CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
- BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/528,486 filed on Aug. 29, 2011, entitled “Helmet Hat.” The above identified patent application is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety to provide continuity of disclosure.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to protective helmets and fashion accessories. More specifically, the present invention pertains to an outer decorative covering for a protective helmet, and in a preferred embodiment a covering for a horseback riding protective helmet cover that has the outer appearance of a causal or broad-brimmed hat.
Protective athletic head gear is an essential article of equipment for protecting oneself when engaging in impact sports or activities such as skateboarding, bicycle riding, horseback riding and the like. Helmets and other protective head gear are mandated by several sports and regulated by states for activities relating to young children or activities that can impact general public health, such as motorcycle riding. However, it is recognized that these articles of protection are not always desired or suitable to wear in all settings. A large number of individuals refuse to wear such head gear while bicycle riding, motorcycle riding or horseback riding simply because of the outward look or appearance they project while donned. It is generally accepted that it is more comfortable to be free of tight fitting and encompassing head gear while engaging in these activities, however when the situation arises that the user is struck, falls at speed or is otherwise in a position of peril, these articles are an invaluable source of head protection and for the continued health of the user after the incident, to the point of preventing long-term injury and even death in some cases.
Helmets are designed to absorb and spread the impact energy of a collision or impact with the helmet that would otherwise be placed on the user's skull. Many helmets incorporate sophisticated means of first spreading the load and then dissipating and attenuating the impact energy through deformation of an underlying layer of compressible material. The outer portion of the helmet further protects against shearing loads and abrasions that lead to scratches and superficial damage to the user's head and face. In sports, helmets are worn to absorb impact loads from a high velocity sports ball or from collisions with other combatants during game play. In riding, skating and vehicle sports, helmets prevent injury from impact with the ground, high velocity airborne debris and from secondary impacts during a vehicle collision. These devices are intended to limit the damage to the brain and skull by preventing cranial fractures and further preventing impacts of the brain against the cranial wall, which can lead to neurological injury, concussions and life-threatening swelling after the impact.
Despite these benefits, many individuals refuse to wear helmets if not required, many simply because of the outward appearance provided when wearing a protective helmet. It is desired therefore, to address a need in the art of protective head gear and to address this population of individuals by providing a means to shroud the outward appearance and the presence of a donned helmet, while still allowing the helmet to be worn as intended for protection. It is further desired to provide those who regularly wear protective helmets with a means to decorate and improve the outward appearance of the helmet beyond one that is clearly meant for protection of the user.
The present invention provides an external cover for a protective helmet, preferably a horseback riding helmet or helmet of similar style, wherein the cover shrouds the helmet from view and provides an outward appearance of a wide brimmed hat or stylish hat not associated specifically with protection. In a preferred embodiment, the helmet cover is that of a brimmed, cowboy-style hat having a tall crown portion or body and a brimmed portion. A plurality of connectors about the helmet periphery provide a means to secure the interior of the hat body to the exterior of the helmet shell, providing a user riding horseback with a helmet styled as a cowboy hat rather than an equestrian helmet. Several embodiments are disclosed for the purpose of attaching the cover to the helmet.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Devices have been disclosed in the prior art that relate to helmet covers. These include devices that have been patented and published in patent application publications, and generally relate to covers of hard hats and other helmets for protecting the helmet, adding adornments or personalization. The present invention provides an equestrian helmet cover that provides an outer appearance of a standard cowboy or wide-brimmed hat, facilitating the use of a helmet without the accompanying outward appearance. The forgoing is a list of devices deemed most relevant to the present disclosure, which are herein described for the purposes of highlighting and differentiating the unique aspects of the present invention, and further highlighting the drawbacks existing in the prior art.
Specifically, U.S. Pat. No. 5,887,289 to Theoret discloses a safety cap that comprises a unitary shell, a domed shape and a rear access for passage of a wearer's pony tail. An air permeable fabric cover covers the shell for thermal insulation, aesthetics and for preventing articles of debris or insects from entering the ventilation holes within the helmet shell. The cover folds around the exposed edge of the shell body and is attached thereto using hook and loop fastener bands, while the rear of the cover includes an adjuster element for conforming to the shape and size of the shell. The Peters device is directed to a thermal covering and device to prevent debris from setting into the apertures in a protective helmet, rather than provide a means to fashionably decorate or shroud the presence of a horseback riding helmet.
