Title:
Portable sheltered environments
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Provided herein is a device which can be worn about the back of a person, as a backpack, to carry various and sundry items associated with outdoor recreation, to a location at which persons desire to travel. A device according to the invention simultaneously provides a floor that can be spread across the ground, and a canopy support and canopy that shelters the floor. In a preferred embodiment, the floor and canopy are integral with the backpack itself, and a sheltered environment can be setup in a very short time, that shields its users from the effects of sun, rain, and other environmental elements. The floor portion may also include a seating means integrated therewith.



Inventors:
Robinson, Paul L. (Austin, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/731176
Publication Date:
10/02/2008
Filing Date:
03/30/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45F4/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20080023514BACKPACK WITH ADAPTIVE FIT WAIST BELTJanuary, 2008Hurn et al.
20070222248HOLSTER FOR PORTABLE IFE DEVICESeptember, 2007Maulden et al.
20060053667Vehicle flag holderMarch, 2006Andersen
20100038390Combination Water Bottle Cage having a Modularized StructureFebruary, 2010Chang
20070131730DEVICE FOR SUPPORTING ITEMS ON A WHEELCHAIRJune, 2007Mirzale
20050035166Universally mounted multi-purpose carrying caseFebruary, 2005Kresge
20070221696Electronic device carrying case with a foot strapSeptember, 2007Kakita
20040069822Enveloped communication device holder with bottom strap cradleApril, 2004Condiff
20090127301Self Stabilizing BackpackMay, 2009Fidrych et al.
20080116237CROSS BAR LOCKING DEVICE OF ROOF CARRIER FOR VEHICLESMay, 2008Park et al.



Primary Examiner:
LARSON, JUSTIN MATTHEW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Christopher J. Whewell (Western Patent Group 6020 Tonkowa Trail, Georgetown, TX, 78628, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A device useful for providing a portable, retractable sheltered environment which comprises a backpack that comprises: i) a main body portion having an interior space, a top portion, an interior surface, an exterior surface, and a bottom portion; ii) a floor stowage compartment disposed on said interior surface, said floor stowage compartment having an interior space; iii) a floor portion disposed within said floor stowage compartment, wherein said floor portion is attached to said backpack; iv) a canopy stowage compartment disposed on said top portion, said canopy stowage compartment having an interior space; and v) a canopy disposed within said canopy stowage compartment, wherein said canopy portion is attached to said backpack.

2. A device according to claim 1 wherein said floor portion is attached to said backpack at any location within said interior space of said floor stowage compartment.

3. A device according to claim 1 wherein said floor portion is removably attached to said backpack.

4. A device according to claim 1 wherein said floor portion is attached to said backpack by means of a floor attachment flap, which floor attachment flap is attached to said backpack.

5. A device according to claim 4 wherein said floor portion is removably attached to said attachment flap.

6. A device according to claim 1 wherein said canopy portion is attached to said backpack at any location within said interior space of said canopy stowage compartment.

7. A device according to claim 1 wherein said canopy portion is removably attached to said backpack.

8. A device according to claim 1 wherein said interior space of said backpack comprises a thermally-insulated space.

9. A device according to claim 1 wherein said top portion of said backpack is hingeably attached to said body portion of said backpack.

10. A device according to claim 1 further comprising an audio speaker disposed on said external surface of said backpack.

11. A device according to claim 1 further comprising a seating means disposed on said floor portion.

12. A portable sheltered environment comprising: a) a floor portion; b) a support frame disposed above said floor portion; c) a canopy portion, supported in place by said support frame; and d) a backpack having: i) a top portion; ii) a bottom portion; iii) an interior surface; iv) an exterior surface; and iv) an interior space, wherein said floor portion and said canopy portion are each attached to said backpack.

13. A portable sheltered environment according to claim 12 wherein said floor portion comprises a sheet of material selected from the group consisting of: natural fibers and polymeric fibers.

14. A portable sheltered environment according to claim 12 wherein said floor portion is substantially rectangular in shape.

