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Publication numberUS20090039685 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/231,552
Publication dateFeb 12, 2009
Filing dateSep 4, 2008
Priority dateApr 18, 2005
Publication number12231552, 231552, US 2009/0039685 A1, US 2009/039685 A1, US 20090039685 A1, US 20090039685A1, US 2009039685 A1, US 2009039685A1, US-A1-20090039685, US-A1-2009039685, US2009/0039685A1, US2009/039685A1, US20090039685 A1, US20090039685A1, US2009039685 A1, US2009039685A1
InventorsJeff Zernov
Original AssigneeJeff Zernov
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Chair shelter
US 20090039685 A1
Abstract
A collapsible user support coupled to a collapsible, walled shelter. Individual and multi-occupant chairs provide a sling chair having a number of pivoting frame pieces that are trained through grommets at a fabric seat and backrest. An independently collapsible shelter or cover framework includes frame pieces that pivot under tension about the collapsible chair. Washer-like members splay the frame pieces away from the chair. The shelter framework supports a surrounding, collapsible fabric cover that can include windows, panel voids and/or doors and/or vents. The chair, shelter framework and fabric cover are organized to collapse and deploy to conditions that partially and completely cover the chair. The fabric cover can be constructed of netting and/or solid and/or three-dimensional fabric panels containing sleeves and pockets to support resiliently bowed stays.
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Claims(18)
1. A shelter comprising:
a) a chair including a framework comprised of a plurality of frame pieces and a plurality of fabric members mounted to said frame pieces to define a seat, a backrest and first and second armrests including first and second pivot axles that project from distal ends of said first and second armrest defining frame pieces;
b) a plurality of flexible struts mounted to said first and second pivot axles to span said framework and pivot about said first and second pivot axles; and
c) a fabric cover supported by said struts to rotate between a transport condition wherein said chair and cover collapse together to a generally elongated, cylindrical configuration and a deployed condition wherein said struts and cover rotate to enclose and completely cover said chair.
2. A shelter as set forth in claim 1 wherein said first and second pivot axles include first and second pivot pieces respectively mounted to radiate about said first and second pivot axles and engage said first and second flexible struts to splay said flexible struts outward and away from said chair.
3. A shelter as set forth in claim 2 wherein said first and second pivot pieces each comprise an annular member having a bore through which one of said first and second pivot axles extends and wherein said pivot pieces exhibit a diameter substantially greater than the width of said struts.
4. A shelter as set forth in claim 1 wherein said fabric cover comprises a gathered material having a plurality of gathers defining a cover surface that exhibits a three dimensional relief and including a plurality of members fitted to the surface to prevent the expansion of said gathers.
5. A shelter as set forth in claim 4 wherein said fabric cover comprises a material defined by a surface including a plurality of permanent wrinkles.
6. A shelter as set forth in claim 5 wherein said enclosure is comprised of a plurality of sewn panels, wherein said struts are secured to said cover, and including a plurality of members fitted to cover to maintain a tension on said cover without removing said gathers.
7. A shelter as set forth in claim 1 wherein at least one of said first and second pivot axles includes means for selectively containing a portion of at least one of said struts to prevent the rotation thereof.
8. A shelter comprising:
a) a folding chair including a framework comprised of a plurality of frame pieces and a plurality of fabric members mounted to said frame pieces to define a seat, a backrest and first and second armrests including first and second pivot axles that project from distal ends of first and second armrest defining frame pieces;
b) a plurality of flexible struts mounted to said first and second pivot axles, span said framework, and pivot about said first and second pivot axles in a fashion to displace said struts away from said framework; and
c) a fabric cover fastened to said struts to rotate between a transport condition wherein said chair and cover collapse to a generally elongated, cylindrical configuration and a deployed condition wherein said struts and cover rotate to enclose and completely cover said chair and wherein said fabric cover comprises a gathered material having a plurality of gathers defining a cover surface that exhibits a three dimensional relief and including a plurality of members fitted to the cover surface to maintain a tension on said cover yet retain said gathers in a relaxed condition.
9. A shelter as set forth in claim 8 wherein said first and second pivot axles include first and second pivot pieces respectively mounted to radiate about said first and second pivot axles and engage said flexible struts to splay said flexible struts outward and away from said chair.
10. A shelter comprising:
a) a chair including a framework comprised of a plurality of frame pieces mounted to define and support a seat portion and wherein said framework supports first and second pivot axles and first and second pivot pieces having bores through which said first and second pivot axles project;
b) a plurality of flexible struts mounted to said first and second pivot axles to span said framework, pivot about said first and second pivot axles and engage said first and second pivot pieces to displace said struts away from said framework; and
c) a fabric cover fastened to said struts to rotate between a transport condition wherein said chair and cover collapse to a generally elongated, cylindrical configuration and a deployed condition wherein said struts and cover rotate to enclose and completely cover said framework and wherein said fabric cover comprises a material having a plurality of permanent wrinkles defining a cover surface that exhibits a three dimensional relief and including a plurality of members fitted to the surface to maintain a tension on said cover yet retain said wrinkles in a relaxed condition.
11. A shelter as set forth in claim 10 including means for selectively preventing the rotation of at least one of said plurality of struts to maintain an exposed condition of said chair.
12. A shelter as set forth in claim 10 wherein said struts include a plurality of sections that align collinearly with one another.
13. A shelter as set forth in claim 10 wherein a portion of said cover comprises a screen material.
14. A shelter comprising:
a) a chair including a framework comprised of a plurality of frame pieces and a plurality of fabric members mounted to said frame pieces to define a seat, a backrest and including first and second pivot axles that project from said frame pieces;
b) a plurality of flexible struts mounted to said first and second pivot axles to span said framework and pivot about said first and second pivot axles; and
c) a fabric cover supported by said struts to rotate between a transport condition wherein said chair and cover collapse together to a generally elongated, cylindrical configuration and a deployed condition wherein said struts and cover rotate to enclose and completely cover said chair.
15. A shelter as set forth in claim 14 wherein said first and second pivot axles include first and second pivot pieces respectively mounted to radiate about said first and second pivot axles and engage said flexible struts to splay said flexible struts outward and away from said chair.
16. A shelter as set forth in claim 14 wherein said first and second pivot axles include first and second pivot couplers respectively mounted to radiate about said first and second pivot axles and wherein said first and second pivot couplers each comprise upper and lower pieces secured to the first and second axles on opposite sides of the struts 102 to splay said flexible struts outward and away from said chair.
17. A shelter as set forth in claim 14 wherein a skirt radiates from a bottom peripheral edge of said cover to lie on the ground.
18. A shelter as set forth in claim 17 wherein said skirt includes at least one member to secured to said skirt to minimize the lifting of the cover with wind.
Description
RELATED APPLICATION DATA

