US 3708199 A
A collapsible shelter unit which can be unfolded and erected in a few minutes to form a relatively roomy structure which can be used alone as a form of tent, or in combination with a pickup truck to make up into a camper. The unit comprises a box-like structure having side and end walls to which other panels are hinged so that they can be swung out to form horizontal bedding support shelves projecting laterally from said side walls, and upstanding extensions to said end walls. The upstanding end wall extensions have side wings hinged to their outer side edges, and these wings swing out to form end walls for said bedding support shelves. The sides and ends lock together to form a relatively rigid enclosure covered by a fabric top. The fabric top is attached along its side edges to the side panels, and its end edges overhang the top edges of the end panels and are drawn down to a snug fit by means of purse strings in the fabric. A door is hinged to one of the end walls to permit entry. The unit can be collapsed and folded in on itself to form a compact, fully enclosed, weather-tight box.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Throssell Jan. 2, 1973  COLLAPSIBLE SHELTER UNIT  Inventor: Norman J. Throssell, 32 Mill Street,
Mira Lorna, Calif 01770  Filed: April 8, 1971 21 Appl. No.: 132,277
 US. Cl. ..296/23 MC, 296/23 F  Int. Cl. ..B60p 3/34  Field of Search 224/921; 296/23 MC, 23 R,
l,028,739 2/1953 France 296/23 F Primary Examiner-P. Goodman Attorney-Herbert E. Kidder  ABSTRACT A collapsible shelter unit which can be unfolded and erected in a few minutes to form a relatively roomy structure which can be used alone as a form of tent, or in combination with a pickup truck to make up into a camper. The unit comprises a box-like structure having side and end walls to which other panels are hinged so that they can be swung out to form horizontal bedding support shelves projecting laterally from said side walls, and upstanding extensions to said end walls. The upstanding end wall extensions have side wings hinged to their outer side edges, and these wings swing out to form end walls for said bedding support shelves. The sides and ends lock together to form a relatively rigid enclosure covered by a fabric top. The fabric top is attached along its side edges to the side panels, and its end edges overhang the top edges of the end panels and are drawn down to a snug fit by means of purse strings in the fabric. A door is hinged to one of the end walls to pennit entry. The unit can be collapsed and folded in on itself to form a compact, fully enclosed, weather-tight box.
4 Claims, 13 Drawing Figures PATENTEU N 2 I975 SHEEI 1 [IF 4 PATENTED M 2 Ian SHEET 2 OF 4 COLLAPSIBLE SHELTER UNIT BACKGROUND OF THE. INVENTION This invention relates to collapsible shelter units of the type that may be used for camping or, in combination with a pickup truck and with a slightly modified box construction, may be made up into a pickup camper.
The primary object of the invention is to provide a shelter unit of the type that can be collapsed and folded up into a extremely compact, box-like structure which might typically be about It) to 12 inches high, around 4 feet wide, and 8 feet long; but which can be quickly and easily unfolded and erected to form a shelter unit approximately 8 feet wide, 8 feet long, and having a full standing room inside, of 6 feet 6 inches to 7 feet height. These dimensions are not in any sense restrictive of the invention, but are merely given to illustrate a typical unit made in accordance with the invention.
Another object of the invention is to provide a shelter unit of the class described that can be erected by one man, without outside help, and without using any tools, in a matter of only 4 or minutes. One advantage of the invention is that no tent pegs are needed, and where the unit is used on the ground as a tent-like structure, it is not necessary to dig trenches in the ground the sides to keep rain water from getting underneath. As a matter of fact, the box forming the bottom part of the structure is water-tight, and could stand in to l2 inches of water without leaking any water into the interior.
A further object of the invention is to provide a shelter unit having the bottom, sides, and end walls made of rigid panels, such as plywood, reinforced plastic, sheet metal or the like, wherein the panels are hinged together in such a manner that the sides and end walls can be swung up or out to provide horizontal bedding support shelves projecting laterally from opposite sides of the box, and vertical end walls, one of which has an entryway provided therein. The roof of the unit is formed by a fabric (i.e., canvas) top, the side edges of which are attached to the side panels, and the end edges of which overhang the top edges of the end walls and are drawn down snugly over the latter by means of purse strings passing through tunnels in the edges of the fabric. The side and end panels are locked together, forming an extremely rigid and strongly braced structure which can be closed up almost airtight in case of high winds, and which can withstand winds of almost gale force.
