US 20070012735 A1
A portable and concealable chair and backpack apparatus includes a frame, a frame cover, a backpack attached to the frame cover, a seat, and a concealment cover. The apparatus also includes shoulder straps attached to the frame cover for use in transporting the apparatus. The concealment cover includes a cover frame and a cover supported by the cover frame so as to substantially surround and cover a user seated on the seat. The cover frame includes a plurality of support ribs which support the cover even in strong wind conditions. The number and shape of ribs used will vary the shape and volume of the enclosed area. The cover is formed of 3-D camouflage and includes at least one opening for unobstructed viewing and shooting therethrough.
1. A combined backpack and concealable chair apparatus, comprising
a frame comprising a main frame section and a support brace pivotally attached to the main frame section, said main frame section comprising an upper frame component and a reinforcement member affixed to and interconnecting two medial portions of said upper frame component;
a cover comprising a plurality of support ribs and a cover supported by the ribs, said ribs each having a first end, a second end, and a well portion between the first and second ends, said ribs attached to said main frame section at each of the respective first and second ends, said cover having a deployed position and stowed position;
a frame cover operatively surrounding a portion of said main frame section, said frame cover having a top edge and a bottom edge;
a seat operatively connected to the bottom edge of said frame cover;
a set of straps connected to said frame cover near the top edge thereof, wherein said set of straps are configured to receive arms of a user therethrough to permit carrying of the apparatus on a user's back; and
a backpack receptacle formed from a flexible fabric material and operatively connected to said frame cover on a side thereof opposite said straps.
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10. A combined backpack and concealable chair apparatus, comprising:
a frame, said frame comprises an U-shaped member pivotally attached to a main frame, wherein said main frame comprises an upper frame component, and a lower frame component attached to said upper frame component;
a cover, said cover comprising a plurality of support members and a cover supported the support members, said cover attached to said main frame, said cover having a deployed position which surrounds a user on all sides and from above, and a stowed position in which the support members and cover are collapsed together;
a frame cover surrounding a portion of said frame;
a backpack receptacle operatively attached to said frame cover;
a seat member operatively attached to said frame cover; and
a set of straps attached to said frame cover.
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This application is a continuation-in-part (CIP) of co-pending application Ser. No. 11/180,837.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a combined chair and backpack having a user concealment apparatus, suitable for outdoor use by hunters or naturalists. More particularly, the present invention relates to a camouflage-enclosed combined chair and backpack apparatus which includes straps for facilitating transportation, pockets for easy storage of hunting gear, a cushioned seat and a foldable frame, such that the apparatus is capable of being used either in a self-supporting freestanding configuration, or in a folded configuration for use supported by a vertical support, such as a tree.
2. Description of the Background Art
Hunters and naturalists often need to carry a variety of gear into the field. When hunting particular types of game, such as wild turkeys, use of dual-use devices that combine seating and carrying functions is well known. Specifically, a variety of designs are available for portable outdoor seats combined with vests or backpacks.
One known design includes a folding chair with backpack-like shoulder straps or a vest, allowing the chair to be worn by the user for facilitating transport of the chair.
However, it is applicant's current understanding that the known designs for these types of portable outdoor chairs have been adapted either to be used on open ground in a self-supporting manner, or to be used in conjunction with a tree or other vertical support, but not both. Therefore, a user must purchase a portable outdoor chair either of the freestanding type, that will support itself, or a chair intended for use with a tree or similar vertical support.
Examples of patents relating to known foldable chairs for use by hunters include U.S. Pat. No. 5,620,227, “Vest Garment with Pivotable Seat Member,” U.S. Pat. No. 6,547,110, “Universal Back Pack and Lounge Seat Combination,” and U.S. Pat. No. 6,772,925, “Universal Hunting Pack and Turkey Hunting Vest.” Some of these references disclose folding chairs which are combined with backpacks.
These folding chairs are generally effective in providing a seat that can be transported, but fail to provide a user with the flexibility of setting up the apparatus either against a tree or freestanding, without an auxiliary support. Depending on the environment encountered by a user in the field, one choice is usually easier and more practical, for a given application, than the other.