This is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/108,333 filed Apr. 18, 2005.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to portable shelters and, in particular, to a collapsible shelter fitted to a collapsible chair for use during outdoor recreation, such as ice fishing, hunting and summer camping or beach recreation.

Portable shelters for ice fishing have been constructed in a variety of designs. Many recent designs provide for rigid walled shelters that mount on trailer frames. Beds, cabinets, stoves, lights, hole covers and other accommodations are permanently mounted to the walls, floors and ceiling. The wheels are rotated down for travel and up when located of a fishing spot.

Some shelter designs are constructed on runners with rigid, windowed walls in the form of small outbuildings. The structures are insulated for heat retention and use for several days. Heating and cooking appliances are added as desired. These shelters are towed on and off the ice each season.

Some designs provide fabric-covered tents that can include sewn floors or open floors. An associated collapsible framework supports the fabric. Associated mechanisms must be included to securely anchor the shelter against wind.

Still other portable designs provide frames that pivot or mount to a rigid base that can comprise a folded floor and/or a sled. Tubular frame members mounted to the floor or sled support a fabric enclosure with sewn windows and zippered doors. The members are typically mounted to pivot at the base/sled. Benches or seats are frequently adapted to the base/sled. Open chairs can be used with the open floor models and can also be set into the larger sleds. Such designs are typically constructed for 1 to 6 or more users.

On occasion buckets and chairs are set on the ice and used without a surrounding shelter, especially on sunny, warm weather days and nights. Each of the foregoing provides advantages and disadvantages in regards to cost, portability and durability; consequently, the large numbers of alternative designs.

A variety of summer assemblies have also been developed for the beach to shade a user from the UV rays of the sun. Some provide chairs with associated umbrellas that can be trained to shade the user. Tent-like assemblies have also been suggested for protecting or controlling exposure to the sun and protection from insects.