Still another object of the invention, in one of its embodiments, is to provide a shelter unit which can be combined with a box-like structure occupying the cargo deck of a pickup truck, to form a collapsible pickup camper which can be folded up into an extremely compact form for transport, but which can be erected by one man in a few minutes to form a surprisingly roomy camper having laterally projecting berths along both sides, and full stand-up headroom down the middle.
Among the many advantages of the invention are: (l) the unit can be folded up into a very compact, relatively flat, box-like body having hard-panel sides which protect the contents; (2) it can be stored on edge in a garage or other storage space, and four or five units could be carried at one time in a pickup truck; (3) the shelter unit is completely water-tight at all times, both when folded up for transport and when erected for use, and as a result, the bedding stays dry; (4) when used as a tent, the beds are held up off the ground, which insures dryness; (5) the bedding is made up at all times, and immediately ready for use; (6) there is full headroom between the bunks, with no tent poles or other structure to interfere with free movement within the shelter unit; and (7) the canvas top can be replaced at very low cost, as there is no tailoring involved, and it is nothing more than a rectangular panel having drawtype purse strings on both ends.
These and other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art from a consideration of the following detailed description of two illustrated embodiments thereof, together with the drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS:
FIG. I is a side elevation of a pickup truck upon which is mounted a collapsible shelter unit embodying the principles of the invention, said shelter unit making up into a pickup camper, as shown;
FIG. 2 is a rear elevational view of the same;
FIG. 3 is a front view;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged sectional view, taken at 4-4 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of a detail, taken at 55 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 6 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of another detail, taken at 6-6 in FIG. 1;
FIG. 7 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 4, but showing the shelter unit folded up for transport;
FIG. 8 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention, showing a tent-like shelter unit packed for transport or storage;
FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the embodiment of FIG. 8, as it appears when erected for use;
FIG. 10 is an enlarged sectional view taken at 1010 in FIG. 8;
FIG. 11 is an enlarged sectional view taken at lll l in FIG. 8;
FIG. I2 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view of a detail, taken at 12l2 in FIG. 9; and
FIG. 13 is a fragmentary sectional view, taken at 13-13 in FIG. 12.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Attention is directed first to FIGS. 1-7 inclusive, which show one form of the invention. In this embodiment, the invention is designated in its entirety by the reference numeral 15, and is mounted on a pickup truck 16 having a body 17 and cab 18. The after part of the body 17 has a cargo-carrying deck 19 which is elevated slightly above the top edge of the rear bumper. The deck 19 is enclosed by the sides 20 of the truck body, and by the tailgate 21, which is swung down to the open position in FIGS. 1 and 2. When thus mounted on a pickup truck, the shelter unit 15 becomes a pickup camper, and provides the traveler with all of the conveniences of a mobile dwelling in which he can sleep, prepare and eat meals, and otherwise enjoy the comfort, privacy, and conveniences of the more conventional pickup campers, with the added advantage of being able to fold and collapse the unit into a much more compact form for transport.
When it is set up as a dwelling, the unit is expanded laterally to 8 inches or more in width, and vertically to provide 5 feet 6 inches of headroom in the center; while in the collapsed condition, it stands only a few inches higher than the roof of the cab, and its width is less than the width of the car.
