United States Patent 3833012

This invention relates to an adjustable multi-section tent pole characterized by a pair of axially-adjustable telescoping tubes at one extremity, the smaller of which carries a plug with a freely-rotatable eccentrically mounted knurled ring thereon that will releasably lock inside the larger of said tubes upon relative rotational movement therebetween in either direction.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
403/350, 473/296
International Classes:
F16B7/14; (IPC1-7): F16B7/10; E04G25/02; E21D15/14
Field of Search:
135/15PQ 285
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3259407Lock for telescoping tubes1966-07-05Welt
2991096Friction lock for telescoping sleeves1961-07-04Davidson
2947557Locking device1960-08-02Schwab et al.
2546157Locking means for adjustable telescopic members1951-03-27Hume
1970624Adjustable telescoping support1934-08-21Recker

Primary Examiner:
Bell, Karl J.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Edwards, Spangler, Wymore & Klaas
What is claimed is

1. The adjustable multi-section tent pole which comprises: a tubular section; a post section sized to telescope freely into an open end of the tubular section; an extension section connectable to the other end of the tubular section defining a rigid support therefor capable of holding same in an upright elevated position; and, eccentric locking means carried by the telescoped end of the post section operative upon actuation to releasably fasten same in any selected axiallly-adjusted position within the tubular section, said locking means including an eccentrically-located pin projecting from the telescoped end of the post means and a ring with an eccentrically located opening therein mounted upon the pin for relative rotational movement, said ring cooperating with the post section when in coaxial relation therewith to define a subassembly sized to telescope freely into the tubular section, and said pin cooperating with the ring upon relative rotational movement between the post and tubular section to cam one against the other.

2. The tent pole as set forth in claim 1 in which: the extension section comprises at least one additional tubular section; and, in which a pin-and-socket connector provides plugs for adjacent ends of the tubular section and extension section therefor adapted to releasably fasten same together in assembled relation.

3. The tent pole as set forth in claim 1 in which: the extension section comprises a tubular backpack frame of the type having a horizontally-disposed crossbar near the top thereof; and, a pin-and-socket connector detachably connecting said extension section and tubular section together, one of said sections having the pin forming portion of said connector depending therefrom while the socket forming portion comprises a hole in the other of said sections.

4. The tent pole as set forth in claim 1 in which: the post section comprises a second tubular member open at one end; the eccentric pin of the locking means comprises a part of a plug closing the other end of said second tubular section; and, in which a solid post sized to telescope into the open end of said second tubular section defines an extension thereof, said solid post including stop-forming means spaced above the lower extremity thereof adapted to engage the end of the second tubular section and limit the relative telescopic movement therebetween.

5. The tent pole as set forth in claim 3 in which; the pin-forming portion of the connector depends from the lower end of the extension section and the socket-forming hole is located intermediate the ends of the crossbar in position to maintain said extension section in upright position.

Lightweight tubular multi-section tent poles are commonplace fixtures for the backpacker who must conserve both space and weight in his pack if he is to carry same easily. Most such poles comprise several tubular sections, each of which has a male and a female end adapted for telescopic connection into a companion end of an adjoining section. Usually the female ends are plain while the male ends comprise tips of reduced diameter separated from the main tube by an annular shoulder defining a stop adapted to limit the degree of telescopic penetration. Sometimes the extremities are rounded or further reduced in diameter to facilitate insertion. When connected together, these sections cooperate with one another to define a relatively strong and rigid pole of substantially uniform outside diameter.

Unfortunately, poles of this type can only be shortened or lengthened by removing or adding complete sections even though the usual adjustment needed is but a matter of an inch or two. As a result, the user is faced with the prospect of makeshift blocks to raise the pole or a shallow hole in which to recess the lower end if it is too long. There are even times when only a part of the entire pole is needed such as, for example, when a short extension rod is used atop a backpack frame standing upright as the tent pole.

It has now been found in accordance with the teaching of the instant invention that these and other shortcomings of the prior art tent poles can be overcome by the simple, but unobvious, expedient of providing one pair of telescoping sections with a specially-designed eccentric lock by means of which the length can be adjusted to either lengthen or shorten same over the full range thereof while connected together. Such adjustments are made without the need for any tools nor are pins or other connectors used that are easily lost or misplaced. Such a pole can be left in its foreshortened condition while being placed in the tent so as to prevent it from tearing the fabric and then extended to whatever length needed to keep the skin tight. Furthermore, if, as usually occurs, the tent begins to stretch and sag after a while, it becomes a simple matter to remove any slack by further lengthening the posts. In addition, one, if not both, of the interlockable sections is provided with a pin-type male connector in the end thereof sized to either enter a metal grommet or the like in the tent skin or, alternatively, fit down into an aperture in the cross bar atop a metal backpack frame when the latter is used as a part of the tent pole.