In addition, it is normally desirable for an outdoorsman to be concealed with a camouflage material in order to reduce the chance of scaring away wildlife and game. Camouflage blinds come in a great variety of designs, and the following patents are illustrative of the prior art: U.S. Pat. No. 4,683,672 “Collapsible Game Blind,” U.S. Pat. No. 4,788,997 “Portable Blind,” and U.S. Pat. No. 4,782,616 “Portable Blind Apparatus for Outdoor Usage.” These patents disclose the combination of chairs and blinds, and the '616 patent discloses an apparatus for stowing a chair and blind in a backpack.
The prior inventions all suffer from one or more significant drawbacks. Either the chair and blind frame are not easily stowed as a backpack, or the blind cannot rapidly be deployed. Rapid opening blinds are also not new to the art. Some manufactures produce a ground blinds with a spring steel frame. However, no known prior art combines a stowable hunters chair with a rapidly deployable concealment cover.
Moreover, known chair-and-cover frames are generally of considerable height, which detracts from their ability to conceal the user, especially when used in an open field or marsh area.
Because a hunter or naturalist may spend a considerable amount of time seated on the device while enjoying the natural environment or waiting for wildlife to appear, comfortable seating is needed in the form of an easily transportable folding chair or seat cushion incorporated into backpacks and vests.
An improved portable and concealable outdoor chair and backpack apparatus is therefore needed, which would be more versatile and adaptable than the previously known chair and backpack devices. In particular, an apparatus is needed that would be quickly concealable and usable either in a self-supporting mode, or alternatively, could be leaned against a preexisting vertical support such as a tree, while remaining able to transport various objects in pockets formed therein. Moreover, an apparatus is needed that is low in profile, and yet still permits a comfortable and functional sitting posture.
The present invention provides a portable and low profile outdoor chair apparatus that is combined with a backpack and a rapidly deployable concealment cover. The backpack and chair apparatus hereof includes a foldable frame that allows the apparatus be arranged in a freestanding self-supporting configuration, or alternatively, allows the apparatus to be leaned against and sustained by a vertical support. The apparatus includes a seat back frame cover, including a flexible support panel made from a hammock-like support mesh, so that when used in conjunction with a vertical support, the chair can be arranged to support a user in a comfortably supported lounging posture. The apparatus further includes an easily deployed camouflage cover configured to allow rapid concealment of the occupant.
A combined chair and backpack apparatus according to a particular embodiment of the invention may incorporate pockets of varying sizes and shapes in order to carry appropriate gear for hunting or other outdoor work, such as nature photography.
Optionally, if desired, a combined chair and backpack apparatus according to the present invention may incorporate a roll-away orange or otherwise brightly colored panel, that can be unfurled for high-visibility safety use, or else can be stowed away when not needed.
The combined chair and backpack apparatus according to a particular embodiment of the invention includes a frame, including a rigid main frame section, a reinforcing brace which is pivotally attached to the main frame section, and a concealment cover frame which is pivotally attached to the main frame section. The reinforcing brace is capable of forming an angled support relative to the main frame section, for use as a self-supporting apparatus. The brace is also capable of being folded into a flat arrangement against the main frame section, in order to allow the user to rest the frame against a tree or other vertical support.
The apparatus hereof also includes a seat, including a relatively thick seat cushion for supporting a user in a seated position thereon. The seat cushion may include a base layer of dense foam for comfort, and a lighter top foam layer. The seat is operatively attached to one end of the main frame section, which may be accomplished via an intermediate panel of fabric material. The seat may be provided with a strap at an outer end thereof, for connecting the seat to the backpack portion of the apparatus while in a stowed position for being carried on a user's back, such that the cushion does not hit the user's legs while walking.
The combined chair and backpack apparatus according to a particular embodiment of the invention includes a rapidly deployable concealment cover. The cover includes a fabric covering supported by a cover frame. The cover frame can be provided as a fan-out or clamshell style frame, a hub and strut frame, or spring steel/twist fold frame such that the cover frame structure substantially surrounds the user seated with the chair. In all embodiments, the cover is relatively low in profile since it is provided in a height to just cover a user seated at ground level.
Furthermore, the apparatus includes shoulder straps in order to allow a user to conveniently carry the apparatus on his or her back. The apparatus may also include a waist strap, to stabilize the apparatus when worn by a user, and a chest strap to more securely attach the apparatus to a wearer's torso.
For a more complete understanding of the present invention, the reader is referred to the following detailed description section, which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. Throughout the following detailed description and in the drawings, like numbers refer to like parts.
