Patent application title: Mountain Tool Holster
Darren Johann Fraser Jakal (Calgary, CA)
IPC8 Class: AA45F514FI
Class name: Article held by receiver receiver mounted on, or formed as part of, means at least partially encircling the torso for attaching carrier to bearer receiver separate from attaching means
Publication date: 2013-10-31
Patent application number: 20130284784
A system or device for securely holding mountain tools, such as ice
axes/ice tools and hiking, skiing or avalanche probe poles (and other
such tools), on a backpack in a manner that allows the user to easily and
conveniently acquire the tool when needed without first removing the
backpack. This is applicable in emergency situations such as a crevasse
fall where an ice axe in needed for preparing a rescue anchor or in the
event of an avalanche where a probe pole is needed for a victim search.
The system also allows for easy and convenient stowing of mountain tools
without removal of the backpack as the situation dictates in
non-emergency situations, such as after using the probe pole to probe for
crevasses when crossing a glacier or after needing an ice tool for
security when a repelling (abseiling) onto an icy stance or when stashing
hiking poles when switching from hiking to scrambling.
1. A tool attachment device for generic backpacks (or new backpack
designs that features the device) that is comprised of: a holster
component that is located near the hip of the user and is designed to
hold the distal end of certain types of mountain tools (those that have a
protuberance such as a pick on a ice axe/tool, or a tool that has an
extension attached to it) securely to the backpack; a loop component that
is attached to the lower portion of the backpack and is also designed to
hold the distal end of certain types of mountain tools (those that do not
a protuberance such as hiking, skiing and probe poles) securely to the
backpack; a shaft restraining strap that retains the shaft (or long axis)
of a tool vertically along the side of a backpack and is either of fixed
length or is adjustable (to quickly and easily adjust to different size
tools and for making the loop larger to pass through items with large
ends) and may be deformable (have stretch and memory) so as to provides a
resistance force that must be overcome keeping the distal end of the tool
in the holster until the user requires the tool; and a safety strap and
strap latch (or a secondary type of safety strap that is attached to
tools that do not have a protuberance) that further secures the distal
end of the tool at the holster (or loop) for assurance against accidental
lose of the tool.
1A. The holster portion of the design according to claim 1 that may be manufactured out of a variety of potential materials (such as but not limited to, injected or molded plastic or resin, formed leather of other robust materials) as long as said material is rugged enough to withstand the abuse of sharp tools being repeatedly inserted removed and resists breaking (so as to protect the user from the sharp end of the mountain tools) and is capable of having the safety latch attached or molded into it.
1B. The loop portion of the design according to claim 1 that may be manufactured out of a variety of potential materials (such as but not limited to injected or molded plastic or resin, formed leather of other robust flexible materials) as long as said material is rugged enough to withstand the abuse of tools being repeatedly inserted and removed and stiff enough to hold its shape and not collapse when the distal end of a tools is forced through it.
1C. The shaft retaining strap according to claim 1 that; is attached to the pack is a variety of ways (such as but not limited to screws, rivets or other such means); manufactured out of a variety of potential robust materials (such as but not limited to, plastic tubing, stretch or shock cord, tension or compression springs, webbing, cord, etc); is either adjustable (by having an adjustment mechanism such as, but limited to, a ladder lock at one or both ends); or is of fixed length and made out of a material with elastic memory (so that it can be stretched to allow the user to get the tool into the holster or loop and to also create a force that keeps the distal end of a tool with a protuberance such as an ice axe or ice tool "pushed" into the holster portion of the device or "gripped" in the loop if the device does not have a protuberance).
1D. The safety strap, (and secondary safety strap that is attached to some mountain tools that do not nave a protuberance), and strap latch according to claim 1 that may be made out of a variety of materials as long as said materials for the safety strap (or secondary safety strap) have elastic memory (such as, but not limited to, elastic/shock cord, stretch tubing, etc) and can be stretched over the loop and tool end (those tools without a protuberance) or looped over the safety latch (for those tools that have a protuberance) that can be made out of a variety of materials (such as but not limited to molded plastic or resin, wood, plastic or light alloy, etc) as long as said materials are capable of being attached to the holster component of the device.
2. A tool attachment device that holds the tool in a manner (vertically along the side of the pack and against the hip-belt) that allows quick and easy one-handed deployment of the tool without removing the backpack and conversely allows the user to stow or attach the tool to the backpack in a safe and secure manner without first removing the backpack.