15. A portable sheltered environment according to claim 12 wherein said canopy portion is effectively contoured to provide said floor portion shade from an overhead light source sufficient to shield at least 50% of the surface area of said floor portion from said light source when said canopy portion is disposed over said support frame.

16. A portable sheltered environment according to claim 12 wherein said backpack is disposed atop said floor portion.

17. A portable sheltered environment according to claim 12 wherein said top portion of said backpack is hingeably attached to said backpack.

18. A portable sheltered environment according to claim 12 wherein said interior space comprises thermal insulation.

19. A portable sheltered environment according to claim 12 wherein said exterior surface further comprises an audio speaker disposed thereon.

20. A portable sheltered environment according to claim 12 further comprising a seating means disposed on said floor portion.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates generally to tents and portable enclosures. More particularly, it relates to a portable environment that may provide protection from sun and rain, and which is readily retractable to fit within the confines of a backpack, with which it forms an integral part.

BACKGROUND

Many activities are enjoyed by people in out of doors locations, such as parks, beaches, sports events, concerts, and wooded areas, to name but a few. In enjoying these outdoor activities, one is naturally exposed to the elements, which may unpredictably include spells of sunshine and rain, and insect life that abounds. It is thus often desirable for persons recreating in the outdoors to shelter themselves from these and other elements, which may at times be undesirable.

With the widespread availability of the automobile, persons seeking recreation are able to simply drive to a location that is very close to a desired location, such as a beach. However, it is nearly always the case that the final desired location of recreation is somewhat removed from the location at which they can park their vehicle, making it necessary to travel the remaining distance on foot. Typically people like to enjoy modern conveniences at their desired locations of recreation, and towards this end many means for toting various and sundry items to their final recreation location are in popular use. These include backpacks, sport and duffel bags and the like, as well as tents and overhead canopy enclosures. Often, it is cumbersome to carry a plurality of items which includes all those items perceived as being necessary to enjoyment of the outdoors to the greatest extent imaginable at the time. For example, when going to a beach, a party of two or more persons will desire to bring beach towels, a beach umbrella, FRISBEES flying discs, a radio or other source of music, a cooler for furnishing refreshing beverages and snack foods, extra clothing, etc. Carrying all of these items from a vehicle to the final desired location can be daunting at times. Thus, there exists a need in the art for a device or means for providing the vast majority of the needs of a typical party seeking to enjoy recreation in the outdoors, which is readily transportable. The present invention provides a solution to these needs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides, without limitation, a device useful for providing a portable, retractable sheltered environment which comprises a backpack that comprises: i) a main body portion having an interior space, a top portion, an interior surface, an exterior surface, and a bottom portion. There is also a floor stowage compartment disposed on the interior surface, wherein the floor stowage compartment has an interior space. There is a floor portion disposed within the floor stowage compartment, and the floor portion is attached to the backpack. There is also a canopy stowage compartment disposed on said top portion, and the canopy stowage compartment has an interior space. There is a canopy disposed within said canopy stowage compartment, and the canopy portion is attached to the backpack.

Also provided is a portable sheltered environment that comprises: a) a floor portion; b) a support frame disposed above the floor portion; c) a canopy portion, supported in place by the support frame; and d) a backpack, itself having: i) a top portion; ii) a bottom portion; iii) an interior surface; iv) an exterior surface; and iv) an interior space, wherein the floor portion and the canopy portion are each attached to the backpack.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the annexed drawings:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with some of its essential features in their stowed position;

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with one of its essential features in a partially-extended position;

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with one of its essential features in a partially-extended position;

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with one of its essential features in a partially-extended position;

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with one of its essential features in a partially-extended position;

FIG. 6A shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with one of its essential features in a fully-extended position;

FIG. 6B shows a perspective view of a sub-portion of a combination according to the invention;

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with two of its essential features in a fully-extended position;

FIG. 8 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with one of its essential features in a fully-extended position;

FIG. 9 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with one of its essential features in a fully-extended position;

FIG. 10 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with one of its essential features in a fully-extended position;

FIG. 11 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with one of its essential features in a fully-extended position, and one of its essential features in a stowed position;

FIG. 12 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with one of its essential features in a fully-extended position, and one of its essential features in a partially-extended position;

