similar to that on the inner surface of outermost flap 58. Thus, the inner surface of each flap may engage the outer surface of any flap over which that flap is folded. In this manner, contents of first aid pouch 30 may be additionally secured against unintended opening of first aid pouch 30.

[0092] Alternatively or in addition, flaps of first aid pouch 30 may be otherwise provided with structure for closing, and securing the contents of, first aid pouch 30.

[0093] Outermost flap 58 is provided with opening handle 60. Opening handle 60 is configured to facilitate access to contents of first aid pouch 30. For example, in order to access contents of first aid pouch 30, a user or other person may pull outward on opening handle 60. Pulling outward on opening handle 60 may open outermost flap 58. In some cases, opening outermost flap 58 may cause one or more other flaps to open, or may facilitate actions to open the other flaps.

[0094] In some cases, a pouch may be configured to hold grenades, e.g... that are suitable for loading into a portable grenade launcher.

[0095] Fig. 7 schematically illustrates a grenade holder for insertion into a pouch of the tactical vest shown in Fig. 1.

[0096] Grenade holder 70 may be inserted into a pouch 21 of suitable size. Grenade holder 70 is typically made of a flexible cloth. A plurality of grenade loops 72 are each open at both ends. Each grenade loop 72 is configured to hold a single grenade, e.g., suitable for loading into a grenade launcher. Grenade loops 72 are formed by, and separated by, a plurality of separators 74. For example, separators 74 may be attached by stitching, riveting, or otherwise, to grenade holder 70.

[0097] Fig. 8 schematically illustrates a side connector of the tactical vest shown in Fig. 1.

[0098] For example, side connector l5b may include a male tongue 80 that is configured to be inserted into connector opening 88 of female sleeve 82. Male tongue 80 and female sleeve 82 may include strap loops 84 or other structure to enable attachment of male tongue 80 and female sleeve 82 to rear panel 12 or to front panel 14. [0099] Male tongue 80 includes a plurality of ratchets 86 that are configured to be engaged by pawl 90 of female sleeve 82. In the example shown, ratchets 86 increase in size from distal ratchet 86a to proximal ratchet 86b.

[00100] Pawl 90 includes a release mechanism for lifting pawl 90 off of an engaged ratchet 86. For example, the release mechanism may include a cord that is connected to one or both of holes 92 of pawl 90.

[00101] When closing side connector l5b, a user may initially insert male tongue 80 into connector opening 88 until pawl 90 engages a ratchet 86 in the vicinity of distal ratchet 86a, e.g., to weakly close side connector l5b. When the user is ready to completely close side connector l5b, e.g., while holding a deep breath, the user may push on finger holds 94 and 96 to fully push male tongue 80 into connector opening 88. Thus, a ratchet 86 (e.g., that is larger than the initially engaged ratchet 86) may be strongly engaged by pawl 90.

[00102] The design of the tactical vest, according to some embodiments of the present invention (e.g., as described in the present specification and illustrated in the accompanying figures) renders the assembling and adjustment of the parts of the tactical vest to properly fit the user very simple and quick.

[00103] The user may first place belt 16 and secure it about the waist. Then, the user may link the front panel 14 to the shoulder straps 18 (using strap connector structure 19) of the shoulder strap assembly 40, insert the head through head opening 13 and place the front panel properly in position. Adjustment strap 24 may be temporarily attached to upward-extending element 20 by engaging corresponding hook-and-loop surfaces. Then, the user, or someone else (e.g., a companion) may position rear panel 12 over the user’s back in a proper position and temporarily attach the rear panel 12 to adjustment strap 24 and/or upward-extending element 20 by engaging corresponding hook-and-loop surfaces. When satisfied, the user may remove the vest and perform final engagement of the parts, in the manner described hereinabove (e.g., insert the tip of upward-extending element 20 into the opening 22a of the appropriate inverted adjustment pocket 22, and hook rigid tongue 44 into the opening 22a appropriate inverted pocket 22 or hook it to strap 32 of the upward-extending element 20. The hook- and-loop surfaces that come in contact in this arrangement further enhance the stability and rigidity of the connection between the parts of the vest.

[00104] Another advantage of the design of the tactical vest, according to some embodiments of the invention, is the ability to closely fit the belt and the shoulder strap assembly - that together define a harness - to the body of the user and placing the rear panel and front panel over that harness, makes it very simple and easy to properly adjust the vest to the user’s body and it is very likely that later addition of loads and items onto and into the vest generally should not substantially affect that adjustment in a way that would force the user to disassemble the vest or change the position of parts of the vest.

[00105] Different embodiments are disclosed herein. Features of certain embodiments may be combined with features of other embodiments; thus certain embodiments may be combinations of features of multiple embodiments. The foregoing description of the embodiments of the invention has been presented for the purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. It should be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that many modifications, variations, substitutions, changes, and equivalents are possible in light of the above teaching. It is, therefore, to be understood that the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications and changes as fall within the true spirit of the invention.

[00106] While certain features of the invention have been illustrated and described herein, many modifications, substitutions, changes, and equivalents will now occur to those of ordinary skill in the art. It is, therefore, to be understood that the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications and changes as fall within the true spirit of the invention.