Another such device is U.S. Pat. No. 5,481,759 to Rinaldi, which discloses an expandable baseball hat cover that is adapted to conform over the top of various protective helmets and head shapes. The hat comprises a flexible inner material and an outer skirt portion adapted to surround the helmet and secure the hat thereover. A bill from the cover or a rigid bill from the protective helmet may be employed such that the user's eyes are shaded while outdoors in sunlight, while a fastening means provides further means to secure the cover and helmet together beyond the elastic band securement if desired. The Rinaldi device, while disclosing a helmet cover, describes an elastic baseball hat cover, while the present invention contemplates a cowboy or large-brimmed hat that is fastenably secured to a horseback riding helmet for an improved outer appearance and a means of providing sunshade to the user.
U.S. Published Patent Application Publication No. 2008/0052804 to Woodward is another such device that discloses an ear-insulating garment configured for close-fitted headwear, comprising rear strap and overhead strap that attach an ear insulating member to the user's head such that the straps and the members do not interfere with headwear such as cowboy hats, helmets and baseball caps. The ear insulating member wraps around the back of the user's head and covers the user's ears for warmth, and the thickness is such that normal headwear is not interfered with during deployment of the ear cover device. The Woodward device relates more to an underside structure that is covered by a hat of the user's choice, rather than a new helmet cover that is adapted to conceal or disguise the presence of an underlying helmet.
Further, U.S. Pat. No. 6,061,836 to Petersz discloses a slip-on, elastic fabric cover that fits over a hard hat and wrap around the underside of the hard hat shell, securing thereto using an elastic band that is positioned along the inner side of the helmet. A stiffened segment along the cover provides a means to place a logo or similar visual media on the cover. The cover provides many different suppliers and workers to utilize common helmets with differing logos for differentiation purposes and for personalization thereof. The cover of Petersz is one that is simply a shell over a protective helmet, rather than one that provides increased utility or concealment of the helmet's presence. The present invention provides a fashionable cover over a horse riding helmet, and one that allows a hat having an outward sunscreen brim to increase the utility of the helmet beyond protection.
Similar to the Petersz device is U.S. Published Patent Application Publication No. 2008/0222782 to Stokes, which describes a decorative and removable helmet cover that comprises several sections and adapted to snugly conform to a bare helmet. An elastic rim secures the base of the cover to the underside of the helmet, while the cover itself may be adorned with different patterns, logos or indicia as desired. The snug fit prevents any flutter as the helmet moves through the air, preventing noise generation and drag on the user's head. The Stokes device is one that provides a closely fitted cover over a helmet in a similar fashion as the Petersz device, however the Stokes device is conformal to the helmet to provide a snug fit. The present invention is not concerned with outward projections, brims or other non-conforming areas of the helmet cover, and is more concerned with reducing the visual signature of the underlying helmet by providing an outwardly decorative or useful hat design.
Finally, U.S. Published Patent Application Publication No. 2001/0004773 to Moore discloses a slip-on helmet cover for a bicycle helmet that includes downwardly directed ear flaps for coverage of the user's ears in cold weather and when riding a bicycle. The flaps comprise slots through which the helmet straps are routed, whereby tightening of the helmet straps compress the ear flaps against the user's ears for thermal insulation. While providing a helmet cover having improved warmth for a user's ears, the Moore device fails to disclose a helmet cover having an outward appearance of that of a brimmed hat or similar fashionable or utilitarian hat design. The present invention provides a cover that is both functional and decorative, providing a means to conceal a protective helmet while deployed.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides a decorative and functional cover for an equestrian riding helmet, wherein the outer appearance shrouds the presence of the helmet and provides the functionality of a wide-brimmed helmet commonly used by horseback riders and cowboys. It is submitted that the present invention substantially diverges in design elements from the prior art, and consequently it is clear that there is a need in the art for an improvement to existing equestrian helmet cover devices. In this regard the instant invention substantially fulfills these needs.