3. A tool attachment device that holds a mountain tool on a backpack in such a manner as to: protect the user from the sharp and dangerous parts of tools (such as ice axes and ice tools) by holding the shaft along the side of the pack while trapping the sharp pick end of the tool against the wearer's hip in a robust protective sheath and; protect the user in the event of a fall by holding the tool tightly to the body so that the tool will take the brunt of the impact forces, while also reducing the potential for the tool to be ripped from the backpack to become a projectile that may cause injury.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application claims priority to US Patent Publication Number US-2010-0193558-A1 entitled "Mountain Tool Holster" published Aug. 5, 2010, U.S. Non-Provisional patent application No. 12/658,108 entitled "Mountain Tool Holster" filed on Feb. 3, 2010, and U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/206,822 entitled "Mountain Tool Holster" filed on Feb. 5, 2009 the subject matter which is herein incorporated by reference.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Field of Invention
 The invention relates generally to devices and systems used to attach equipment, such as climbing, hiking or other tools/implements, to backpacks and the like. In particular the invention relates to a holster type device used to firmly and safely secure an ice axe, avalanche probe pole, ski pole or other tool/implement to a backpack in a manner that is both novel and clearly demonstrates improvement over the prior art.
 In climbing, hiking, skiing, snowboarding and other pursuits it is common for participants to carry tools on the outside of a backpack that has some means for the attachment of tools. An example is seen in the device patented by Anscher (U.S. Pat. No. 5,435,045). Typically most attachment mechanisms are located on the front of the backpack (opposite the side of the backpack that is against the user's back), thus placing the tools out of reach as long as the backpack is being worn. It is also common for users to be required to perform tasks in sub-freezing temperatures and participants often wear additional warm layers, gloves (or mittens) and head gear (hats, goggles) that can hamper the fine motor movements and unobstructed vision required to operate current state-of-the-art systems.
 Travel in the mountains often requires the use of safety tools such as ice axes, ice tools and snow probes that typically have sharp points that can present a hazard to the user. These tools are usually transported attached to a backpack well away from the user until they are needed. In an emergency situation, such as a crevasse fall or avalanche, these tools must be deployed quickly, yet the current state-of-the-art and standard practice does not allow the tool to be quickly and easily deployed as the backpack it is being transported upon must first be removed to gain access to the tool. This slows down any emergency response and can be awkward, difficult and potentially dangerous. Conversely there are times when a user no longer needs a tool and may wish to stow it upon the backpack. Again the pack must first be removed to perform this operation. In many circumstances this is difficult and time consuming and is therefore less than optimal.
 Other attachment devices exist that place the tools closer to the user on the side of the pack, but due to the nature of these attachment systems the tools are not easily removed (such as with one gloved hand) while the backpack is still being worn by the user. Likewise, re-attaching the tool to the backpack requires an amount of dexterity that necessitates that the backpack be removed.
 Regardless of where the tool is attached to the backpack in current state-of-the-art systems (the front of the pack or the side of the pack) the tool is at a distance from the body and in the event of a fall the tool is not well positioned to help protect the user from ground impact forces. In fact the tool may be dislodged (or ripped) from the pack thus becoming a projectile that could result in injury to the user.
 Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide an attachment system that holds the tool safely and securing to the backpack, that allows the user access to tools while wearing the backpack in sub-freezing conditions and is positioned to help protect the user in the event of a fall. Further, it would be desirable to be able to re-attach a tool to the backpack while wearing cold weather gear (extra layers, gloves, head gear, etc) without first removing the backpack.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The general idea of the invention is to provide a mechanism to safely and securely fasten a mountain tool (ice axe, ice tool, probe pole, skiing/hiking pole, fishing rod, etc) to any backpack (a generic backpack or a new backpack design that integrates the invention into the backpack) in a way that allows the wearer of the backpack to quickly and easily retrieve the tool for immediate use, without first removing the backpack. Conversely, the general idea of the invention is to allow the user to easily (one handed while wearing gloves) safely and securely re-attach a tool to any backpack without first removing the backpack.