Accordingly, it is, therefore, the principal object of the present invention to provide a novel multi-section adjustable tent pole.

A second objective of the within-described invention is to provide a unit of the type aforementioned that has a unique eccentric ring lock between one pair of telescoping sections thereof.

Another object of the invention herein disclosed and claimed is to provide a tent pole having a pair of detachable sections that can be used separately in combination with a backpack frame as an adjustable pole assembly.

Still another objective of the invention forming the subject matter hereof is the provision of a unit that requires no tools and can, therefore, be both assembled and disassembled by hand.

An additional object is to provide a multiple-segment tent pole that is adjustable over its full range while in assembled condition and even when under load.

Further objects are to provide a tent pole that is simple to operate, strong, relatively inexpensive, lightweight yet rugged, versatile, rustproof, reliable, trouble-free, compact and even decorative in appearance.

Other objects will be in part apparent and in part pointed out specifically hereinafter in connection with the description of the drawings that follows, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view looking down upon the tent pole in assembled relation;

FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary detail, half in section and half in elevation, showing the several sections of the unit in assembled relation, considerable portions in the middle of each tube having been broken away to conserve space;

FIG. 3 is an exploded perspective view similar to FIG. 1 but to a larger scale and again having considerable portions intermediate the ends of each tubular section broken away to conserve space;

FIG. 4 is a further enlarged fragmentary diametrical section taken along line 4--4 of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a fragmentary detail showing the eccentric ring lock in perspective at much the same scale as FIG. 2;

FIG. 6 is a transverse section taken along line 6--6 of FIG. 2 at the same scale as FIG. 4;

FIG. 7 is a transverse section taken along line 7--7 of FIG. 2 to the same scale as FIGS. 4 and 6; and,

FIG. 8 is an elevational view to a reduced scale showing an alternative version of the tent pole in which a backpack frame is substituted for the two lowermost sections.

Referring next to the drawings for a detailed description of the present invention and, initially, to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 for this purpose, reference numeral 10 has been chosen to designate the tent pole in its entirety while reference numerals 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 refer to the five sections thereof starting at the bottom, all of which are different. The lowermost section 12 is of conventional design and consists of a hollow aluminum tube with a portion of reduced diameter 22 at its upper extremity sized to telescope up into the lower end of the adjacent section 14 with a free-sliding fit. At the base of reduced portion 22 is an annular shoulder 24 that defines a stop adapted to engage the end of the adjacent section and thus limit the extent of penetration of the one telescoping element 12 into the other 14. In the particular form shown, the tip 26 of the reduced portion 22 is further reduced to assist in guiding one tube into the other.

The next section 14 is plain at the bottom but is closed at the top by a female plug 28F having an axial socket 30 therein. This plug is sized to fit tightly into the upper end of the tube with its degree of penetration therein being limited by a downwardly-facing shoulder 32 separating the main body thereof from annular flange 34 that has the same outside diameter as the tube itself.

The third section 16 has its upper end as the plain open ended tube, whereas its lower end is closed by a male plug 28M of similar design to plug 28F except that instead of socket 30, it includes an axially-projecting pin 36 that is sized to enter the latter with a free-sliding fit and thus cooperate therewith to define a pin-and-socket connector subassembly. Plug 28M includes the same size base and flange 34; however, the shoulder 32 therebetween faces upwardly rather than downwardly.

