Title:
Height-adjustable outdoor concealment apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable concealment apparatus for providing outdoor camouflage cover to a user thereof includes a flexible fabric panel member and a plurality of support members operatively attached to the fabric panel member. Each of said support members includes a hollow lower tube, a connector attached to a top portion of the lower tube, and an upper pole that passes through the connector and fits slidably and telescopically within the lower tube. The upper pole is independently adjustable by a user relative to the lower tube for each support member, so that in an installed configuration of the apparatus, the effective height of the panel member is independently adjustable at each support member.



Inventors:
Lee, Scott D. (Lapeer, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/323985
Publication Date:
11/01/2007
Filing Date:
12/30/2005
Assignee:
Eastman Holding Company (Flushing, MI, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H15/60
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HAWK, NOAH CHANDLER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARRIER BLACKMAN AND ASSOCIATES (24101 NOVI ROAD, SUITE 100, NOVI, MI, 48375, US)
Claims:
Having, thus, described the invention, what is claimed is:

1. A portable concealment apparatus for providing outdoor camouflage cover to a user thereof, said concealment apparatus comprising: a flexible fabric panel member having an upper section, a lower section, and a foldably collapsible midsection, said fabric panel member having a plurality of tubular sleeves formed in the lower section thereof and a plurality of channels formed in the upper section thereof, with a respective channel situated above each sleeve; a plurality of support members, each of said support members comprising: a hollow lower tube with a pointed tip portion for insertion into a substrate during installation to stabilize the apparatus; a connector attached to a top portion of the lower tube, the connector having a hollow bore formed therethrough; an upper pole that passes through the connector and fits slidably and telescopically within the lower tube, with a position of the upper pole in the lower tube being independently adjustable by a user for each support member; wherein each channel of the fabric panel member receives part of an upper pole of a respective support member therein, each sleeve of the fabric panel member receives a medial portion of a corresponding lower tube therein, and the midsection of the fabric panel member is separate from the support member; whereby the effective height of the panel member is independently adjustable at each support member in an installed configuration of the apparatus.

2. The concealment apparatus of claim 1, wherein the connector is formed of a flexibly resilient material, and wherein the upper pole is held in place in the connector by friction therebetween.

3. The concealment apparatus of claim 1, wherein the connector member includes a rotatable collar which is internally threaded and can be rotated to temporarily lock the position of the upper pole in the lower tube.

4. The concealment apparatus of claim 1, wherein the fabric panel member has a plurality of simulated foliage cutouts therein, to create a three-dimensional effect.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to concealment structures such as hunting blinds. More particularly, the present invention relates to a camouflaged concealment structure apparatus including a plurality of spaced-apart telescopically adjustable support poles and a fabric panel mounted on the support poles, in which the height of each support pole can be independently adjusted.

2. Description of the Background Art

When out in the field for moderate or long periods, hunters often spend time in hunting blinds to disguise themselves from game, and also to protect themselves from inclement weather.

Similarly, naturalists, nature photographers, and environmental scientists often work out in the field, such as in forest or wilderness areas. Naturalists often wish to approach wild animals as closely as possible without being detected, in order to photograph or observe the animals in their natural habitat, while disturbing them as little as possible. Accordingly, these people also find blinds and related camouflage covers useful.

Many designs for hunting blinds are known. Class 135, subclass 900 is provided in the U.S. Patent Classification System for the listing of hunting blinds and related shelters.

Fargason, U.S. Pat. No. 5,983,913 discloses one example of a hunting blind.

Adams, U.S. Pat. No. 6,009,673 discloses another design for a portable insulated modular shelter, which is usable as a hunting blind, ice fishing shelter, or wildlife observatory. Several other known designs for hunting blinds, ice fishing shelters and similar enclosures are referred to and discussed in the background section of the Adams '673 reference.

Eastman, U.S. Pat. No. 6,941,961 discloses a hunting blind including an outer fabric shell and a scent-dampening liner inside of the shell.