 It is also the general idea of the invention to not only reduce the potential danger inherent to many of the mountain tools, but to use the strong and rigid nature of these tool to help protect the user from the impact of a fall by strategically placing the tools on the body. Holding the tool close to the hip and along the back means that not only can the tool directly protect the user in the event of a fall by physically taking the brunt of an impact, but this placement on the body also means that there is little room for acceleration forces to develop between the user and the tool if the tool is ripped from the backpack.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
 FIG. 1 shows a side view of a generic backpack with the device components attached and labelled.
 FIG. 2 shows the sequence of use for a mountain tool with a protuberance (in this instance an ice axe) using the holster component of the system. To stow a tool: read from left to right. To remove a tool: read from right to left.
 FIG. 3 shows the sequence of use for a mountain tool without a protuberance (in this instance an avalanche probe pole) using the loop component of the system. To stow a tool: read from left to right. To remove a tool, read from right to left.
 FIG. 4 shows the device in use with a tool with a protuberance, in this case an ice axe.
 FIG. 5 shows the device in use with a tool without a protuberance, in this case an avalanche probe pole.
 FIG. 6 shows the device in use with a tool with its own strap, in this case the wrist strap on a typical ski/hike pole.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 The device described consists of three main components that are mechanically attached to any generic backpack (FIG. 1, Part 1) or integrated into a new and novel backpack (not shown). Protection is sought to cover all future embodiments of the device; from systems designed to retrofit existing backpacks to new designs that integrate the invention directly into a new backpack.
 The first main component of the described device is the "holster" (FIG. 1, Part 2). The end of the holster that is towards the main body of the backpack (away for the user) is integrated into or attached to the backpack through mechanical means (such as, but not limited to, being sewn, glued or riveted). The other end of the holster is either also mechanically fastened to the hip-belt (such as, but not limited to being, sewn, glued or riveted) or this end may be configured with an adjustment mechanism and integrated into the hip belt tensioning system (not shown) or this end may be slotted and the hip-belt of the backpack may be threaded through this slot (FIG. 1, Part 2C). The slot serves to hold the distal end of the mountain tool (in this case the pick of an ice axe) tight to the hip while also allowing the holster to self-adjust to an optimal position by sliding along the hip-belt as it is being tightened around the waist. The holster has two sub-components. These are: a "safety strap" (FIG. 1, Part 2A) that is attached to the backpack in a variety of ways but whatever mechanism is used the two anchor points of this strap are positioned far enough apart to make a loop large enough for use with gloved hands; and a "safety latch" to hook the safety strap onto (FIG. 1, Part 2B).
 The second component of the described device is the "loop" (FIG. 1, Part 3) that is attached by mechanical means (such as, but not limited to, a rivet, glue, bolt, etc or integrated into a new backpack design) and runs from the hip area of the backpack towards the front of the backpack. Another type of "safety strap" (FIG. 6, Part 6) is used to secure some tools to the loop and this is explained in more detail below.
 The third component of the described device is the "shaft restraining strap" (FIG. 1, Part 4) that is attached (or integrated into a new backpack design) along the side of the backpack by mechanical means such as, but limited to, a rivet, glue, bolt, etc.
 The holster (FIG. 1, Part 2) functions to both hold tools that have a protuberance (such as an ice axe or ice tool) tight to the hip, while at the same time protecting the user from the sharp end of the tool. Therefor the holster must be made out of robust and durable materials to protect against chronic and acute failure. The holster also has the safety latch (FIG. 1, Part 2B) attached or molded to it. A safety strap (Part 2A) fashioned out of stretch material is hooked over the latch to further secure the tool to the backpack (in use FIG. 2).
 The third portion of the invention is the shaft-restraining strap (FIG. 1, Part 4). There are many potential embodiments of this component (adjustable and static, non-adjustable and elastic, adjustable and elastic, etc) but all hold the shaft of the tool (the long axis) tightly against the side of the backpack and away from the user's head. One embodiment uses the elastic nature of some materials to provide a slight continual forward pressure on the tool shaft, pushing the distal end of the tool into the holster portion of the device (this cold be also be accomplished with a static adjustable strap). This passive force must be overcome to first get the end of the tool into the holster and conversely this force must also be overcome to get the end of the tool out of the holster (in the static embodiment the user would have to lengthen and shorten the strap to get the same effect). The shaft-restraining strap can either be of a fixed length of elastic material and attached to the backpack on both ends or it can be of adjustable length by having an adjustment mechanism (such as a ladder lock or other type of adjustment mechanism as seen in FIG. 1 Part 4A) attached between one or both ends of the strap and the backpack. This adjustment allows for both instantaneous optimization of strap length to fit a variety of different tools and also allows for instant lengthening of the strap to make a loop large enough for such things as baskets on ski and hike poles to easily pass through. It is the intention of this application to protect all possible embodiments of the shaft retaining strap (one-end adjustable and static; non-adjustable and elastic; one-end adjustable and elastic; two-end adjustable and static; etc).