The shelter unit comprises a generally rectangular, open-top box 22 having sides and ends hinged to the edges thereof, which swing up or out to their extended positions, and cooperate with a fabric top to form the complete structure, as will be explained in detail. The sides and bottom of the box are preferably made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic panels, although they might be made of exterior grade plywood, tempered fiberboard, sheet metal, or the like. The dimensions of the box 22 are not critical to the invention, except that its length should be somewhat longer than 6 feet to provide full-length bunks, and its width at the upper portion should be about 54 inches to provide two 2-foot wide bunks, with about a 6-inch gap between them when folded up for transport, to receive the fabric top. The lower portion of the box 22 cannot be wider than the tailgate opening, which is usually around 42 to 48 inches wide. The box 22 fits snugly within the cargo well and rests directly on the deck 19, and its rear end may project out through the tailgate opening, where it rests upon the horizontally disposed open tailgate 21.
Box 22 has a bottom 23, sides 24, front end 26, and rear end 28. The front end 26 is preferably shaped, as shown in FIG. 1, to follow the contour of the cab 18 and to overhang the same slightly. This allows the use of longer bunks without having the box 22 project rearwardly for more than just a few inches beyond the rear end of the truck body. Built onto the outer sides of side panels 24 and overhanging the sides of the truck body are laterally projecting side extensions 29, which provide space for built-in storage shelves and drawers.
Near their top edges, the sides 24 are offset laterally outward at to form a shallow receptacle, defining shelves 31 along both sides thereof. Sides 30 need only be about 6 to 8 inches high, in order to contain the folded-in bunks with their associated bedding. Hinged at 32 along the top edges of the offset sides 30 are bedding support shelves 33, each of which is swingable between an inwardly extending, horizontal position (as shown in FIG. 7), and a laterally outwardly extending position (shown in FIGS. 2, 3, and 4). Fixed to the outer edges of the shelves 33 and projecting upwardly therefrom (as seen in FIG. 6) are outer side walls 34. Mattresses 35 and bedding rest on the shelves 33 and are normally retained in place thereon at all times. Panels 36 are hinged at 38 to the top edges of the outer side walls 34, and these are swingable from a position parallel to the corresponding shelf 33, as shown in FIG. 7, to a position perpendicular thereto, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 6. In the latter position, the panel 36 forms an upward extension of wall 34.
The rear end wall 28 of the box 22 extends up to the top edges of the sides 30, and swingably connected to the inside of panel 28 by hinges 40 at approximately the level of shelves 3! is an upper rear end wall panel 41, which is swingable from a horizontal position, resting on the shelves 3] (FIG. 7 to a vertical position (FIG.
4), in which it forms an extension of wall 28. Side wings 42 are hinged at 43 to opposite side edges of the upper end wall panel 41, and are swingable from a position lying flat against the inside of the panel 41 to an extended position projecting straight out therefrom, as in FIG. 4. The bottom edges of the side wings 42 are flush with the undersides of the shelves 33, and their outer edges register with the outersides of walls 34. The wings 42 are interlocked with the panels 36 by means of sliding latches 44 (see FIG. 6), which seat in sockets provided in the inner faces of the wings. In like manner, there is a front end panel 46, connected by hinges 48 to the inner face of the front end wall 26 at the level of the shelves 31. Swingably connected to opposite side edges of the panel 46 by hinges 50 are side wings 51, which likewise interlock with the front ends of panels 36 by latches (not shown).
The shelter unit 15 is enclosed at the top by a fabric top cover 52 of canvas, or the like, which is nailed or otherwise suitably attached to the bottom edges of the side walls 34. The fabric top 52 is a rectangular piece of material of the same fore-and-aft dimension as the length of the shelves 33, plus a 2- or 3-inch overhang at each end. The transverse dimension of the fabric top is the distance measured up over the top of the ends from one shelf 33 to the other. Arched bows 54 of tubular steel or the like extend from the shelves 33, alongside walls 34, and up to points of attachment with a foreand-aft extending tube 56, which reaches from the front end wall 46 to the rear end wall 41. The bows 54 are connected to the tube 56 by sockets or other quick connect fittings, and the ends of the tube 56 are inserted into sockets 57 on the inside of end wall panels 41 and 46. The front and rear ends of the fabric top 46 have tunnels 58 (see FIG. 5) through which drawstrings 59 are passed. These ends of the fabric top overhang end walls 41 and 46 and are drawn down over the same, as shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 5. The drawstrings being drawn tight secures the top 52 to the end walls in a weathertight fit.