A combined backpack and outdoor seating apparatus 10 incorporating a rapidly deployable concealment cover 100, according to a selected illustrative embodiment of the invention, will now be described in some detail, with reference to the drawings.
The apparatus 10 includes a seat frame 12, a frame cover 20, a seat 30 and a backpack 50, which will each be further described herein. When the seat frame 12 of the apparatus 10 is in the deployed, unfolded position, the seat frame 12 is capable of supporting the apparatus on open ground in the freestanding configuration shown in
The seat frame 12 is an essential component of the apparatus 10. As seen best in
The main frame section 16 includes an inverted, generally U-shaped member 4, and a crossbar 6 welded across the U-shaped member at an intermediate location of the U-shaped member, so that a pair of parallel spaced apart leg portions 5, 5 are defined extending downwardly below the crossbar. Alternatively, a rectangular 0-shaped structure could be used for the main frame section, as an equivalent structure to that shown.
The support brace 14 is generally provided as a second U-shaped member, and is attached to a medial portion of the main frame section 16, above the crossbar 6, via fasteners such as rivets 8. The support brace 14 is pivotally attached to the main frame section 16, so as to allow pivotal movement thereof in relation to the main frame section. Optionally, plastic bushings 15 may be provided at the juncture between the support brace 14 and the main frame section 16.
While deployed in the self-supporting, unfolded position shown in
The strap 17 is fixedly attached to each of the legs 5, 5 of the main frame section as shown in
The apparatus 10 also includes a frame cover 20 which surrounds the main frame section 16, and is formed out of a soft, sturdy fabric material, such as a nylon or other cloth mesh, as shown in
The frame cover 20 wraps around the main frame section 16, and is closed at the separable seam via the two-part hook and loop fastener 86. The hook and loop fastener 86 allows a user to easily remove the backpack 50 and cover 20 from the seat frame 12 for cleaning purposes.
The apparatus 10 also includes a seat 30, which is sewn on to or otherwise attached to the frame cover 20 at the bottom edge 24 of the frame cover 20. The seat 30 can be attached to the frame cover 20 by stitching a connector panel 32, formed from a flexible piece of material, extending between the seat 30 and the frame cover 20, as shown in
The seat 30 includes a relatively thick, dense foam cushion 36 of a size large enough to comfortably support a hunter in the sitting position, and a fabric envelope 31 surrounding and enclosing the cushion, where the bottom panel (not shown) of the envelope is formed from durable plastic, vinyl, an elastomer, or a similar water-impermeable material. Optionally, in order to maximize comfort, the seat cushion 36 may include a base layer 35 of a relatively dense and resilient foam elastomer, and a top layer 37 of a lighter, more easily compressible foam elastomer.
In the depicted embodiment, the seat 30 also includes an adjustable strap 34, located at the outer bottom edge of the cushion 36 when in view in the unfolded position of the apparatus. This adjustable strap 34 can be used to attach the seat cushion 22 to the backpack 50 to keep the seat 30 out of the way during transport, as shown in
The apparatus 10 also includes a backpack 50, which attaches to the frame cover 20 via stitching running across along the bottom edge 24 of the frame cover and continuing up along the two sides of the frame cover, forming the main compartment 52 of the backpack receptacle 50. The upper flap of the backpack 50 is also removably attachable to the frame cover 20 near the top edge thereof, via two-part adjustable straps 64 that can be detached to uncover the main compartment 52 of the backpack 50 for easier access thereto, as shown in
The backpack 50 may be made from a camouflage material for hunting purposes, but can be made out of many materials such as waterproof and/or scent-suppressing materials.
The backpack 50 also has pockets on the outside surface of the main compartment 52.
The backpack 50 also has an interior mesh pocket 62, shown in
A looped handle strap 68 may be provided at the top of the main frame section 16 near the adjustable straps 64, to permit easy handling of the apparatus 10 when the apparatus 10 is not being transported on a user's back. This looped strap 68, where used, attaches to the main frame section 16 at an opening 22 in the frame cover 20.
The lower ends of the shoulder straps 70 are attached to a lower reinforcing member 78 at the bottom edge 24 of the frame cover, 20 via stitching. Also attached to this lower reinforcing member 78 is a set of waist straps 80 that may be connected around the waist of the user for carrying heavy loads, thereby placing more of the weight of the load on the user's hips as opposed to the user's shoulders.