FIG. 13 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with three of its essential features in a fully-extended position;

FIG. 14 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with three of its essential features in a fully-extended position; and

FIG. 15 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with three of its essential features in a fully-extended position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the drawings, and initially to FIG. 1 there is shown a perspective view of a backpack 10 according to one embodiment of the invention, with some of its essential features in their stowed position. While the backpack 10 is referred to herein as a “backpack”, in addition to having a capability to carry items stored within its confines, as a backpack, it also has a hidden capability of functioning as a portable, retractable sheltered environment, as described herein. The combination provided by the present invention can be thought of as including a construct that is construable as a backpack, as one of its elements, in combination with other elements. In general terms, a backpack is a device that is designed to be worn on the back of a person, to enable them to carry various items while walking or hiking activities. To achieve such functionality, a backpack typically includes a main body, and a means for attaching the main body to the wearer, which predominantly includes a pair of straps that the wearer slips their arms through when mounting the backpack on their back, as is known in the art. A backpack 10 according to the invention preferably includes such straps, although none are shown in this FIG. 1. Backpacks are also known to optionally employ waist flaps that are used in combination with a belt that attaches around the waist of the wearer after their arms have been slipped through the straps and the unit is disposed on the person's back, to impart additional stability. The backpack of the invention may also optionally include such waist flaps.

A backpack 10 according to the invention may be comprised of any material or fabric from which conventional backpacks are constructed, including sheets of natural fiber, synthetic, or polymeric fibers (woven and non-woven) held to one another by stitching, sewn, thermowelded, or other conventional means used for attaching panels or sheets to one another to provide a construct which collectively comprises a conventional backpack. The preferred materials of construction for a backpack according to the invention include canvas and nylon, with woven nylon being most preferable due to its strength, workability, dyeability, and waterproof qualities.

In FIG. 1 the backpack 10 includes a left waist flap 7 and a right waist flap 8, which are those portions which hug the wearer's waist when the pack is mounted to a wearer, for added overall stability. The backpack 10 has an interior surface, which is that general surface of the backpack 10 which contacts the wearer's back when the pack is mounted to its wearer. In the embodiment shown, the interior surface includes a floor stowage compartment flap 17, which acts as a door enabling one access to the floor stowage compartment 15, (which is essentially a pocket or space enclosed beneath stowage compartment flap 17) when the floor stowage compartment flap 17 is opened. The floor stowage compartment flap 17 is preferably attached to the interior surface permanently along a portion of its perimeter, and its selective opening or closing is accomplished by a fastening means which may include a zipper, snaps, hook-and-loop fastening means (i.e., VELCRO® fasteners) or other conventional fastening means disposed at other conventional locations along its perimeter, as is known in the art of backpacks and the like. A zipper is preferably employed, and when chosen, one half the zipper is disposed along a portion 16 of the fabric of the interior surface of the backpack, the remaining complementary half of the zipper being disposed on the complementary perimeter of the floor stowage compartment flap 17. This construct may also be thought of as being that of a backpack having a zippered pocket on the interior surface of the backpack which faces the back of the wearer of the backpack when mounted on the wearer. The floor stowage compartment 15 is shown partially opened, for purposes of illustration, with the floor stowage compartment flap 17 being in an opened position, revealing the floor portion 18 stowed inside the floor stowage compartment 15 in its location where it resides while the backpack 10 is being transported. The floor portion may exist in any shape, as desired, and accordingly inherently has a perimeter, whether rectangular, circular, hexagonal, octagonal, trigonal, trapezoidal, oval, etc. The backpack 10 also includes a top portion 3 and a bottom portion 5.