A variety of blind assemblies have also been developed for waterfowl and turkey hunters. Many are constructed in the form of tents. Some are configured as animals and some are configured to position the hunter in a reclined or supine posture.

The present invention was developed to provide another alternative portable shelter that finds particular application with winter sports, such as ice fishing, although can be adapted to hunting and summer/beach and camping recreation activities. The assembly provides a low-cost collapsible, portable shelter that is readily deployed and transported. The shelter provides multiple fabric panel walls that are supported to a collapsible shelter framework. The shelter framework, in turn, is attached to a collapsible chair. The collapsible shelter framework presently attaches to a preferred collapsible sling chair, although could be adapted to a variety of rigid or folding chairs. The collapsible chair framework supports fabric seat, backrest and/or armrest supports.

The shelter framework includes a number of hinged frame pieces that pivot to define a rigid support frame for several attached fabric panels that define enclosure walls. With the chair and shelter frameworks expanded, the shelter walls can be rotated between selected partially open and covering conditions to shade or completely shelter the chair and user from the elements (i.e. sun, wind, rain or snow) and insects.

Hunting blind versions include flat and three-dimensional camouflage fabrics to obscure and blend the chair into the background and prevent reflections. The three-dimensional fabric material is formed from a pressure and temperature treated fabric that causes the fabric to wrinkle and which promotes a three-dimensional relief into the material that enhances its use for hunting blinds, clothing and other devices.

In contrast, typical prior materials provide a substrate and to which strips, patches or other appliqués are sewn, laminated, adhesively fastened or attached. The substrate may also be processed to provide loose strands, cut strips and the like. Still other fabric materials provide loosely woven fiber strands (e.g. cut or folded and of the same or differing heights, such as a burber) to provide a visual and physical depth of field to the fabric. The random differences in the placement, separation and elevation of the strands from the substrate absorb and reflect light such that the materials visually blend into an adjacent background.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is a primary object of the present invention to provide a portable shelter that includes an integrated collapsible shelter and user support (e.g. chair, bench or recliner).

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a shelter that can be deployed to pre-defined latched conditions that completely enclose and/or partially cover the user and the underlying ground, sand or ice.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a fabric shelter that is supported to a collapsible framework.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a shelter having a user support that is independently collapsible, for example, a sling chair, stool or folding chair with a rigid or flexible sling seat, armrest and/or backrest pieces.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a shelter including a collapsible, sling chair.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a combination shelter and chair assembly that collapses for storage and transport in a carry bag, yet deploys in minutes.

It is a further object of the invention to provide washer-like members at the arms of a sling chair to splay and facilitate rotation of a fabric support framework.

It is a further object of the invention to provide a shelter including a three-dimensional fabric having a crinkle finish fitted to the fabric support framework.

The foregoing objects, advantages and distinctions of the invention, among others, are found in several considered assemblies that provide a collapsible sling chair. In one construction, the chair includes a number of frames pieces that are trained through grommets at the fabric and fitted to pivot couplers. Armrests are optionally included along with accessory supports and storage pockets.

Secured to the frame pieces of the chair are a number of pivotal link arms that, in turn, couple to stay-like frame pieces of an independently collapsible shelter. The shelter frame pieces include pivot couplers. Some of the shelter frame pieces may telescope. Some of the shelter frame pieces are secured to multiple, surrounding fabric panels. The shelter can include windows and/or doors and/or vents with fasteners (e.g. zippers, snaps, hook/loop fasteners). The shelter frame pieces and fabric panels are organized to collapse and deploy with the chair. Collectively the assembly can be stored in a stuff or duffle bag.

In another shelter construction, several flexible bows or stays that support a fabric cover are mounted to rotate at pivot axles that extend from arm rests at a collapsible sling chair. Enlarged washer-like members at the pivot axles splay the stays outward as they facilitate rotation.

The stays are arranged to support to fabric shelter panels that are organized to cover the chair. The type fabric material and arrangement of panels are adjusted to fit particular applications. The stays can be secured to the panels and can be rotated to partially or completely enclose the chair and seated occupant. That is, when the chair and shelter are erected, the stays can be rotated to several conditions wherein the chair and user are partially or completely covered and protected from the environment. A user seated at the chair is also able to obtain protection from the wind and sun and with the aid of auxiliary appliances arrayed within the covered space. The heat/light sources can control internal ambient conditions to a desired personal comfort level.