The bedding shelves 33 are braced by struts 60, which are detachably connected to the undersides of the shelves 33 near the outer edges thereof, and extend downwardly and inwardly therefrom to points of attachment with the lateral side extensions 29. Struts 60 transfer the weight of the shelves to the sides of the box 22, thereby relieving the latches 44 of some of the strain that would otherwise be carried thereby.
An entryway is formed in the rear end of the unit by vertically aligned openings 62 and 63, which are cut into the end panels 28 and 41, respectively. The entryway 62, 63 is closed by a door made up of lower and upper halves 64 and 65, respectively. The lower door half 64 is connected by hinges 66 to the end panel 28, while the upper half is connected by hinges 67 to end panel 41. The upper and lower door halves are joined together near the edge opposite the hinges by a latch 68, so that they can be opened or closed as one. A doorknob 69 operates the usual latch, which holds the door closed. A window 70 is provided in the upper door half 65 to admit daylight, and the front end wall 46 also has a window 74 for ventilation and light.
When the pickup truck is in normal use traveling over the highway, the shelter unit 15 will usually be folded up to the compact, transport condition shown in FIG. 7. In this configuration, the fabric top 52 is crowded down into a gap left between the side walls 34 (See FIG. 7) and this gap is closed at the top by a lid 72, which is hinged to one of the shelves 33. When it is desired to make the unit into a pickup camper dwelling for the night, the two bedding shelves are swung out to the laterally projecting position shown in FIG. 4, and the braces 60 are attached. The end wall panels 41 and 46 are then swung up to the vertical position, and the side wings swung out to the laterally extended position. The side wings are then latched to their respective ends of panels 36, which locks the structure into a rigid box. The fabric top 52 is then raised up in the center and the fore-and-aft extending tube is inserted at its ends into the sockets 57. The arched bows 54 are then put into place, and they hold the fabric top out to the position shown in FIG. 4. The front and rear ends of the fabric top are pulled down over the front and rear end walls of the unit, and the drawstrings 59 are pulled tight, thereby pulling the fabric top snugly over the ends to form a weathertight enclosure. The unit is then ready for use, and the beds 35 are made up, ready for immediate use. The lower portion of the box 22 may have built-in appliances such as a cooking range and fold-up table, so that meals could be prepared and eaten inside the unit. The inside height of the unit can be whatever is desired, and would preferably be somewhat greater than 6 feet.
Another form of the invention is shown in FIGS. 8 to 13, to which attention is now directed. In this embodiment of the invention, the shelter unit is designated in its entirety by the reference numeral and com prises a shallow box 80 having a bottom 81, end walls 82, and side walls 83. As this embodiment would be used primarily for camping purposes, the dimensions would be held to the minimum for comfortable living accommodations. To that end, the length of the box would be about 76 inches, its width about 48 inches, and its height around l2 inches. Bedding support shelves 84 are hinged at 86 to the outer side edges of the walls 83, and these are swingable through 180 from the position shown in FIGS. 10 and 11, to the laterally outwardly extending position shown in FIG. 13. A ledge 87 is provided along the outside of the side wall 83 just below hinges 85 to support the inner edge of the shelf 84 (FIG. 13) and relieve the hinges of this load. Upwardly projecting sides 86 are attached to the outer side edges of the shelves 84, and panels 88 are hinged at 89 to the sides; the said panels swinging from a position lying flat against the tops of the mattresses 35 (FIGS. 10 and 11), to a position forming an upward extension of the sides 86, as seen in FIG. 13. End walls 90 and 91 are hinged at 92 and 93, respectively, to the inside surfaces of the box end walls 82. It will be noted in FIG. 10 that hinge 93 is somewhat higher than hinge 92, and this is to raise the end wall 91 slightly, so that when it is laid down flat, it will lie on top of the foldeddown end wall 90 and its associated side wings. Side wings 94 are hinged at 95 to opposite sides of end wall 90, and similar side wings 96 are hinged at 97 to opposite sides of end wall 91. Each of the wings 94 and 96 is connected to its adjoining panel 88 by a latch 98, as shown in FIGS. 12 and 13.
