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The present application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/473,598 filed Aug. 6, 2007 which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
The field of the claimed subject matter generally relates to hiking accessories. More particularly, it relates to walking or hiking poles also known as trekking poles.
2. Background of the Subject Matter
Trek poles or trekking poles have been gaining in popularity with hiking enthusiasts in recent years replacing the traditional hiking sticks used for support in walking and hiking. Trekking poles are similar to ski poles in that they provide additional stability to hikers on rugged hiking trails and they can be invaluable when fording rocky streams or areas in which ones balance must be kept to avoid injury. Once hikers arrive at their destination and setup camp there is often little or no provision for sitting comfortably at the campsite other than fallen logs or rocks. Further, most serious hikers and backpackers typically avoid at all cost any extra unnecessary weight.
Embodiments of the claimed subject matter include trekking poles which can also be disassembled and used in alternative configurations such as a chair, a table, and a tripod mount. The present subject matter also relates to a method of assembly wherein two walking poles are configured to mate with the aid of support connectors which can be joined with segments of the trekking poles to form a camp chair.
In one embodiment, an improved trekking pole apparatus includes a body made up of an upper segment, a middle segment and a lower segment joined to form a trekking pole, and a pivotal handle that may also serve as a horizontal support. The body segments may be used as a trekking pole or disassembled and used to form a support structure for a chair. In another embodiment, the improved trekking pole apparatus further includes a removable seat cover, a truss support, and a corner vertical support and truss member comprised of three component supports mounted to the right angle vertical piece pivot which fold in a parallel orientation to the axis of the right angle vertical piece. The body segments are joined together with the truss support, the seat cover, and the corner vertical support to form a chair. In other embodiments, the chair may be a tripod or a table. Other embodiments include a removable back rest and a storage area in an interior space of one of the body segments for storing a support component or a seat cover.
Further aspects of the claimed subject matter will become apparent from consideration of the drawings and the ensuing description of the multiple embodiments. A person skilled in the art will realize that other embodiments are possible and that the details of each embodiment may be modified in a number of respects, all without departing from scope of the claimed subject matter. Thus, the following drawing figures and description are illustrative in nature rather than restrictive.
The features of the claimed subject matter will be better understood by reference to the accompanying drawings which illustrate various embodiments. In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an embodiment of an apparatus 100 using two poles 102 to form a chair according to the claimed subject matter;
FIG. 2 is an assembly view of a pole 102 in an embodiment according to the claimed subject matter;
FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of a support used with embodiments according to the claimed subject matter;
FIG. 4 is a front perspective view of a collapsible truss support member used in embodiments according to the claimed subject matter; and
FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of an embodiment of a pole 102 having an additional pouch 130 according to the claimed subject matter.
With reference now to the various figures in which identical elements are numbered identically throughout, a description of various exemplary aspects of the claimed subject matter will now be provided.
Referring to FIGS. 1-5, embodiments provide a hikers and walkers with a conventional walking or trekking poles which can also be used in various other configurations for additional purposes such as mounts, tables and chairs. In one embodiment, the trekking poles are used as conventional walking poles or trekking poles 102. The poles 102 may be disassembled in so that the handle grip bracket may be used with one or more supports 110 and 114 to form various other useful apparatuses such as a camp chair apparatus 100. The apparatus 100 illustrated in FIG. 1 is configured so that a useable camp chair is formed from the poles which are setup in a parallel, self standing, vertical assembly so that the poles 102 can act to carry the load of the chair and chair occupant's weight. The structural supports 110 are fastened to the poles using various brackets such as the handle bracket 106. In this manner, the structural supports 110 along with the pole handle/grip 104 provide the horizontal chair seat structure. In FIG. 1, the lower pole sections are now the chair front and rear horizontal cross braces.
A cover 104 is attached at its ends to the vertical segments of the two poles 102. Once attached to the poles 102, the cover 104 forms the back of the chair apparatus 100. A second cover 112 is used for the horizontal seat structure for the user. Additional covers may be used for other purposes such as a table which in some embodiments may utilize four or more poles 102. Covers 104 and 112 may be made of any suitable material, such as lightweight canvas or polymer material or any combination of materials. They may be affixed with any commercially known fasteners such as hook and loop or ties.