Other outdoor concealment structures or similar devices are disclosed in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,265,261 (Barker), 4,683,672 (Davis), 4,700,731 (Smith), 5,062,234 (Green), 5,414,950 (Johnson, Sr.), 5,487,402 (Clary), and 5,609,176 (Weeks).

The U.S. Pat. No. 5,414,950 reference to Johnson, Sr. describes a hunting blind with a height-adjustment feature, although fixed frame sections of the blind design in this reference require an entire frame section to move as an integral unit.

A number of different designs are known for height-adjustable tent poles, such as those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,656,494 (Cornett et al.), 3,833,012 (McAllister), and 5,593,239 (Sallee).

Although the known devices have some utility for their intended purposes, a need still exists in the art for a flexibly adjustable concealment structure. In particular, there is a need for an improved concealment structure in which individual sections of the structure are independently height-adjustable, to allow a user to customize the structure for a particular application or use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention fills the above need by providing an improved concealment structure in which individual sections of the structure are independently height-adjustable, to allow a user to customize the structure for a particular application or use.

A portable concealment apparatus according to a selected illustrative embodiment of the invention includes a flexible fabric panel member having an upper section, a lower section, and a foldably collapsible midsection. The lower section of the fabric panel member has a plurality of tubular sleeves formed therein, and a plurality of channels are formed in the upper section of the fabric panel member. A respective channel is situated above each sleeve to accommodate a support member in the fabric panel.

The fabric panel member may, optionally, have a plurality of simulated foliage cutouts thereon, to create a three-dimensional effect, and to better camouflage a user.

The concealment apparatus also includes a plurality of support members, which fit into the sleeves and channels of the fabric panel member to provide support thereto. Each of the support members includes a hollow lower tube with a pointed tip portion at a lower end thereof. The pointed tip is provided for insertion into earth, gravel or a similar substrate during installation, in order to stabilize the apparatus.

Each of the support members also includes a connector attached to a top portion of the lower tube. The connector has a hollow bore formed therethrough, and may be formed of a flexibly resilient material such as rubber or a suitable elastomer. The connector provides a junction between the lower tube and an upper pole.

Each of the support members also includes an upper pole that passes through the connector, and fits slidably and telescopically within the lower tube. The position of the upper pole in the lower tube is independently adjustable by a user for each support member.

In an assembled configuration of the apparatus, each channel of the fabric panel member receives part of an upper pole of a respective support member therein, and each sleeve of the fabric panel member receives a medial portion of a corresponding lower tube therein. The midsection of the fabric panel member is free from attachment to the support member, and in a lowered position of a support member, the midsection of the fabric panel member is folded over in front of the lower section thereof.

As a result of the independent adjustability of each of the support members, the effective height of the panel member is independently adjustable at each support member, in an installed configuration of the apparatus.

In one embodiment of the invention, the upper pole is held in place in the connector by friction therebetween. In another embodiment hereof, the connector includes a threaded outer collar which can be rotated to tighten the connector and to temporarily fix the position of the upper pole in the lower tube.

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.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an environmental perspective view of a height-adjustable concealment apparatus according to an illustrative embodiment of the present invention, with the height thereof adjusted to a maximum configuration;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the height-adjustable concealment apparatus of FIG. 1 after the height thereof has been lowered to a setting below the maximum configuration shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3A is a simplified outline view of the height-adjustable concealment apparatus of FIGS. 1-2, with individual support members thereof set differently from one another in a first custom configuration;

FIG. 3B is a simplified outline view of the height-adjustable concealment apparatus of FIGS. 1-2, with individual support members thereof set differently from one another in a second custom configuration;

FIG. 4 is a detail view of a panel portion of the height-adjustable concealment apparatus of FIGS. 1-2, showing a three-dimensional nature effects structure; and

FIG. 5 is a side plan view, partially in cross-section, of the apparatus of FIGS. 1-2, showing a support member which is a component part thereof.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings, a portable concealment apparatus according to a selected illustrative embodiment of the invention is shown generally at 10 in FIGS. 1-2. The apparatus 10 includes a flexible fabric panel member 11 mounted on a plurality of support members 20 (a single support member is shown in detail in FIG. 5). As used herein, the term “fabric” is meant to refer to a flexible cloth or cloth-like material including component fibers, which may be made of a weather-resistant polymer, and which may be either woven or nonwoven.