Individual and multi-occupant versions of collapsible hunting blinds are also disclosed. The blinds can include flat fabric and three-dimensional (3D), wrinkled finish fabrics. The wrinkled fabric finishes are presented in camouflage patterns to minimize reflections and blend the chair into its surroundings.

The wrinkled 3D material provides a fabric with a random, raised finish. The wrinkles produce ridges, valleys and pockets that absorb light without compromising the weave of the substrate. A substantially wind and weather resistant material is thereby attained. When used in hunting blinds, clothing or the like, the blinds, clothing etc. are typically sewn to match an oversize pattern before the sewn material is collected and passed through a treating station. The treating station subjects the material for suitable times to pressurized steam at a pressures and temperatures that produce permanent wrinkling. Sleeves and/or closed-ended pockets are sewn into the shelter enclosures constructed from the fabric to contain distal ends of the stays to maintain a tension on the shelter cover. The 3D covers also include devices or sewn regions that maintain a relaxed condition at the wrinkle to prevent the stretching of the fabric and consequent loss of the wrinkling and visual 3D relief.

Still other objects, advantages and distinctions of the invention will become more apparent from the following description with respect to the appended drawings. Considered alternative constructions, improvements or modifications are described as appropriate. The following description should therefore not be literally construed in limitation of the invention. Rather, the scope of the invention should be broadly interpreted within the scope of the further appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a front perspective view of one construction of the present shelter with the shelter raised to expose the user chair.

FIG. 2 shows a side view of the shelter rotated to completely enclose the chair and user.

FIG. 3 shows a rear view of the shelter rotated to the partially open condition of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of the shelter with the rear shelter walls rotated erect to a vertical condition to provide a windbreak relative to the erected user chair.

FIG. 5 shows a perspective drawing to the lower chair-to-shelter link arm and pivot couplers.

FIG. 6 shows a perspective drawing to the upper chair-to-shelter link arm.

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of the shelter in a partially collapsed condition relative to the deployed chair.

FIG. 8 shows a perspective view of the shelter and chair in collapsed conditions, prefatory to transport or storage of the chair/shelter in a surrounding carry case.

FIG. 9 shows a front perspective view of a second construction of the present shelter with the shelter lowered to expose the user chair through an access space.

FIG. 10 shows a side view of the shelter rotated to completely enclose the chair and user.

FIG. 11 shows a rear perspective view of the shelter rotated to a lowered condition.

FIG. 12 shows a perspective view of the shelter in a partially collapsed condition relative to the deployed chair.

FIG. 13 shows a detailed view to one of the bow stay pivots.

FIG. 14 shows a front perspective drawing to a third construction to a summer/insect-proof shelter.

FIG. 15 shows a side perspective drawing of the summer/insect-proof shelter.

FIG. 16 shows a perspective view of a camouflage chair blind wherein the fabric cover is configured from a three-dimensional fabric, particularly a wrinkled or crinkled finish fabric.

FIG. 17 shows a perspective view in partial cutaway to a multi-person camouflage chair blind covered with a three-dimensional wrinkled or crinkled finish fabric.

FIG. 18 shows a perspective view to the collapsible chair of FIG. 17 removed from the blind.

FIG. 19 shows a perspective view to a stay pocket formed into the fabric cover to pre-tension the wrinkled or crinkled finish fabric secured to the framework stays.

FIG. 20 shows an exemplary rain poncho, among numerous clothing items that can be sewn from the 3D fabric.

FIG. 21 shows an alternative two-piece pivot coupler.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

With attention to FIGS. 1 through 4, perspective views are shown to erected conditions of a first presently preferred collapsible chair-shelter assembly 2 of the invention. FIGS. 5-9 depict views to the shelter 4 and/or chair or user support 6 in different stages of collapse, prefatory to deployment or storage.

The chair 6 is shown with the shelter 4 deployed and pivoted to an upright “windbreak” condition in FIGS. 1 and 4. Such a condition can exist when entering or exiting the shelter 4 or in fair/sunny weather conditions, when the shelter 4 is used as a windbreak. The front wall 8 and sidewalls 10 and 12 of the shelter 4 are then essentially rotated and held upright and the rear wall 14 is positioned toward the wind or sun.