FIG. 2 shows a perspective view of a backpack 10 according to one embodiment of the invention, with its floor portion 18 in a partially-extended position, having been pulled out of the floor stowage compartment 15, the floor portion 18 being attached to the backpack at the bottom portion 5 of the backpack, by means of floor attachment flap 27. The floor attachment flap 27 is preferably a piece of fabric (including those hereinbefore described) which is attached to the backpack at the bottom portion 5 of the backpack, but preferably at a location inside of the floor stowage compartment 15, to permit the floor portion 18 and the floor attachment flap to both completely reside within the confines of the floor stowage compartment 15 when the stowage compartment flap 17 (FIG. 1) is closed, when the backpack 10 is to be transported. In a preferred embodiment, the floor portion 18 is attached to the floor portion attachment flap 27 by means of a zipper (FIG. 4), which enables removal of the floor portion 18 for cleaning, when desired. In another embodiment, the floor portion 18 and the floor portion attachment flap 27 comprise a single construct, which is attached to the backpack by means of a zippered junction disposed between such a composite construct and the backpack itself, at the bottom portion 5 of the backpack 10, but preferably at any location within the floor stowage compartment 15, to enable the floor portion to be concealed within the floor stowage compartment 15, such as during transport of the backpack 10. Thus, to extend the floor portion 18 as shown in FIG. 2, one first opens the stowage compartment flap 17 (FIG. 1), grasps the floor portion 18, and pulls it out from the confines of the floor stowage compartment to a position as shown in FIG. 2. Also shown in FIG. 2 are the respective locations of the left waist flap 7, right waist flap 9, left strap 11, right strap 13, and top portion 3.

FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with its floor portion 18 in a partially-extended position. In this FIG. 3, the floor portion has been opened up a bit more than it was, as shown in FIG. 2, and is tucked underneath the bottom portion 5 of the backpack 10. That is, the backpack 10 is resting atop a portion of its floor portion 18. The floor portion attachment flap 27 is visible, and the respective locations of the left waist flap 7, right waist flap 9, right strap 13, left strap 11, and top portion 3 are also depicted.

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with the floor portion 18 in a partially-extended position, and wherein the backpack 10 is resting with its interior surface towards the ground. Shown herein are the features disposed on the exterior surface of the backpack 10, including audio speaker 45, audio speaker 47, storage pocket 49, and storage pouch 51. The audio speakers 45, 47 may be attached to the exterior surface of the backpack by conventional means, including being disposed in a pocket sewn therein, or attached directly by means of VELCRO® fasteners or the like (including straps with snaps) attached to both the backpack exterior surface and the rear of the speakers 45, 47, such as by an adhesive. The floor attachment flap 27 is also shown, attached at the interior edge 53 of the bottom portion 5 of the backpack 10, in this case by stitching. There is a zipper 29, which serves as a means for selective removal of the floor portion 18 from the floor attachment flap 27, for washing or other purposes, and the location of the top portion 3 is also shown.

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a backpack 10 according to the embodiment of the invention shown previously in FIG. 4, with the backpack 10 in an upright position. The respective locations of the left strap 11, right strap 13, left waist flap 7, right waist flap 9, top portion 3 and floor stowage compartment flap 17 (in closed position). The floor portion 18 is also shown, attached to the floor attachment flap by means of zipper 29.

FIG. 6A shows a perspective view of a backpack 10 according to one embodiment of the invention, with its floor portion 18 in a fully-extended position, with the remainder of the backpack 10 resting thereon. In this FIG. 6A the floor portion 18 is seen to include staking tags 59, 61, 63, 65 disposed at the corners of the floor portion 18. These staking tags in one embodiment are rectangularly-shaped pieces of fabric having a metallic eyelet through their surface, which enable stakes to be located therethrough and driven into the ground, for the purpose of anchoring the floor portion 18 in a stable position on the ground. Such staking tags 59, 61, 63, 65 are known in the art of tents and the staking of ground-based tarpaulins into secure position. Although described as rectangular, the staking tags may be of any geometric shape and may also simply comprise an eyelet disposed through the surface of the floor portion 18 itself in any functionally-equivalent location that secures the floor portion 18 in a substantially stationary position.

Also shown disposed on the floor portion 18 in FIG. 6A are first seat pocket 19, first seat support pocket 21, second seat pocket 23, and second seat support pocket 25. The first seat pocket 19 and second seat support pocket 25 in their simplest forms comprise sheets of fabric, stitched or otherwise adhered or fastened to the floor portion 18 around their perimeters, with an opening along a portion of their perimeters as indicated by the arrows, which enables insertion of a first portion of a flexible cushion 35 (FIG. 8) therein, as later described.