The large pocket 56 also has a zipper 84, shown in
The apparatus 10 also includes a concealment cover 100 for concealment of the user. Several embodiments of the cover 100 are contemplated, and the invention is not limited to the embodiments disclosed herein.
The cover 100 as shown in each embodiment includes a cover frame 120 and a cover 110 supported by the cover frame 120 so as to substantially surround a user seated on the seat 30 and cover the user from above. The cover frame 120 includes a plurality of support ribs 122. The ribs 122 are formed from a strong metal or high-strength plastic, so that the ribs 122 can support the cover 110 even in strong wind conditions. The ribs may be formed as a solid rod, or alternatively may be formed of hollow tubular components, in order to minimize weight.
Each rib 122 is single elongate element that is formed into an arcuate shape. Each rib has a first end 124, a second end 126, and a well portion 128 disposed between the first and second ends 124, 126. The number of ribs 122 used will vary the shape and volume of the enclosed area. The more ribs 122 used, the greater the volume and the more hemispheric the shape. For a greater volume of concealment, C-shaped ribs may be used. Other shapes, such has half-ovals or triangles, may be used to accommodate the requirements of a specific application. For example, to provide a greater volume near the ground and a smaller volume near the occupant's head, a generally triangular rib can be selected.
In a first embodiment, the cover 100 a includes a cover frame 120 a made from a plurality of inverted U-shaped ribs (
On each side of the seat, the ends of the U-shaped ribs 122 may be pivotably joined together with a pin 130 to from a hinge such that the well portion 128 of the ribs 122 may be fanned out apart from each other (
The ribs 122 are pivotally attached to the main frame 16 of the seat frame 12 at each side of the main frame 16 using a pin 130 on each side. Preferably, the pin 130 is disposed at a lower end of each leg portion 5. This pivoting or swing arrangement allows for the entire cover structure to be selectively fanned apart to provide a concealing enclosure (
For a more rigid enclosure, a locking clamp 140 can be fixedly attached between the main frame 16 and the cover frame 120 a. The locking clamp 140 selectively engages the ribs 120 with the main frame 16 so as to maintain each rib 120 at a specific angle. When deployed, each rib 120 is positioned at a unique angle, and when stowed, all ribs 120 are positioned at substantially the same angle. During operation of the cover 100 a, the user fans out the ribs 120 such that the well portions 128 are spaced apart, and such that the outermost rib 120 and the inner most rib 120 lie on the ground with their respective well portions 128 opposed. Once engaged with the locking clamp 140, the now fanned out ribs 120 provide a rigid frame creating an enclosure. In addition, when the ribs 122 are collapsed, the locking clamp 140 rigidly fixes the cover frame 120 a to the main frame 16 for ease of transport.
A further embodiment of the cover 100 b is similar to the first embodiment described above. In this embodiment, the cover 110 is provided with a plurality of narrow, elongate pockets 115 extending in the width-direction of the apparatus 10. A rib 120 is disposed within each pocket 115 to form the cover frame 120 b (
A further embodiment of the cover 100 c is similar to the first embodiment described above. In this embodiment, the ends 124, 126 of the ribs 120 are received within a hub 150 formed on the lower end of each leg portion 5 to form the cover frame 100 c (
A still further embodiment of the cover 100 d employs a spring steel twist-fold cover frame 120 d (
In all embodiments the cover 100 includes a cover 110 formed of a fabric material, and ideally is formed of camouflage fabric (
The cover 100 covers the cover frame 120, 160 so as to substantially completely surround the user seated within the apparatus on all sides and from above. While 3-D camouflage provides a high degree of visibility out of the enclosure, it is preferable to form the cover 100 to include at least one opening 118 for unobstructed viewing and shooting therethrough. The opening 118 is illustrated in the figures as positioned in the line of sight of the seated user. Although not shown, additional openings may be provided at each lateral side of the apparatus.
Alternatively, camouflage material incorporating activated charcoal for scent dampening may be used.
Although the present invention has been described herein with respect to a specific illustrative embodiment, the foregoing description is intended to be illustrative, and not restrictive. Those skilled in the art will realize that many modifications of the preferred embodiment could be made which would be operable. For example, a number of variations of pockets and straps can be added or subtracted from the present invention to hold various types of gear. Also, many types of material can be used for the cover or for the backpack, such as waterproof or scent suppressing materials. All such modifications, which are within the scope of the claims, are intended to be within the scope and spirit of the present invention.