In view of the foregoing disadvantages inherent in the known types of helmet covers now present in the prior art, the present invention provides a new equestrian helmet cover wherein the same can be utilized for providing convenience for the user when covering, protecting and shrouding a helmet while riding a horse or engaging in a similar activity requiring a protective helmet.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved equestrian helmet cover device that has all of the advantages of the prior art and none of the disadvantages.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a equestrian helmet cover that is an outer covering for a protective helmet that conceals the presence of the helmet thereunder.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a equestrian helmet cover that changes the outer appearance of a protective helmet from one that is purely utilitarian to one that is more decorative or fashionable.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a equestrian helmet cover that transforms an equestrian helmet into one that resembles a wide brimmed or cowboy hat, wherein the cover includes several connector means that can be adapted to any helmet type having a hard outer shell.
BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF THE DRAWINGS
Other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
Although the characteristic features of this invention will be particularly pointed out in the claims, the invention itself and manner in which it may be made and used may be better understood after a review of the following description, taken in connection with the accompanying drawings wherein like numeral annotations are provided throughout.
FIG. 1 shows a frontal perspective view of the present invention in a working position, covering an equestrian helmet and providing a decorative outer appearance for the user.
FIG. 2 shows a cross section side view of the present cover in a working position over an equestrian helmet.
FIG. 3 shows an exploded view of an embodiment of the cover connector means.
FIG. 4 shows an underside view of an embodiment of the cover that includes a high friction interior surface to prevent movement of the cover while donned.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
FIG. 5 shows an exploded view of yet another embodiment of the present cover, wherein a segmented cover separately deploys a crow portion and brim portion that are both connectable to the underlying helmet.
Reference is made herein to the attached drawings. Like reference numerals are used throughout the drawings to depict like or similar elements of the equestrian helmet cover. For the purposes of presenting a brief and clear description of the present invention, the preferred embodiment will be discussed as used for changing the appearance and shrouding a protective helmet and providing improved sunshade thereto. The figures are intended for representative purposes only and should not be considered to be limiting in any respect.
Referring now to FIG. 1, there is shown a frontal perspective view of the present invention in a working state, covering a protective helmet and providing the outward appearance of a wide brimmed hat. The device comprises an outer hat cover 11 having an upstanding crown portion 21 having a lower brim section 14, along with a plurality of connector means 13 along the interior of the crown 21 for attachment of the cover 11 to the underlying protective helmet 12. It is desired to disclose an equestrian helmet cover that conceals the helmet 12 from view when donned, providing an outward appearance of a cowboy or wide brimmed hat 11 rather than the protective helmet. Equestrian helmets are protective devices having a hardened outer shell and a compressible or otherwise energy attenuating interior lining. The helmet 12 attaches to the user's head via a chin strap 15, while the body of the helmet is larger in diameter than the user's head to provide a layer of protection in the event of a fall or collision. The cover 11 of the present invention is adapted to connect to the outer surface of the helmet shell using connectors 13 that affix to the helmet shell or connect to the interior surface of the cover 11. In this way, the interior of the covering 11 is securely fastened to the helmet and will not disengage therefrom during high speed activities due to rapid movement or during periods of high wind.
The connectors are elements that affix along one surface to the helmet and provide a means of connecting to the cover along its interior surface. This includes adhesive connectors that temporarily provide mounting points for the cover, whereafter the connector elements 13 can be removed if the cover 11 is no longer desired. It is contemplated that a number of different adhesive connectors may be utilized, including hook and loop fasteners, adhesive snaps or other suitable connectors that affix first to the helmet outer surface and the provide a means to couple the interior surface of the cover 11 to the connector. The cover 11 interior may include corresponding hook and loop strips or snaps that are aligned with the connector means on the helmet, allowing the user to pull the cover over the helmet 12 from overhead and press against the outer surface of the cover to affix the connectors and thus secure the cover 11 to the helmet 12.