The walls 8-14 are typically sewn together from a series of fabric panels to define a preferred finished form. The type of fabric and coloration varies depending upon the application. Light weight fabrics or mesh netting finds particular application in the summer. Tightly woven and/or waterproof fabrics find application for windy, wet and/or cold conditions. The latter fabrics tend also to trap heat from an auxiliary heat source that might be used with the shelter 2.

FIG. 2 depicts a side view of the shelter 4 as it appears with the front wall 8 and sidewalls 10 and 12 rotated down to completely enclose the chair 6 and occupant. One or more windows 16 and/or vents 18 can be arrayed about the shelter 4 to facilitate viewing and ventilation when the shelter cover 4 is positioned to substantially cover the chair 6.

For a shelter assembly 2 constructed to accommodate ice fishing, the assembly 2 can be sized to shelter one or more ice holes that would typically be drilled in front of the chair 6. Other sheltered accessories might include a bait container, tackle container, sonar/camera display and gas or battery light. A portable heater might also be covered by the shelter 4 to heat the interior space and fisherman. One or more zippered openings 20 in the front or side walls 8, 10 or 12 can also be included to facilitate subsequent exit, entry and venting of the shelter 4. The walls 8, 10 and 12 of the assembly 2 can be arranged to selectively permit partially lowered/raised conditions as desired by the user to provide ventilation etc.

If the assembly 2 is constructed for hunting, the walls 8-14 can be formed from fabrics that exhibit a suitable camouflage appearance. Portions of the wall panels 8-14 can be removed or provided with detachable fasteners that permit exposing the interior for shooting.

The shelter 4 can also be used to shelter the user from the sun and insects, such as during the summer. When the assembly 2 is constructed for summer use, the materials are adjusted to provide light colors, lighter weight fabrics and/or transparent materials. Screen panels can also be provided at the shelter walls 8-14 for insect protection.

In all conditions, the weight of the seated occupant primarily anchors the assembly 2. Accessory equipment might also be set on a fringe piece or apron 22 located along the sides at the floor of the shelter 4 or at a shelter framework 24 to anchor the assembly 2 from being swept along over the ice or ground. Extraneous weights or weight support pockets can also be sewn into the walls 8-14 to anchor the shelter 4. Ground or ice anchors and appropriate lashings might also be used. Although the construction of the assembly 2 at FIGS. 1-8 is principally described in relation to an ice fishing application, FIGS. 9-15 depict alternative assemblies that can be used for hunting and under warm weather conditions for camping, picnicking or at the beach, as a windbreak, sun shade, insect cover or rain cover.

With attention to FIGS. 1 and 4, the chair 6 of the assembly 2 is configured from a framework 30 of formed tubular or solid frame pieces 32. The frame pieces are trained through grommets 34 in a sling seat 36 and a backrest piece 38. The seat 36 and backrest 38 can be constructed as one or more pieces. Some of the ends of the frame pieces 32 mount in fabric pockets or sleeves 40. Others of the ends mount or are fastened to molded and/or jointed couplers 42. Sling armrests 44 extend along the sides of the chair 6 and can include pockets 46 for containing canned beverages or cups. Other pockets 47 can depend from the edges of the seat 36, armrests 44 or the back of the backrest piece 38. Other pockets 48 can be secured to the interior of the shelter wall(s) 8-14 to be used for storing sundry paraphernalia. Still other pockets 50 provided at the exterior of the shelter wall(s) 8-14 can contain items such as name/identification/license information. Flexible or rigid bows and/or stays 52 can also be fastened to or secured in pockets or sleeves formed into the shelter walls 8-14 to maintain rigidity against gusting winds.

Although one style of chair 6 is shown, other types and styles of user supports or chairs 6 can be adapted to the assembly 2. For example, chairs 6 with rigid seats and backs can be used (e.g. solid plastic lawn chairs or folding chairs). Folding chairs with woven webbing or cushioned seats and backrests might be used. The manner of attachment of the chair pieces and deployment/collapsing of the chair pieces can also be varied. The chair 6 might also be constructed to recline or merely provide a seat surface in the manner of a stool. The interconnecting members between the shelter 4 and chair 6 can be varied to accommodate the particular construction of the user support.