Fabric top 100 is nailed along its side edges to the bottom of the walls 86, and the ends of the fabric top are formed with tunnels 101 through which drawstrings I02 pass. Arched bows (not shown) similar to bows 54 of the preceding embodiment, hold the top 100 between the end walls, and these bows may be attached to a horizontal center tube similar to tube 56. Alternatively, the top 100 might be held up by a plurality of parallel straight tubes extending from one end wall to the other. End wall panel has an entryway 104 formed therein, and closing this entryway is a door 106, which is mounted on hinges 108.
When the unit 15' is packed for storage or transport, it appears as shown in FIGS. 8, l0 and 11. To erect the unit to the expanded position shown in FIG. 9, the bedding shelves are swung out to the position projecting laterally outwardly; the end walls 90 and 91 are raised up to the vertical position; side wings 94 and 96 are swung out to the laterally extending position panels 88 are raised up to the vertical position; and latches 98 are engaged, locking the structure into a rigidly braced unit. The fabric top is then raised up on the bows, and the ends of the top are drawn snugly down over the end walls by means of the drawstrings 102. The unit is now set up for use, with the beds already made up and ready for immediate occupancy.
While I have shown and described two illustrative embodiments of my invention in considerable detail, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made in the shape and arrangement of the various parts without departing from the broad scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.
1. A collapsible shelter comprising:
a relatively shallow, generally rectangular, open-top box having upstanding sides and ends;
a pair of bedding-supporting shelves hinged to the top edges of said box sides, each of said shelves being swingable between a closed position and a horizontal open position projecting laterally outward from its respective box side;
each of said shelves being substantially half the width of said box, and each shelf having a flange which projects upwardly from the laterally outer edge thereof when the shelf is in said open position, the height of said flange being somewhat less than the height of said box sides, whereby when said shelves are in said closed position, the flanges project down into the interior of the box and said shelves combine to form a top for said box;
a flat side panel hinged to the top edge of each of said flanges, said side panel being slightly smaller in both width and length dimensions than said shelf, whereby said side panel fits down into said box when the shelf is in said closed position;
each of said side panels being adapted to overlie and confine a mattress and bedding lying on its respective shelf, so as to keep said bedding in place when the shelf is in said closed position; and said side panels being swingable up to parallel, vertical positions at opposite sides of the shelter when said shelves are in said open position;
end wall panels hinged near their bottom edges to said box adjacent the ends thereof, said end wall panels being a swingable between a folded-down position, lying substantially flat on the bottom of said box, and an erect position projecting upwardly from the ends of the box, said end panels having substantially the same length dimension as the overall height of said shelter, and a slightly lesser width dimension than the width of said box; pair of wing panels swingably connected to opposite side edges of each of said end panels, each of said wing panels being as wide as its adjacent bedding shelf, and said wing panels extending from the top edge of the box end to the top edge of the associated end panel; means for releasably locking said side panels to said wing panels at the abutting edges thereof; an entry formed in one of said end panels; and a fabric top attached at its ends to the outer sides of said shelves and extending over the top of the shelter. 2. A collapsible shelter unit as in claim 1, for use with a pickup truck so as to make up into a pickup camper, said box having a lower portion that fits into the cargo well of said pickup truck and rests on the deck thereof, the upper portion of said box being expandable laterally to a width substantially equal to the combined widths of said bedding shelves.
3. A collapsible shelter unit as in claim 1, wherein said fabric top has ends that overhang said end wall panels and their associated wing panels, said ends of said fabric top being formed with tunnels through which drawstrings pass, whereby said ends are pulled down snugly over said end wall and wing panels in weathertight engagement therewith when said drawstrings are pulled tight.
4. A collapsible shelter unit as in claim 1, wherein arched bows are provided to hold up said fabric top between said ends, said arched bows standing on said bedding shelves immediately alongside said flanges, and said arched bows being connected to a horizontal member extending from the top of one of said end wall panels to the top of the other end wall panel.