The first seat support pocket 21 and second seat support pocket 25 are also adapted to receive a portion of a flexible cushion, but are structured a little differently than the first seat pocket 19 and second seat support pocket 25, as shown in FIG. 6B. In FIG. 6B is shown a close-up of a sub-portion of a combination according to the invention, including the floor portion 18, the first seat pocket 19, and the first seat support pocket 21. The first seat support pocket 21 preferably includes a first sheet 79 which is attached to the floor portion 18 at its first end, which is anchored portion 77 by any of the conventional means as previously described. There is also a second sheet 81 which is attached to the first sheet 79 at the upper portion of its perimeter by conventional means; however, an opening is provided as indicated by the arrow X in FIG. 6B, which enables insertion of a second portion of a flexible cushion 35 (FIG. 9). Disposed at the extreme end of the first seat support pocket 21 is a section of reinforcing fabric 73 which runs the width of the first seat support pocket 21 at its end, and further includes holes 83, 85 at the ends of the reinforcing fabric 73. These holes 83, 85 are adapted to receive seat support rods 35, 37 as later described. The second seat support pocket 25 is also configured in this fashion. In some of the figures herein, the first and second seat support pockets are represented as rectangles, but this is for descriptive purposes of the general locations of these features.

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with its floor portion 18 in a fully-extended position and further comprising canopy support frame elements. The first support frame element 31 has its first end portion disposed through the staking tag 61 and its second end portion disposed through the staking tag 63, and the second support frame element 33 has its first end portion disposed through the staking tag 59 and its second end portion disposed through the staking tag 65. These support frame elements are preferably comprised of a flexible composite material, such as graphite or fiberglass, or functional equivalents thereof, and are in widespread general use in the tent-making art, including shock-corded tent poles which are well-known in the art.

Collectively, the first support frame element 31 and second support frame element 33 comprise a support frame, about or atop which the canopy portion 43 may be disposed or reside upon or atop, as later described. Also shown in FIG. 7 are the first seat pocket 19, second seat pocket 23, first seat support pocket 21 and second seat support pocket 25, as well as the backpack 10, attached to the floor portion via the floor attachment flap 27.

FIG. 8 shows a perspective view of a backpack 10 according to one embodiment of the invention, with the floor portion 18 in a fully-extended position, and also showing a first flexible cushion 35 having one of its end portions inserted into the first seat pocket 19. Also shown are the staking tags 59, 61, 63, 65, the first seat support pocket 21, second seat pocket 23, second seat support pocket 25 and floor attachment flap 27.

FIG. 9 shows a perspective view of a backpack 10 according to one embodiment of the invention, with a portion of its floor portion 18 in a fully-extended position. There is shown a first flexible cushion 35 having one of its end portions inserted into the first seat pocket 19, and its other end portion inserted into the pocket on the first seat support pocket 21 which is oriented in a substantially vertical position with respect to the floor potion 18 after having received the first seat cushion 35. The first seat support pocket is held in such a substantially vertical position by means of support rods (FIG. 10), which support rods are held in position by both the reinforcing fabric 73 (FIG. 6B) and a rod receiving reinforcement 71. The rod receiving reinforcement 71 may comprise a strip of fabric as previously described, having holes 87, 89 disposed through each of its end portions which are provided with reinforcing rivets, and which holes 87, 89 are adapted to receive an end of the support rods (FIG. 10). The rod receiving reinforcement is attached to the floor portion by conventional means as previously described, preferably at a location between the holes 87, 89. In one embodiment, the holes 87, 89 extend through the floor portion 18. In another embodiment, the holes 87, 89 do not extend through the floor portion 18 and the floor portion 18 preferably provides a barrier between its top surface and the ground beneath it, capable of precluding moisture, insects and the like, analogously to the floor of a conventional tent.