With additional attention to FIGS. 5-8, the construction of the shelter framework 24 and the typical manner of deployment of the assembly 2 follows. The shelter framework 24 is constructed of four multi-section, supports 60 of an appropriate shape (e.g. ∩-shaped) that displace the shelter 4 away from the lateral sides of the chair 6 and above a seated occupant. The number and type of supports 60 can be varied depending upon the design and application constraints of the assembly 2. The shape of the supports 60 may also be varied to any of a variety of generally inverted U-shapes, wherein side and top wall support portions can exhibit straight, arcuate or compound shapes.

The supports 60 can be constructed as continuous lengths of fiberglass or metal members. The supports 60 of FIGS. 1-8, however, are constructed in multi-sectional form. The supports 60 can provide telescoping sections or sections that mate at interconnecting couplers. The supports 60 can also include an elastic cord threaded through hollow bores of each section to facilitate alignment during assembly erection.

The ends of the supports 60 are presently secured to pivot wings 62 at the ground level. Right and left side support sections 64 and 65 project from the wings 62 to pivot couplers 66, where top section pieces 68 are pivotally secured and traverse the top of the chair 6. Intermediate couplers 67 are provided at the top section pieces 68 to allow the top section to bend or fold for storage. The exposed surfaces of the wings 62 and couplers 66 and 67 are formed to minimize possible stress or tearing at the adjoining fabric. The wings 62 and/or couplers 66 might also be configured as latching assemblies to maintain a pre-stressed flex in the support sections 64, 65 and 68 when deployed. Such a stressed condition normally exists with a continuous, flexible single section support 60. The pivot pins at each wing 62 and coupler 66 and/or 67 are arranged relative to the coupler body to provide an optimal pivot action without over-rotation of the various sections 64, 65, 66 of the supports 60.

The supports 60 are arrayed to sufficiently displace the shelter 4 away from the sides and top of the chair 6 to prevent contact with the seated occupant, especially during windy conditions. The supports 60 can be secured in pockets sewn into the shelter walls 8-14 or can be secured with loops or lengths of hook/loop fastener material sewn to the shelter walls 8-14. The supports 60 thereby also act as stays to maintain a taught surface at the shelter 4 when expanded. The rear shelter wall 14 is secured to the pivot wings 62 or control arms described below with lengths of hook/loop fastener material 70 as shown at FIG. 5. Stop pins 71 fitted to appropriate holes in the pivot member(s) 62 can limit or restrict the rotation of the members 60. Appropriate straps might also be used to restrain rotation of the supports 60.

Laterally extending from the pivot wings 62 to the chair framework 30 are lower control arms 72 as shown at FIGS. 1, 4 and 5. Upper control arms 74 extend from the rearmost support 60 to the upper extremities of the chair framework 30 as shown at FIG. 6. The length of the control arms 72 and 74 are sized to assure adequate clearance from the seated occupant. Pivot couplers 76 fix the ends of the control arms 72 and 74 to the frameworks 24 and 30. The control arms 72 and 74 can be constructed to telescope and/or selectively decouple with clips or latch fasteners from either the chair 6 or shelter 4.

FIG. 7 depicts the shelter framework 24 in a partially collapsed condition wherein the shelter fabric is collected about the expanded chair 6. FIG. 8 in contrast depicts the chair framework 30 collapsed and the shelter framework 24 collapsed about the chair framework 30 with the fabric walls 10, 12 and 14 and seat 36, backrest 38 and arms 44 collapsed. The controls arms 72 and 74 and the top sections 68 are folded against the collapsed frameworks 24 and 30 to facilitate storage in a stuff bag on the order of 48 to 60-inches.

Although one preferred shape is shown, the shelter 4 can be adapted to a variety of geometric shapes. When rotated to the shelter condition (FIG. 2), the shelter 4 defines a hemi-spherical-like shape and when rotated to the “windbreak” condition (FIGS. 1 and 4), the shelter 4 forms a barrier or obstruction to the wind. Thus, the depicted shapes should not be deemed limiting.