As further illustrated in FIG. 1, supports 110 and 114 of the poles 102 are removable or detachable from the pole 102 so that it may be used in the assembly of the chair apparatus 100 in order to provide additional stability and support to the apparatus 100. Further, the supports 110 and 114 may be stored in the upper interior sections of the poles 102. In some embodiments, the portions 114 may be slidably removed from the upper sections of the poles 102 as desired by the user. In this embodiment, the canvas portions 104 and 112 are transported separately until used in apparatus 100. In other embodiments, the covers 104 and 112 may be stored within or on the exterior of one or both of the poles 102 so that they may be easily transported by the user. FIG. 2 illustrates a component view of a pole 102 in a trekking or hiking pole configuration.
In several embodiments, the poles 102 may be constructed of aluminum tubing, aluminum angle, “U” stock, and/or flat aluminum stock although any suitable material may be used. Examples of other materials that may be suitable include polymers such as polyethylene compounds such as a rigid plastic and other metals such as titanium. Additionally, embodiments of the poles 102 and the apparatus 100 may be constructed using common sheet metal screws, machine screws, hex nuts, and wing nuts so that the components in a variety of configurations may be fastened. The construction materials used may be cut to size using any commercially known manner such as cutting with a band or hack saw. A metal turning lathe and/or hand tools may also be used to fabricate the poles 102 and any other needed components for the various embodiments and holes may be formed in one or more of the components using conventional drill presses or hand drills. Other holes, such as threaded holes, may be similarly made with other tools such as conventional, hand driven thread cutting taps for making threaded holes.
In several embodiments, the poles 102 are constructed of hardened aluminum tubing. In these embodiments, the poles 102 are fabricated in three sections with the outside diameter of the lowermost section, the lower section 116, being the smallest diameter and equaling the inside diameter of the middle section, section 118. The outside dimension of the middle section is smaller than the inside diameter of the upper section, section 120, which is the largest diameter and which can allow for additional storage space within this section 120. The three sections are thus capable of nesting inside each other or “telescoping” together for securing. Threads may be used in one or more of the segments to aid in securing the tubing sections to each other and/or to other components.
Additionally, in several embodiments, additional structural components including supports 110 and 114, as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 respectively, may be stored within one or more interior compartments of the sections 116, 118 and/or 120. For example, a support assembly 110 and/or a support crossbar 114 may be stored within the interior space of the upper sections 116 of each of the poles 102. In other embodiments, additional storage space may be utilized within the middle and lower sections 118 and 116 as desired by the manufacturer and/or the user. In other embodiments, the sections 116, 118 and 120 will be in a continuously adjustable compression fitting arrangement, similar to a tripod mount leg for a camera. The lower telescopic segment 116, which also functions as the chair horizontal member when configured as a chair apparatus 100, may be adjusted by the user so that it may be adjusted in length for different height people, utilizing a set screw.
FIG. 4 illustrates the truss chair corner vertical support 114. In several of the embodiments, a chair corner vertical support and truss member is comprised of three component supports mounted to the right angle vertical piece pivot. These component supports fold in a parallel orientation to the axis of the right angle vertical piece. As previously described, this support assembly 114 may be slipped into the storage area in the upper segment 120 of the pole 102. Also shown in FIG. 4 is a bottom member having a threaded end. This threaded end engages the pole in the chair configuration and is secured with a finger tightened wing nut.
FIG. 3 shows the back truss support 110 that slips over the threaded end and engages the rear chair cross member (lower pole section 116) in the center. In the described embodiments, all of the fasteners are thumb screws or finger nuts (wing nuts). This back truss support 110 also slips into the storage area in upper segment 120 for transportation.