Referring now to FIG. 2, there is shown a cross section side view of the equestrian helmet cover of the present invention in a working state, affixed to the exterior shell of an donned helmet 12. As shown, the cover 11 includes an upstanding crown portion 21 that is adapted to provide an interior volume that accepts the user's head and the underlying helmet 12. The base of the crown portion connects to a circumferential brim 14 that wraps around the user's head from wind, sun and debris shielding for the user's eyes. Connecting the cover 11 is a plurality of connector elements 13 that provide for securement of the cover 11, wherein the cover connects at each connector location along the helmet outer surface. Once affixed, the cover is securely constrained to the helmet, resisting separation or relative sliding during use. The cover does not affect the natural and intended position of the underlying helmet 12, and therefore does not detract from its goal of user head protection in a collision or fall. The connectors 13 preferably comprise strips of connecting material that allow the user to reach forcibly compress the cover to the connectors and further allow the user's fingers to separated the connector strips when removing the cover.
Referring now to FIG. 3, there is shown an exploded underside view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention, wherein a helmet securement strap 16 is provided. The strap 16 is adapted to secure around the perimeter of the helmet and provide a plurality of securement connectors 13 along its length. The length of the strap and thus its compression of the helmet is adjustable via the free end 18 of the strap being placed through a slide adjuster 17, which tightens and loosens the strap around the helmet via adjustment of the strap circumference. Corresponding securement locations 13 on the cover interior surface align with the strap connectors 13 to secure the cover 11 over the helmet, while compression from the strap retains the cover position while in use. It is preferred that the connectors are hook and loop fastener strips, however it is contemplated that connectors of differing type may be substituted as deemed sufficient by one skilled in the art.
Referring now to FIG. 4, there is shown an underside view of yet another embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, the interior surface of the hat crown portion 21 includes a circumferential ring 16 that is detachable or connected to the cover 11, wherein the ring includes a high friction inner surface 20. The material along this surface is adapted to create a high friction interface between a hard shell helmet and the ring 16, such that individual connectors are not required to affix the cover thereover. The ring is flexible or adjustable to account for different helmet sizes and the contours of the helmet while being pull thereover. The adjustability can be inherent in the strap 16 material, or further it is contemplated that a baseball cap style snap or strap adjuster may be provided to loosen and tighten the strap 16, and therefore the allowed circumference of the crown portion 21 connected to the helmet.
Referring now to FIG. 5, there is shown an exploded side view of another contemplated embodiment of the present helmet cover 11. In this embodiment, the cover 11 is comprised of a separable crow portion 21 and brim portion 14, which form two components that independently secured to the helmet 12 using an embodiment of the connector means 13 previously disclosed. This embodiment allows the user to more easily access the cover and position it accordingly along the exterior of the helmet 12, which can be difficult when the cover is a unitary structure and must be fitted evenly and levelly around the helmet while engaging the connectors 13. This embodiment contemplates placement of either element first over helmet, followed by the second, wherein the order of operations is not necessarily set but determinative based on the user's preferences. The user may apply the brim 14 to the helmet, thereafter attaching the crown 21 such that the crown and brim are aligned and abutting against one another to appear as one. Or alternatively the opposite order of assembly may be completed with the same goal.
Protective helmets and other head gear protect a user's head from impacts, scrapes and contact with hard surfaces while donned for the purpose of preventing injury. However, a large percentage of adults disregard protective head gear because of its outward appearance. Without these protective devices, however, individuals are at a high risk of incurring moderate to severe head injuries while participating in various physical, outdoor and motorsport activities. Traditional helmets may offer protection against impact and injury, but many users leave them behind because they are unattractive or not suitable for the appearance they wish to project while engaging in the potentially dangerous activity. The present invention is designed to effectively and fashionably disguise helmets worn for protection, and in particular provide a covering for an equestrian helmet. The cover device features a fashionable or utilitarian hat made of fabric, woven straw, cotton, or other shapeable material, and includes an upstanding body structure and a wide brim. The expanse of the brim shields users from the sun, and may also conceal any portions of the helmet that are not completely covered by the body portion or cap portion of the cover. Users may curl or flatten the brim as desired to create varying degrees of shade, or to create different looks. It is desired to disclose a helmet cover device that may be beneficial when used for riding bicycles, playing various sports, riding horses or engaging in motorsport activities requiring head protection.
It is therefore submitted that the instant invention has been shown and described in what is considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiments. It is recognized, however, that departures may be made within the scope of the invention and that obvious modifications will occur to a person skilled in the art. With respect to the above description then, it is to be realized that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts of the invention, to include variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.
Therefore, the foregoing is considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and changes will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation shown and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.