FIG. 10 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with a portion of its floor portion 18 a fully-extended position. The backpack 10 is shown attached to the floor portion 18 by means of the floor attachment flap 27. Also shown is the backside of a completed seating assembly according to a preferred form of the invention. The respective locations of the first seat pocket 19 and first seat support pocket 21 are shown, including the reinforcing fabric 73 and rod receiving reinforcement 71. There is a first seat support rod 37, having its first end portion disposed in hole 87 of the rod receiving reinforcement 71 and its second end portion disposed in a hole 85 of the reinforcing fabric 73. There is a second seat support rod 39, having its first end portion disposed in hole 89 of the rod receiving reinforcement 71 and its second end portion disposed in a hole 83 of the reinforcing fabric 73. The seat support rods 37, 39 may be comprised of any sufficiently rigid material to support a portion of the first flexible cushion in a substantially vertical position relative to the floor portion, when a person sits on the cushion. That is, the support rods support the lateral forces exerted by a person's back when they sit on the cushion 35, and support them in a seating position analogously to the back of a common chair. The seat pockets, seat support pockets, and seat support rods collectively comprise a seating means disposed on the floor portion 18.

FIG. 11 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with the floor portion 18 in a fully-extended position, and the canopy 43 in a stowed position within the canopy stowage compartment 41, which is located at the top portion 3 of the backpack 10. The canopy stowage compartment 41 is a pocket disposed at the top portion 3 of the backpack, and is analogous in construction, features, and function to the floor stowage compartment 15 inasmuch as it comprises a selectably openable/closable pocket, into which an element of the invention, that is preferably attached to the backpack 10, may be stored during the wearing of the back pack by a person or when not in use. Thus, the canopy stowage compartment is a pocket which may be closable by means of conventional closure means, including zippers, snaps and the like as such are in common use in the art of backpacks. Shown also are the respective locations of the left waist flap 7, right waist flap 9, left strap 11 and right strap 13, floor attachment flap 27 and bottom interior edge 53.

FIG. 12 shows a perspective view of a backpack according to one embodiment of the invention, with the floor portion 18 in a fully-extended position, and the canopy 43 in a partially-extended position outside the canopy stowage compartment 41 that is located at the top portion 3 of the backpack 10. Eventually during setup, the person using a backpack 10 according to the invention will remove the canopy 43 as much as possible from the canopy stowage compartment 41, but not completely always, as, the canopy is preferably attached to the backpack itself, at any location within the canopy stowage compartment 41. The means of attachment of the canopy to the backpack 10 may be as previously described for the floor portion 18, such as removably connected to an attachment flap equipped with snaps or a zipper, etc., or the canopy 43 may be directly adhered, sewn, stitched or attached to such an attachment flap, or to a surface of a fabric disposed within the canopy stowage compartment. In one preferred embodiment, the opening of the canopy stowage compartment 41 faces the interior surface of the backpack 10. In an alternate embodiment, the canopy 43 (and/or the floor portion 18) is attached to the backpack 10 at any exterior surface.

FIG. 13 shows a perspective view of a backpack 10 according to one embodiment of the invention, with its floor portion 18, the first support frame element 31, the second support frame element 33 and canopy 43 all in their fully-extended positions. Also shown are the locations of the second seat pocket 23, and the second seat support pocket 25. FIG. 14 shows a view of this assembly from a different perspective. In FIG. 14 are shown the respective locations of the backpack 10, floor portion 18, staking tags 61, 65, first support frame element 31, and second support frame element 33. Disposed on the floor portion 18 are the first seat pocket 19, first seat support pocket 21, second seat pocket 23, and second seat support pocket 25. A first flexible cushion 35 is in position, having one of its end portions inserted into the first seat pocket 19, with its other end portion inserted into the pocket on the first seat support pocket 25. A second flexible cushion 57 is in position, having one of its end portions inserted into the second seat pocket 23, with its other end portion inserted into the pocket on the first seat support pocket 21. In a preferred embodiment, the canopy 43 is draped over the first support frame element 31 and second support frame element 33 to form a roof, which can shelter individuals residing on the flexible cushions 35, 57 from sun and rain. Such an arrangement is particularly adapted to be useful on beaches and campgrounds; however, a portable, retractable sheltered environment backpack according to the invention can be set up anywhere a user desires. The canopy 43 may be of any shape desired by the user, but is preferably contoured to drape sufficiently over the support frame elements 31, 33 to provide shelter from sun and rain above the canopy 43 so draped. Towards stabilizing the arrangement, securing straps of nylon, “bungee” cords or the like may be attached between the points labeled C1, C2, C3, and C4, and a stake driven through the respective staking tag immediately beneath it. To enable such stabilization, the canopy 43 is provided with holes through its surface at the portions coincident with the points at C1, C2, C3, and C4, which holes are analogous to the holes in the staking tags and preferably include a metallic eyelet or rivet for durability. In an alternate embodiment, a conventional staking tag is attached to the canopy at each of these points. In another alternate embodiment, a loop of fabric is fastened to the canopy at each of the points corresponding to C1, C2, C3, and C4. Any functionally-equivalent means of providing a location at which a strap or bungee may be attached to the canopy 43 at points C1, C2, C3, and C4 is within the scope of the invention, as means for attaching sheets of fabrics and the like to stationary objects such as ground stakes are known in the art.