FIGS. 9 to 12 depict a second construction of the invention or a chair-shelter assembly 100. The assembly 100 is configured for use in hunting, such as turkey, deer and waterfowl hunting. A chair 6 is centered in the assembly 100 and a covering fabric shelter 101 is supported to the chair 6 with a number of continuous, flexible, bowed stays 102 arranged to pivot about the chair 6. The lengths of the stays 102 are sized to span the chair 6 over their ranges of rotation so as not to contact a seated occupant. The resilience of the stays 102 is selected to prevent undue flexion with wind to minimize against collapse or movement of the shelter walls to contact a seated occupant. The stays 102 can be constructed of spring steel, plastic, fiberglass or other suitable material.

The ends of the stays 102 are secured to pivot at hinge couplers 104 at the chair frame 30, which couplers 104 are shown in detail at FIG. 13. The pivot or hinge couplers 104 are particularly mounted to ends of frame pieces 32 at the fronts of the armrests 44. A slot 106 is formed into the coupler 104 to receive the forward or innermost stay 102 that projects in front of the occupant. The remainder of the stays 102 overly one another and are secured with a pivot fastener 108 and spring 110. The forward or inner stay 102 thus causes the coupler 104 to rotate about the fastener 108 and the other stays 102 merely rotate about the fastener 108. A stop is provided at the back of the coupler 104 that interacts with the chair frame 30 to prevent over rotation.

The stays 102 are mounted in sleeves 112 sewn into a front skirt 114 and right and left sidewalls 116 and 118, a rear wall 120 and a top wall 122. The range of stay rotation is depicted over the series of FIGS. 9-12. The flexibility of the stays 102 is selected such that when the chair 6 is collapsed in conventional fashion, the stays 102 flex sufficiently to permit the assembly 100 to stow in a storage bag (not shown).

A permanent or removable panel 124 can be secured between the skirt 114 and the top wall 122 with appropriate zipper or hook and loop fasteners to allow for unobstructed viewing from the front of the chair. Transparent windows 126, otherwise, can be provided at any desired location to allow the occupant to view different sectors of the sky and surrounding area. Zippers or other fasteners can also be provided in the walls to permit the occupant to create an opening or window 126 of appropriate size, as desired or needed. An equipment storage container 128 having several compartments and associated strapping 130 is provided along one side of the chair 6.

FIGS. 14 and 15 depict yet another chair-shelter assembly 150. The assembly 150 is constructed for warm weather applications, such as trips to the beach or picnics. A chair 6 is centered in the assembly 150 and surrounded by a lightweight fabric and mesh walled shelter 152. A rear and partial sidewall panel 154 is formed from a solid, windbreak material and the remaining walls are constructed with a mesh material 156. The mesh is selected to resist penetration by insects and bugs yet provide screening from the sun and movement of breezes through the mesh material.

FIG. 16 depicts a view to a chair-shelter 160 adapted to hunting and the seating of a single hunter. FIG. 17 depicts a shelter 180 adapted to seat and cover multiple hunters at a multi-occupant chair 182. FIG. 18 depicts the multi-occupant chair 182 removed from the shelter 180. Each of the chairs used at the shelters 160 and 180 include pivot couplers 104 that can include or not the slot 106 and/or rear stop to limit the rotation of the stays 102. As before, the couplers 104 cause the stays 102 to splay outward and away from the user and the chair and to provide a smooth rotation of the stays 102.

Although the shelters 160 and 180 can be covered with a smooth fabric material, the shelters 160 and 180 are covered with fabric covers 162 and 184 made from a permanently wrinkled material 164. Fronds or streamers 166 formed from the material 164 are attached to dangle over open cut-out spaces 168 and 186 where a gun or bow can be extended with relatively little obstruction to the hunter. Removable netting and/or permanent wall panels can be fastened to the openings 168 and 186 to cover the openings 168 and 186 for blinds designed to provide protection from the weather. A skirt 188 (shown in partial cutaway) can radiate from the bottom edge of the covers 162 or 184 and can include a weight member 190 (e.g. rod or multiple segments) to minimize lifting of the cover with wind gusts and loss of heat or release of human scent. The skirt 188 can also be covered with snow when the shelter is adapted for winter conditions.

The material 164 exhibits a three-dimensional appearance. A permanently wrinkled 3D material is particularly provided that exhibits a random, wrinkled finish. Other materials with permanent gathered regions can similarly exhibit such an appearance. The gathers and/or wrinkles produce ridges, valleys and pockets that absorb light without compromising the weave of the fabric substrate. A substantially wind and weather resistant material is thereby attained. Various nylon, polymer and other synthetic materials find particular advantage in manufacturing the wrinkled material 164 and which materials are conducive to taking a permanent set upon exposure to controlled temperatures and pressures during a treating process.