The support members 20 are interchangeable and are substantially identical to one another, and are therefore each given the same reference number 20 herein.

In the depicted embodiment, the fabric panel member 11 is held up by two outside support members 20, and is folded around five medial support members 20 to define six substantially planar panel segments 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18, in the installed configuration of the structure.

As shown in FIG. 5, the fabric panel member 11 has an upper section 22, a lower section 24, and a foldably collapsible midsection 25. The lower section 24 of the fabric panel member 11 has a plurality of tubular sleeves 26 formed therein to slidably receive lower tubes 30 of respective support members 20. Similarly, the upper section 22 of the fabric panel member 11 has a plurality of channels 28 formed therein to slidably receive upper poles 32 of the respective support members 20.

A respective channel 28 is situated above each sleeve 26 to accommodate a respective support member 20 in the fabric panel member 11.

As seen best in FIG. 4, the fabric panel member 11 may, optionally, have a plurality of simulated foliage cutouts 29 thereon, to create a three-dimensional effect, and to better camouflage a user concealed therein. Optionally, the fabric panel member 11 may include an outer fabric layer 40 and an inner mesh layer 42, in order to permit a user to see out, but to obscure any view through the panel member of a user situated there behind.

Each of the support members 20 includes a hollow lower tube 30 with a pointed tip portion 31 at a lower end thereof. The pointed tip portion 31 is provided for insertion into earth, gravel or a similar substrate during installation, in order to stabilize the apparatus 10.

Each of the support members also includes a connector 34, which is attached to a top portion of the lower tube 30 by gluing or the like. The connector 34 has a hollow bore 35 formed therethrough to slidably receive the upper pole 32, and may be formed of a flexibly resilient material such as rubber or a suitable elastomer. The connector provides a junction between the lower tube and the upper pole 32, and may be configured to resiliently press against the upper pole at the hollow bore, to create an interference fit therebetween.

Each of the support members 20 also includes an upper pole 32 that passes through the connector 34, and which fits slidably and telescopically within the lower tube 30, as shown in the inset portion of FIG. 5. The position of the upper pole 32 in the lower tube 30 is independently adjustable by a user for each support member 20.

In an assembled configuration of the apparatus, each channel 28 of the fabric panel member 11 receives part of an upper pole 32 of a respective support member 20 therein, and each sleeve 26 of the fabric panel member receives a medial portion of a corresponding lower tube 30 therein, as shown in FIG. 5. The midsection 25 of the fabric panel member 11 is separate from, and free from attachment to the support member 20, and in a lowered position of the support member, as shown in FIG. 5, the midsection 25 of the fabric panel member 11 is folded over in front of the lower section 24 thereof.

As a result of the independent adjustability of each of the support members 20, the effective height of the fabric panel member 11 is independently adjustable at each support member, in an installed configuration of the apparatus.

In one embodiment of the invention, the upper pole 32 is held in place in the connector 34 by friction therebetween.

In another embodiment hereof, as shown in FIG. 6, an upper end of the lower tube 130 is provided with a plurality of spaced apart fingers 133 which taper inwardly towards the top end thereof, and which have male threads formed externally thereon. In this second embodiment, the connector 134 is provided as an annular collar having female threads formed internally therein, and which can be rotated to tighten the connector against the upper tube 32, and to temporarily fix the position of the upper pole in the lower tube 30.

Although the present invention has been described herein with respect to a number of specific illustrative embodiments, the foregoing description is intended to illustrate, rather than to limit the invention. Those skilled in the art will realize that many modifications of the preferred embodiment could be made which would be operable. For example, while the drawings and description herein have been primarily directed to a panel-type open top apparatus, it will be understood that an enclosed tent-type apparatus could also be made using the support members and fabric panel member hereof, and would be operable.

All such modifications, which are within the scope of the claims, are intended to be within the scope and spirit of the present invention.





 
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