In an embodiment with storage in the upper section in which structural support components are stored for the chair apparatus 100, a bushing 122 constructed of nylon or any other suitable material can be used to mate, secure or join the middle section 118 with the upper section 120 used in several embodiments for storage. In this way, the lower section 116 can be utilized as a support for the chair apparatus 100 while at the same time being removable as well as securable for use in the trek pole configuration. In these embodiments, the bottom portion of the pole 102 is secured using a threaded hole in the lower section 116 and a clearance hole in the middle section 118.
To further secure these two sections, a finger tightened machine screw 126 and wing nut 128 may be placed through the middle section clearance hole so that the threaded hole in the lower section 116 is engaged. When the wing nut is turned and tightened so both section are joined, the configuration provides support to the whole structure of the chair apparatus 100.
In this embodiment, the upper end of the middle section is permanently secured to the bushing and upper section with three sheet metal screws spaces 120 degrees about the perimeter of the upper section tubing. These three screws engage and secure the upper tubing section 120, the bushing 122 and the middle section tubing 118. Affixed to the lower section tubing 116 on the distal end of the tubing that contacts the ground, a nylon impact head 124 is mounted using an interference fit. In some embodiments, the impact head 124 may also have a groove which can be machined into the head 124 in order to allow an interface with an anchor, a cord, a line or any other suitable fastening mechanism when the apparatus 100 is used as a chair. The fastener allows greater stability when the apparatus 100 is put into use as a chair.
Additionally, in several embodiments, the upper end of the upper section 120 has a U-channel component joined to it on a pivotal mount approximately 0.10 inches from the upper end. This U-channel section 134 functions as the pole grip when the pole 102 is deployed in the pole configuration as opposed to the configuration used in apparatus 100 or the chair configuration at which time the U-channel section 134 acts as a portion of the seat structure. In this way, U-channel section 134 acts as a fold out handle that also may act as a chair horizontal support.
In this configuration, the pivotal bracket mounts to the upper tubing section 120 with three sheet metal screws spaced 120 degrees apart. The U-channel 134 is attached to the pivotal bracket using a machine screw with a wing nut attached or any similar suitable fastener.
In this embodiment, the machine screw 126 is used to ensure that the bracket pivotal holes are correctly threaded. Therefore, when the pole 102 is used in a pole configuration, the U-channel 134 is positioned parallel to the upper tubing section 120 and aids in forming a grip for use by the user and when the pole 102 is used in conjunction with apparatus 100 to support the structure of the chair apparatus 100, the U-channel 134 is positioned at a right angle to the upper section 120. In both configurations, a wing nut 128 is tightened by the user's finger to ensure that the pole 102 is secured in the appropriate position. One or more additional threaded holes and through holes may be drilled in other embodiments to join the upper tubing section 120 with the seat structural components supports 110 and supports 114. In several embodiments, an additional threaded hole and one thru hole is drilled or tapped into the upper tubing section 120 for the interface with the seat structure of apparatus 100.
As shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the support components 110 and 114 are used to support stabilize the apparatus 100 when used in the chair configuration. In other embodiments, the support structures may be varied and used to support other configurations such as a tripod mount, a table or any other suitable structure that can be made using two or more poles 102.
Support 110 is a combination vertical support and brace assembly. In several of the described embodiments, supports 110 are each made from two pieces or segments of ½ inch by 1/16 inch flat hardened aluminum stock. These pieces are connected together at the center via a secured pivotal pin so that the sections are allowed to pivot parallel to each other. In one configuration, they can be stored together flat or in another configuration they can be opened to form an X brace which can be used to stabilize apparatus 100 when deployed in a chair configuration.
In these embodiments, clearance holes for the mounting of machine screws are drilled in each corner of the sections 116, 118 and 120 at the appropriate location using suitable dimensions so that the support 110 can be joined with the threaded mating holes on the sections. These cross truss supports 110 interconnect the two poles 102 and the seat structures so that the apparatus 100 can be used in the chair configuration. In other embodiments, the same support 110 can be used alone or in conjunction with additional supports to stabilize other configurations of apparatus 100, such as a tripod configuration with three poles 102 or a table configuration with four or more poles 102.
