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1. WO2006041894 - HYDRATION SYSTEM

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

WHAT IS CLAIMED IS:

1. A reservoir pouch for a personal hydration system, the pouch comprising:
a flexible bladder having at least one wall defining an interior cavity, the wall having an opening;
a first connector portion mounted to the wall peripherally to the opening and defining an outlet from the interior cavity, the first connector portion including a duct having a closure that can be moved from a closed position such that the closure prevents fluid from flowing from the interior into the duct to an open position such that the closure permits fluid to flow from the interior through the duct; and
a second connector portion that is configured to mate with the first connector portion, the second connector portion having an end that is shaped to connect to a drink tube and an opposite end that is configured to be received in the duct of the first connector member in a mated condition and move the closure to an open position to permit fluid to flow from the interior cavity through the first and second connector portions.

2. The pouch of claim 1 , further comprising a peelable layer mounted to a proximal end of the first connector portion to cover the duct.

3. The pouch of claim 1, wherein the second connector portion is shaped to connect to an end of an elongate, flexible drinking tube.

4. The pouch of claim 1 , wherein the pouch further includes the second connector portion, wherein the second connector portion is removably secured in an unmated relation to the first connector portion.

5. The pouch of claim 3, wherein the second connector portion is secured to the first connector portion by a breakable tab.

6. The pouch of claim 1, wherein the closure includes a cap that secures in a snap-fit manner over the duct in the closed position and which is removed to the open position when pushed toward the interior of the bladder.

7. The pouch of claim 6, wherein the closure further includes at least one resilient leg having one end mounted to the cap and another end fixed relative to the duct to tether the cap when in the open position.

8. The pouch of claim 1, wherein connector includes an outer wall that generally surrounds the duct and a floor that extends between the duct and the outer wall.

9. The pouch of claim 1, wherein the closure is non-recloseable.

10. The pouch of claim 1 , wherein the wall of the bladder includes multiple layers.

11. The pouch of claim 10, wherein the wall includes an exterior layer made of a laminate film.

12. The pouch of claim 10, wherein the wall includes an interior layer made of polyethylene.

13. The pouch of claim 1 , wherein the pouch contains a beverage.

14. The pouch of claim 1 , wherein the pouch does not contain a refill port.

15. The pouch of claim 1 , including a locking mechanism to secure the first connector portion and second connector portion in the mated condition.

16. The pouch of claim 12, wherein the locking mechanism includes ramped portions on one of the connector portions and corresponding detents on the other connector portion, wherein the ramped portions engage the corresponding detents in the mated condition.

17. A reservoir pouch for a personal hydration system, the pouch comprising:
a bladder having at least one wall defining an interior cavity, the wall having an opening;
an outlet fitting disposed within the opening in the wall, wherein the outlet fitting is adapted to be coupled to an end of an elongate flexible drinking tube, and wherein the outlet fitting can be selectively deployed from a closed an aseptically sealed state to an open state; and
a liquid beverage aseptically sealed within the interior cavity.

18. The pouch of claim 17, wherein the outlet fitting comprises:
a first connector portion mounted to the wall peripherally to the opening and defining an outlet from the interior cavity, the first connector portion including a receptacle duct having a closure that can be moved from a closed position such that the closure prevents fluid from flowing from the interior into the duct to an open position such that the closure permits fluid to flow from the interior through the duct; and
a second connector portion that is configured to mate with the first connector portion, the second connector portion having an end that is shaped to connect to an elongate, flexible drink tube and an opposite end that is configured to be received in the duct of the first connector member in a mated condition and move the closure to an open position to permit fluid to flow from the interior cavity through the first and second connector portions.

19. The pouch of claim 17, further comprising a peelable layer mounted to cover a proximal end of the outlet fitting.

20. The pouch of claim 17, wherein the receptacle duct is non-reclosable after the second connector portion has been mated to the first connector portion.

21. The pouch of claim 17, wherein the wall of the bladder has multiple layers including at least an interior layer and an exterior layer.

