I travel a lot - sitting, waiting and riding on planes. A recurring problem is accessing stuff in flight, keeping stuff handy, and storing it conveniently. Normal pants pockets work great when standing, but not so great when seated - the pocket openings are hard to reach, the contents are hard to access, the plane armrest blocks the pocket, and stuff falls out of the pocket. Pants pockets need to be accessed from the top when seated, be located on the pants leg in an easier to get to place, and be designed to more easily pass through security screening.

The first pair of pants with pockets that are easy to access while seated.

Features & advantages of TravelPants
A pair of pants with removable cargo pockets that are easily accessible both while standing and while sitting.
Repositionable pockets with top openings while seated (for easy access to wallet, phone, pen, glasses).
Convenient access - pockets located beyond the armrest.
Removable pockets to put in security bin without having to empty pockets.
No metal - elastic or drawstring waistband: pass thru security with minimal hassle.
Comfortable - generous cut legs and breathable lightweight fabric.
Easy-to-care-for and machine-washable.
Pockets large enough to hold multiple items. Corners of pockets rounded so small items and loose change can't get buried.
A button in the back of each pocket better secures the pocket to the pants leg - centered to work in either orientation - standing or sitting.
Same set of pockets on each leg so items will be accessible from either side, depending on which side other passengers are sitting.
Standard pockets near the waistband for walking thru airport and convenience at check-in counter and when buying stuff in airport.

I removed the pockets from one pair of sweat pants and glued them to another pair. I tested it on a flight to New York City in July, 2005. It was a success. My glasses, pda, iPod, wallet, and pen all fit in the pockets and the items were very easy to access. The contents also stayed in the pocket when I stood and walked down the aisle to the restroom.

(I was using my left hand to access the pocket because I was holding the camera in my right hand.)

Rendering of prototype, Info on garment tag, Business card.

Logo for TravelPants

The mark conveys the unique benefit of the TravelPants (the accessible-while-seated leg pocket). To provide quick and easy recognition, the familiar android figure mimics the ones seen in airports, especially the Return to seat icon seen on airplanes. The lettering mimics the android figures and the plane seat with rounded corners and similar masses of form. The P represents the back of the seat in front of the passenger. The letterspacing helps convey the cramped conditions on a plane that make getting into a regular pocket more difficult. A combination of blues helps connect to business attitudes, conveys sky and flight, and emphasizes the pocket in the pants.

Website Design
Designed by Bill Davis and Jennifer Zink, the concept related to the safety instruction card one gets on an airplane. The target audience would easily comprehend the connection. Note: the domain www.travelpants.info is no longer active.

History and development

Above: Sketches drawn in Dallas, Saturday evening, June 18, 2005
In the mid-1970s, I designed and had made some pants with pockets shaped like shown at left. Those pockets addressed the problem of keeping items in the pocket when seated (even today, with traditional pockets, my phone/pda often slides out of my pocket when I'm seated). I had a friend cut the fabric, sew, and build the pants. They looked a little weird, but the pockets were more effective and encompassing. Later, while flying, I had a tough time getting to items in my pants pockets. It was then that I realized the need for a new design of pockets for travel pants.
Below right: Early sketch showing multiple pockets

Patent application

TravelPants at the Wes Watkins New Product Fair

I wore a pair of the dark blue prototype pants to demonstrate to visitors to the table and the judges. The idea was awarded a check for $100. The fair at OSU was a lot of fun - I saw some other great products and met some neat inventive people.
I later sent product info to Eddie Bauer, Magellan Travel Shop, TravelSmith, Scottevest, Orvis, and LL Bean. Responses: no interest.

Concept: Fall, 2004
Sketches: May, 2005
Name development: May, 2005
Logo sketches and design: June, 2005
Patent and Trademark search conducted: July, 2005
Mark copyrighted: 2005
First prototype built: June, 2005
Prototype tests: June & July, 2005
Meeting with patent attorney: 2005
Patent filed: August 2, 2005
Company letters sent: August 2006
Website design funding: James W & Lorraine Watson
Website uploaded: August 20, 2008
Website: www.travelpants.info: July 25, 2008
Watkins New Product Fair: December 5, 2008
Website removed: July, 2011

Eddie Bauer 2012

This pair of cargo pants at Eddie Bauer is quite similar but the side pocket is still not quite as convenient as it could be.

Levi's 2017
The Levi's Denizen Tech Pocket is the closest, so far, to the TravelPants, though the pocket is not removable. Features a Side zippered tech pocket.