Since section 18 incorporates the principal novelty present in the several sections that go to make up the pole, a detailed description thereof will be deferred for the present except to note that it is of a smaller diameter than the lower sections so as to telescope freely into section 16, once again with a free-sliding fit. Also, the upper end comprises a plain open ended tube. Accordingly, skipping on to section 20, it will be seen to consist of a solid rod rather than a tube as was true of the other sections. Probably the best way to look at section 20 is as a modified form of male plug 28M. The main body 38 of the plug-forming end of the unit is functionally identical to that of plug 28M except that the diameter thereof is reduced to fit inside the smaller tubular section 18. An annular flange 40 encircles the plug body 38 in exactly the same way as flange 34 while cooperating with said body to define a downwardly-facing stop-forming shoulder 42. The uppermost tip of section 20 carries the axially-directed pin 44 that is analogous to pin 36 of plug 28M; however, instead of pin 44 emerging from the top of flange 42 as was the case before, it is separated therefrom by a cylindrical section 46 having a diameter intermediate that of the flange and pin. Since section 20 is several inches long and pin 42 is of rather small diameter being sized to pass through a hole in a tent grommet, it was considered advisable to interpose section 46 between the annular flange and pin to provide greater structural strength at this point. Also, an upwardly-facing shoulder 48 was needed at the base of the pin to limit the degree of penetration of the latter and this requirement necessitated a second annular flange anyway or an elongation of the first one 40 thus greatly increasing the weight of the top section.

In practical use, the top section 20 is oftentimes semi-permanently secured to the tent so as to remain therewith at all times except, perhaps, when it is being washed and dried. The length of this section is such that it does not interfere with the folding of the tent nor will it puncture the fabric if properly handled.

Next, with specific reference to FIGS. 2-7, inclusive, the structure of section 18 will be set forth in detail. As already mentioned, it is tubular but of a reduced size adapted to telescope freely down into larger tubular section 16. As was the case with sections 14 and 16, one end of section 18 is closed with a female plug 50 of somewhat similar design to plug 28F except that the socket 52 therein is offset to one side of the plug axis as shown in FIG. 4 and it is internally threaded instead of being smooth surfaced like socket 30. Annular flange 54 has the same diameter as the outside diameter of the tube 18 and includes the upwardly-facing shoulder 56 that limits the extent of plug penetration.

A pin 58 extends diametrically through the plug and into apertures 60 in the tube walls to prevent unwanted relative rotation therebetween. Threaded up into socket 52 is a screw 62 that retains knurled eccentric ring 64 thereon for free relative rotational movement. The outside diameter of the ring is the same as that of the tube 18 and annular flange 54 of plug 50; however, the bored hole 64 therein is offset to one side of the axis just like the socket 52 in the plug and to approximately the same extent. Thus, while the screw 62 keeps the bored hole in the ring always in alighment with the socket in the plug, it is only in one relative rotational position that the cylindrical outside wall of said ring matches and defines a continuation of the plugs annular flange 54. It is this position that is shown in FIG. 3 and which is the one that the elements preferably occupy when section 18 is being inserted in section 16 although some eccentricity between the ring and plug can be tolerated and still permit the one tube to be passed telescopically into the other.

When the time comes to releasably lock the cam carrying section 18 in longitudinally adjusted position inside tube 16, the operator need only tilt the tubes slightly relative to one another until the knurled surface 66 of the ring engages the inside wall of tube 16; whereupon, relative rotational movement therebetween in either direction will cause the ring to extend out into the position shown in FIG. 4, 5 and 7 thus forcing the annular flange 54 of the plug over against the opposite wall of tube 16 as revealed in FIGS. 2, 4 and 6. In other words, relative rotational movement between the tubes with ring 64 held in fixed position against the wall of tube 16 will result in said ring camming the plug flange 54 tightly against the opposite wall. To loosen the connection, the above procedure is, of course, reversed by twisting the tubes relative to one another in the direction opposite to that in which they were tightened.

Finally, with brief reference to FIG. 8, an alternative embodiment of the invention has been illustrated in which a metal backpack frame 68 has been substituted for the two lowermost pole sections 12 and 14. This is accomplished by merely drilling a vertical hole 70 through the upper crossframe element 72 approximately midway between its ends. With this done, one need only insert the pin 36 projecting downwardly from the bottom of section 16 into such hole. In some pack frames, an additional crossbar (not shown) can be mounted atop the frame as an accessory to the latter in which event it will be drilled to carry the remaining pole sections. The arrangement of FIG. 8 has certain advantages in that the need for carrying the two bottom sections of at least one, and possible both, poles can be eliminated. Also, this places the gear inside the tent in a convenient and accessible upright position. Even on the trail, one can use the frame and pole as combined in FIG. 8 as a means for holding a waterproof poncho-forming sheet above the head and over the pack in inclement weather. The so-called "walking tent" thus formed can be made up from the regular tent fly thereby doing away with the need for other foul weather gear.