22. The pouch of claim 21 , wherein the exterior layer is comprised of a laminate film.

23. The pouch of claim 21 , wherein the interior wall is comprised of
polyethylene.

24. The pouch of claim 17, wherein the pouch is non-resealable after the outlet fitting is in an open state.

25. The pouch of claim 17, wherein the pouch does not contain a refill port.

26. The pouch of claim 17, wherein the outlet fitting comprises:
a first connector portion mounted to the wall peripherally to the opening and defining an outlet from the interior cavity, the first connector portion including a duct having a sealed closure membrane that prevents fluid from exiting through the duct; and a second connector portion that is configured to mate with the first connector portion, the second connector portion having an end shaped to connect to and provide fluid communication to an elongate, flexible drink tube and an opposite end that is configured to be secured to the first connector member in a mated condition;
wherein the membrane is openable to permit fluid to flow from the interior cavity through the first and second connector portions.

27. The pouch of claim 26, wherein the first and second connector portions include respective threads to mate in a threaded relation.

28. The pouch of claim 26, wherein the membrane is openable by being peelable away from the first connector portion.

28. The pouch of claim 26, wherein the membrane is openable by piercing.

29. The pouch of claim 28, wherein the second connector portion is configured to pierce the membrane.

30. A method of making a pre-filled reservoir pouch for a personal hydration system, the method comprising the steps of:
providing a bladder having at least one wall with an opening therethrough;
mounting an outlet fitting to the wall peripherally around the opening, the outlet fitting having a closed state in which the outlet fitting prevents fluid from exiting the bladder and an open state in which fluid can exit the bladder, and wherein the outlet fitting is capable of being coupled to an end of an elongate, flexible drink tube;
filling the interior of the bladder with a drink fluid in a sterile condition; and
sealing the bladder.

31. The method of claim 30, wherein the step of mounting an outlet fitting to the wall comprises: mounting a first connector portion to the wall peripherally around the opening, the first connector portion defining an outlet from the bladder, the first connector having a closure member movable between a closed position in which the closure prevents fluid from exiting the bladder and an open position in which fluid can exit the bladder; and
providing a second connector portion that is configured to matably connect to the first connector portion in a manner whereby the second connector portion opens the closure member when mated with the first connector portion, and whereby the second connector portion is connectable to an end of an elongate, flexible drink tube.

32. The method of claim 30, further comprising the step of securing a seal membrane to the outlet fitting peripherally to the outlet to protect the outlet fitting.

33. The method of claim 30, further comprising the step of heating the drink fluid.

34. The method of claim 33, whereby the heating brings the drink fluid to about 180-2500 F.

35. The method of claim 33, whereby the heating occurs prior to the filling step.

36. The method of claim 33, whereby the heating occurs after the filling step.

37. The method of claim 33, further comprising the step of heating the drink fluid after the securing step.

38. The method of claim 30, further comprising the step of irradiating the bladder.

39. The method of claim 38, whereby the irradiating occurs before the filling step.

40. The method of claim 30, further comprising adding a preservative to the drink fluid.

41. The method of claim 40, wherein the preservative is sodium benzoate.

42. The method of claim 40, wherein the preservative is potassium sorbate.

43. The method of claim 30, further comprising the step of providing a holder for holding a plurality of the pouches during shipping and storage, the holder including a divider structure configured to define a plurality of cavities in a generally vertical orientation, and holding a plurality of pouches in the respective cavities, wherein the first connector portion is proximate to a top end of the pouch holder.

44. The method of claim 43, including the step of freezing the pouches during the holding step.

45. A method of using a personal hydration system, the method comprising the steps of:
providing a sealed reservoir pouch, the pouch including a flexible bladder having an interior containing a beverage, a first connector portion secured to the bladder including a duct extending from the interior to an exterior of bladder and a closure preventing fluid communication through the duct, and a second connector portion that is matable with the first connector portion;
placing the reservoir pouch in a carrier;
fitting a flexible drinking tube to the second connector portion;
mating the first connector portion with the second connector portion;
opening the closure to permit communication through the duct; and
removing the liquid from the pouch through the drinking tube.

46. The method of claim 45, further comprising the steps of removing the pouch from the carrier; and discarding the pouch.

47. The method of claim 45, further comprising the step of cooling the beverage before placing the pouch in the carrier.

48. The method of claim 47, further comprising removing the pouch from a pouch holder in which the pouch is provided, wherein the pouch holder is dimensionally constrained to maintain the shape of the pouch during the freezing step and wherein the pouch is in the pouch holder in a vertical storage position such that the first connector portion is at the top.

49. The method of claim 48, wherein the beverage is cooled to an approximately frozen condition before removing the pouch from the pouch holder.