According to a preferred combination of the invention, each staking tag has both an end portion of a support frame element and a ground stake disposed through its hole. In alternate embodiments, there are two holes on each staking tag, one for receiving an end portion of a support frame element and one for receiving a ground stake. It is always preferably for durability that such holes be lined with metal, such as rivets or eyelets, which are well-known in the art to be used in such employment.

Thus, a person and a companion may each occupy one of the flexible cushions 35, 57, at a day at the beach, at a campsite, at an outdoor park or theatre, etc. Use of the structure shown in FIG. 14 from a backpack shown in FIG. 1 is simple and takes less than about five minutes to set up. The user can stow the backpack 10 from FIG. 1 readily in the trunk of a typical automobile, with plenty of room to spare. In use, one may secure the backpack 10 to their back, then walk to a desired location. The backpack 10 is placed on the ground and the floor portion is removed from the floor stowage compartment and spread flat as shown in the various figures herein, and staked into position by driving ground stakes into the ground and through the staking tags. The backpack is located atop the floor 18 as shown in the figures, and the support frame elements are put into position to provide the structure shown in FIG. 7. Next, the canopy stowage compartment 41 is opened and the canopy 43 removed therefrom and draped over the support frame elements. The canopy is secured in position by securing the canopy at points C1, C2, C3, and C4, preferably to the ground stakes. Flexible seat cushions 35, 57 are placed in their respective seat support pocket and seat pocket, and the sheltered environment is ready to be enjoyed. When a translucent material such as a colored nylon or green canvas is employed as the material from which the canopy is made, the sheltered environment can shade out the sun. However, the present invention includes embodiments in which the canopy 43 is comprised of translucent materials as well.

FIG. 15 shows a close-up view of an optional and synergistic feature of the arrangement of the backpack 10 present as shown in FIG. 14. In FIG. 15, the top of the backpack comprises a hinged lid 67, which opens as shown to reveal an interior space 69, useful for containing various and sundry items, which in a preferred embodiment comprises thermally-insulated cooler compartment within the backpack 10, useful for maintaining foods and beverages at a temperature that is elevated or depressed relative to the ambient surroundings. The thermal insulation may be any known insulation material and may be disposed on the walls in the interior or exterior surface of the space contained within the body of the backpack, but is preferably on the interior. In such an embodiment, the canopy storage compartment 41 is disposed atop the hinged lid 67 when the backpack is in the position shown in FIG. 1. The hinged lid 67 is attached to the body of the backpack 10 by any conventional means, such as conventional hinges, or an effective hinge which comprises a sheet of fabric material as described herein, as hinges made from fabrics are known in the art, US patent application 20050139558 being but one example, which is fully incorporated herein by reference. In a preferred embodiment, the hinged lid 67 is comprised of a fabric as herein described, which may be a two-ply fabric construction that is reinforced with a rigid material, as such reinforced fabrics are known in the art. The preferred locations of attachment of the canopy 43 and floor portion 18 enable the backpack 10 to be disposed as shown in FIG. 15, which enables the lid portion 67 to open as shown. In addition, the persons enjoying a portable, retractable sheltered environment provided by the invention also have the benefit of being able to listen to sounds emitted by the speakers 45, 47 disposed on the exterior surface of the backpack 10, which sounds may include voice and music. Thus, the present invention provides a portable, retractable sheltered environment that can be carried to and enjoyed at many terrestrial locations.