In other embodiments, apparatus 100 includes one truss support 110 affixed to segments of poles 102 and another support 110 is affixed to the forward seat vertical supports. Thus, the width of the chair in apparatus 100 may be determined by the dimensions of the opened cross truss supports 110. In other embodiments, the width of the chair and the dimension of the cross truss supports 110 can be varied by the user. In the present embodiments, a threaded hole is appropriately positioned in each of the upper sections 120 so that the clearance hole of the upper cross truss support 110 is aligned sufficiently so the support 110 can be attached with a fastener such as the machine screw and wing nut combination. Once finger tightened by the user, the wing nut secures the cross truss support 110 to the mounts on the apparatus 100.
In many of the embodiments, a clearance thru-hole is drilled through the upper pole section for a machine screw and wing nut combination to be used to engage the rod brace on the vertical support assembly (not shown.) The vertical support and brace assemblies are made from hardened aluminum angle, flat stock and/or aluminum rod. The aluminum angle provides the forward seat vertical support. A total of three threaded holes are drilled and tapped into each vertical support segment or piece. Two holes are drilled so that they face the surface of the aluminum angle that faces forward on the chair configuration. These threaded holes interface with the second cross truss assembly. The location of these threaded holes match the location of the opened truss support 110 clearance holes. The flat stock and aluminum rod form two additional braces on the side of the seat structure of apparatus 100.
In these embodiments, the rod and truss are affixed to the bottom end of the forward seat vertical support via a captured machine screw that allows the two elements to pivot parallel to the forward seat support for stowage, or orthogonal to the support in the case of the rod brace, or at an approximate 45 degree angle in the case of the flat brace. The machine screw that acts as the pivot pin goes through the lower side surface of the vertical seat support piece, through the flat truss section, and is captured via a partial thread in the rod. Thus, both the rod and flat section are allowed to pivot open for the chair configuration, or to pivot all parallel with the vertical seat support for stowage. In addition, on the end opposite of the rod pivot screw, a threaded hole is drilled/tapped axially into the rod. This tapped hole engages the machine screw/wing nut fastener that is positioned through the upper section 120 as well as the cross truss support 110 clearance hole. Thus, the pole section 120, cross truss support 110 and the lower seat vertical support section rod are secured with this fastener when it engages the threaded axial hole.
In several embodiments, a rubber or similar material grip 136 is disposed on the distal end of the upper section 120 so that the user can easily grip the pole 102. The shaded section of grip 136 shown in FIG. 1 shows a rubber hand grip which encompasses a portion of the upper tube storage area. Additionally, also in several of the described embodiments, an end cap 138 is also located at the same end of the upper section 120 so that the components stored within the section 120 can be secured. The end cap 138 may be made of plastic, mental or any suitable material.
FIG. 5 shows a pole 102 in a trekking configuration used with an additional storage pouch 130 attached to the pole 102 with fasteners 132. The pouch 130 may be used to store any number of items including a canvas seat which can be used with two or more poles 102, a canvas table, a photography mount, or any other accessory which can be used with the poles 102 to form apparatus 100. Either pole 102 may also be used alone or in conjunction with one or more other poles to stabilize a camera or video camera in the field. In this configuration, a user could take a top fitting that would engage the camera and plug into the distal end of the upper segment 120 at the end cap 138 location. This embodiment's configuration is analogous to camera monopoles already sold on the market.
Other embodiments of the hiking poles 102 may use a pouch such as a draw-string soft cloth bag attached to the poles with a line which can be sewn or fastened, for instance with any known commercial fastener, onto the pouch and then attached to the pole 102. Each of the poles 102 may have one or more pouches or containers which could be attached in any suitable matter. In some embodiments, a pouch 130 can be used to store the canvas covers used for the back rest and seat cover portions of the chair configuration of apparatus 100 and/or any other small objects carried by the hiker.
In other embodiments, aluminum or plastic holders may be used for holding liquid containers such as a water bottle.