 The holster part (FIG. 1, Part 2) of the device is specifically shaped and constructed to either accommodate the pick of an ice axe, ice tool or whippet (a ski pole with a ice pick built in), however it may also be shaped and constructed to accommodate other types of tools that are not shown. Other shapes may be devised to manage other tools in activities that also use a backpack to transport tools such, but not limited to, fishing rods, rifles, axes, saws, etc. This constitutes an obvious extension of the invention and protection is sought to cover these embodiments.
 The loop component (FIG. 1, Part 4) is designed to securely hold certain types of tools that do not have protuberances like the pick on an ice axe or ice tool. Tools such as a avalanche probe pole or ski pole are held securely to the backpack by using the shaft-restraining strap in the same manner as the ice axe example, however because the distal end does not have a protuberance that will slide into the holster the loop is used to hold the distal end of the tool in place against the backpack. These tools are kept from sliding out of the loop in one of two ways. The first way is that another type of safety strap (FIG. 5, Part 5) is used that is attached to the tool itself. This safety strap is also made of elastic material and is stretched and routed over the loop component of the device and then over the end of the tool itself thus holding the tool to the loop (in use FIG. 3). Other tools such as hiking and skiing poles have integrated wrist straps build into them. These wrist straps are used in the same manner as the safety strap in that they are routed over the loop and then over the end of the tool thus securing them to the loop (FIG. 6, Part 6).
 Alternatively it is also possible to create an extension (not shown) designed to attach to the mountain tools that are essentially straight, such as a probe pole, in order to make them easier to secure in the holster. The extension would act like the pick of an ice axe and be held in the holster by the passive resistance of the shaft restraining strap keeping the straight tool from slipping out of the holster. It is an intention of this patent application to also protect this embodiment of the invention.
 USE (FIG. 2, read right to left): To deploy a tool that has a protuberance (such as a ice axe or ice tool) while wearing the backpack the user first disengages the safety strap that secures the tool to the holster. The tool is then pushed rearward against the resistance of the shaft-restraining strap until the end is clear of the holster. The tool is swung forward releasing all resistance of the shaft-retaining strap and the tool is easily removed.
 USE (FIG. 2, read left to right): To stow a tool that has a protuberance (such as a ice axe or ice tool) while wearing the backpack the user reverses the process by sliding the shaft of the tool under the shaft-restraining strap, adjusting the length of the shaft-restraining strap if using an adjustable version, rotating the tool into position and exerting gentle pressure against the shaft restraining strap so as to be able to insert the distal portion of the tool (the pick of an ice axe in this case) into the accepting holster. The tool will already be quite secure as the passive resistance of the shaft-restraining strap causes the distal end of the tool to remain in the holster, however an additional level of security is created by hooking the safety strap over the safely latch.
 USE (FIG. 3, read right to left): To deploy a tool that does not have a protuberance (such as an avalanche probe pole) while wearing the backpack the user first disengages the secondary type of safety strap that secures the tool to the loop. The tool is then pushed upward until the end is clear of the loop. The tool is swung forward releasing all resistance of the shaft-retaining strap and the tool is easily removed.
 USE (FIG. 3, read left to right): To stow a tool that does not have a protuberance (such as a avalanche probe pole) while wearing the backpack the user reverses the process by sliding the shaft of the tool under the shaft-restraining strap, adjusting the length of the shaft-restraining strap if using an adjustable version, rotating the tool into position and exerting gentle pressure against the shaft restraining strap so as to be able to insert the distal portion of the tool into the accepting loop. The tool is secured from sliding out of the loop by routing the secondary safety strap that is attached to the tool over the loop and then over the end of the tool itself.
Patent applications by Darren Johann Fraser Jakal, Calgary CA
Patent applications in class Receiver separate from attaching means
Patent applications in all subclasses Receiver separate from attaching means