Although preferably attached to any location within the confines of the canopy stowage compartment and floor stowage compartment, the canopy portion and floor portion may each be attached to any location on any surface that is external to the interior space 69 of the backpack, using conventional means as herein described, including without limitation stitching, thermowelding, or by zippers, snaps, VELCRO® fasteners and the like, etc.

According to one alternate embodiment of the invention, there is provided a box, which exists substantially in the form of a rectangular solid, having a hollow interior space in which various and sundry items may be placed, as such boxes are known in the art. Such a box according to the invention also includes a plurality of straps, as described herein, which enable a person to mount such a box on their back for transportation. In one embodiment, such as box has a hinged lid portion, as such are known in the art, and further comprises a canopy stowage compartment as in 41, FIG. 11, disposed atop such hinged lid portion, wherein there is disposed within such stowage compartment a canopy that is attached to the entire construct at a point within or adjacent to any perimeter portion of the stowage compartment using conventional means. Such a box also inherently includes an interior surface, which is facing the wearer's back or is in substantial contact therewith, when worn by a user. Such a box according to this embodiment of the invention includes a pocket attached to the interior surface of such a box, in which a tarpaulin or floor portion as described herein is contained, which floor portion is attached to the entire construct at a portion within or adjacent to any perimeter portion of the pocket on the interior surface of such a box according to this embodiment of the invention. Such a box may be constructed of rigid material, such as thin plywood, sheets of polymeric material, sheets of composite materials, sheet metal, or any fabric as described herein, or any combination of the foregoing, with a fabric material being preferred due to its being lightweight and soft against the back of the wearer, in addition to being waterproof in the case of polymeric fabrics or canvasses comprised of natural or synthetic fibers. Thus, in such embodiment, such box is functionally-equivalent to what is commonly construed in the art as a backpack, but modified to provide a construct according to the present invention. Within this embodiment, such a box may further comprise waist flaps, as previously described herein, along with belt straps, the use of which are known in the art to aid in stability of the device when mounted to a wearer. Waist flaps 7, 9 and the straps 11,13 as hereinbefore described and functional equivalents thereof are all means for mounting a device according to the invention to a wearer.

According to another alternate optional embodiment, a flexible screen material (including “mosquito netting”, as are well-known in the tent-making arts) may be attached to the construct shown in FIG. 14, in order to provide a portable, retractable sheltered environment that is also capable of excluding insects from the interior confines defined by the floor portion 18, canopy 43, and netting so disposed. Such a netting may be attached to the construct of FIG. 14 using any conventional fastening means, and is preferably contoured to provide a completely enclosed space interior to the aforesaid confines, to preclude insects and other pests from entering. In a preferred embodiment, such mosquito netting is attached to the remainder of the construct by a hook-and-loop fastening means.

Consideration must be given to the fact that although this invention has been described and disclosed in relation to certain preferred embodiments, obvious equivalent modifications and alterations thereof will become apparent to one of ordinary skill in this art upon reading and understanding this specification and the claims appended hereto. This includes subject matter defined by any combination of any one of the various claims appended hereto with any one or more of the remaining claims, including the incorporation of the features and/or limitations of any dependent claim, singly or in combination with features and/or limitations of any one or more of the other dependent claims, with features and/or limitations of any one or more of the independent claims, with the remaining dependent claims in their original text being read and applied to any independent claims so modified. This also includes combination of the features and/or limitations of one or more of the independent claims with features and/or limitations of any other independent claim(s) to arrive at a modified independent claim, with any or all of the remaining dependent claims in their original text being read and applied to any independent claim(s) so modified. Accordingly, the presently disclosed invention is intended to cover all such modifications and alterations, and is limited only by the scope of the claims which follow.