When used in hunting blinds, clothing or the like, the blinds, clothing etc. are typically sewn to an oversize pattern. The sewn apparatus is then collected and passed through a treating station. The treating station subjects the material for suitable time(s) in a pressurized steam atmosphere at suitable pressure(s) and a temperature(s) to produce a permanent wrinkling in the material 164. Fabric sleeves or loops 174 and/or closed-ended pockets 172, reference FIG. 19, are sewn into the shelter enclosures constructed from the 3D fabric 162 and 184 to contain the stays 102 and maintain a tension on the shelter covers 162 and 184. The tensioning of the covers 162 and 184 is desirable to prevent flapping and flexing of the fabric covers 162 and 182 in the wind.

When using the 3D fabric 164, it is also necessary to prevent the stretching of the fabric 164 which can reduce the amount of wrinkling and visual relief and tension. FIG. 19 depicts one of numerous stiffening members 170 that are formed into the covers 162 and 184 to prevent the fabric 164 from stretching. The particularly depicted member 170 comprises a line or rib of material that is collected and seamed together in collinear alignment to one of the stays 102 (shown in cutaway) between the end pocket 172 and stay sleeve 174. The length of the member 170 can be sized as desired.

Although a stiffening member 170 defined by collected and sewn portions of the fabric is shown, the members 170 can also comprise intermittent seams, ribbing, roping, straps or the like that are distributed over the surface of the fabric 164 to prevent the fabric 164 from stretching. The members 170 are typically fastened to the inside of the cover. An adequate number of one or more types and lengths of stiffening members 170 can be provided as desired and necessary about the surfaces of the covers 162 and 184 to maintain the winkles in a relaxed condition and thereby optimize the 3D relief of the material.

FIG. 20 shows a clothing item 192 (e.g. rain poncho) that is sewn from the 3D fabric 164. Clothing items might also include stiffening members and 170 to maintain the sewn shape of the sewn item 192 and prevent drooping etc.

FIG. 21 shows an alternative two-piece pivot coupler 200 that provides upper and lower pieces 202 and 204 that capture the stays 102. The coupler acts in a substantially similar fashion to the coupler 104. The pieces 202 and 202 and stays 102 are secured together with a fastener 108 that acts as an axle. The fastener 108 is secured to the chair and compresses the stays 102 between the coupler pieces 202 and 204 and such that the stays 102 pivot about the fastener 108. The tension from the stays 102 on the coupler pieces 202 and 204 promotes the outward splaying of the resilient stays 102 and retention of the fastener 108. The coupler pieces 202 and 204 also protect the user from the ends of the stays 102.

While the invention has been described with respect to considered alternative assemblies and considered improvements or alternatives thereto, still other assemblies may be suggested to those skilled in the art. It is also to be appreciated that selected ones of the foregoing components can be used singularly or can be arranged in different combinations to provide a variety of improved shelter assemblies. The foregoing description should therefore be construed to include all those embodiments within the spirit and scope of the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7975654 *Oct 30, 2009Jul 12, 2011Leisureease, LlcPet containment device and method
US8517462 *May 24, 2011Aug 27, 2013Multiseat, Inc.Configurable seating device and method of use thereof
US8534752 *Apr 22, 2011Sep 17, 2013Steelcase Inc.Reconfigurable table assemblies
US20120037049 *Apr 22, 2011Feb 16, 2012Kirt MartinReconfigurable Table Assemblies
US20120235370 *Mar 18, 2011Sep 20, 2012Jefim KirshnerCart chair
US20120299339 *May 24, 2011Nov 29, 2012Birch Richard RConfigurable seating device and method of use thereof
Classifications
U.S. Classification297/16.2, 297/184.14, 135/96
International ClassificationA47C4/28, E04H15/02, A47C1/00, A47C7/62
Cooperative ClassificationA47C4/286, A47C29/006, E04H15/003, A47C7/66
European ClassificationA47C29/00D, A47C7/66, E04H15/00B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Sep 4, 2008ASAssignment
Owner name: NATURE VISION, INC., MINNESOTA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ZERNOV, JEFFREY P.;REEL/FRAME:021552/0644
Effective date: 20080831