Title:
PORTABLE SEAT WITH STORAGE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable seat is provided for use typically in outdoor environments, such as hunting, camping, sporting events, and the like. The portable seat includes a seat base with one or more internal storage chambers, some of which may remain open for convenient access, and some of which may be fitted with removable drawers or storage compartments that may be opened and closed as needed. A collapsible leg assembly allows the seat base to be positioned at a comfortable height above a support surface, and the legs may be collapsed to a stowed configuration in which they are positioned against or generally along a bottom portion of the seat base. A strap is used to attach the seat to a user for hands-free transport, and may also secure the storage drawers or covers (when so equipped) in their closed positions.



Inventors:
Niemela, Cal G. (Chassell, MI, US)
Application Number:
14/079819
Publication Date:
05/15/2014
Filing Date:
11/14/2013
Assignee:
NIEMELA CAL G.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
297/16.1
International Classes:
A47C9/10
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
MCPARTLIN, SARAH BURNHAM
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gardner, Linn, Burkhart & Ondersma LLP (2900 Charlevoix Dr., SE, Suite 300, Grand Rapids, MI, 49546, US)
Claims:
1. A portable seat comprising: a seat base; a storage chamber at said seat base; a strap coupled to said seat base and configured to releasably secure said portable seat to a wearer; and a plurality of collapsible legs disposed along said bottom of said seat base; wherein said collapsible legs are positionable at (i) a retracted position in which said legs are positioned along said seat base, and (ii) a deployed position in which said seat base is spaced above a support surface when said portable seat is positioned on the support surface.

2. The portable seat of claim 1, wherein said storage chamber is generally tubular in shape, and defines an opening near a forward edge of said seat base.

3. The portable seat of claim 2, wherein said storage chamber is at least partially defined by said seat base.

4. The portable seat of claim 1, wherein said seat base comprises a retainer element that is configured to releasably secure said collapsible legs in the retracted position.

5. The portable seat of claim 1, wherein said collapsible legs comprise a first leg having an upper end portion pivotally coupled to said seat base near a forward edge or a rearward edge thereof, and a second leg having an upper end portion that is releasably securable to said seat base near the other of said forward edge or said rearward edge thereof.

6. The portable seat of claim 1, further comprising an openable cover that is selectively positioned over an access opening of said storage chamber.

7. The portable seat of claim 6, wherein at least one of said collapsible legs inhibits access to said opening to said storage chamber when said collapsible leg is in the retracted position.

8. The portable seat of claim 1, wherein said strap comprises a quick-release buckle for releasably securing said strap to the wearer.

9. A portable seat comprising: a seat base; a storage chamber having an opening that is accessible near a forward portion of said seat base; and a plurality of collapsible legs disposed along said bottom of said seat base; wherein said collapsible legs are positionable at (i) a retracted position in which said legs are positioned generally along said seat base and at least one of said legs covering at least a portion of said opening of said storage chamber, and (ii) a deployed position in which said seat base is spaced substantially above a support surface when said portable seat is positioned at the support surface.

10. The portable seat of claim 9, further comprising a seatback pivotally coupled to said seat base.

11. The portable seat of claim 10, further comprising an adjustable-length strap extending between said seatback and said seat base, wherein said adjustable-length strap is configured to limit the extent to which said seatback can pivot relative to said seat base.

12. The portable seat of claim 9, wherein said storage chamber is generally tubular in shape and configured to receive at least one chosen from (i) a beverage container, or (ii) a rolled article of clothing.

13. The portable seat of claim 9, further comprising a seat cushion removably coupled to said seat base.

14. The portable seat of claim 13, further comprising a strap coupled to said seat base and configured to releasably secure said portable seat to a wearer.

15. The portable seat of claim 14, wherein said strap comprises a quick-release buckle for releasably securing said strap to the wearer.

16. The portable seat of claim 9, further comprising a leg-retaining member extending from said seat base, wherein when said collapsible legs are in the retracted position, said leg-retaining member releasably engages at least one of said collapsible legs to retain said collapsible legs in the retracted position.

17. The portable seat of claim 16, wherein said leg-retaining member comprises a downwardly-extending resilient member having a concave surface configured to engage said at least one of said collapsible legs.

18. The portable seat of claim 9, wherein said collapsible legs comprise a first leg having an upper end portion pivotally coupled to said seat base near a forward edge or a rearward edge thereof, and a second leg having an upper end portion that is releasably securable to said seat base near the other of said forward edge or said rearward edge thereof.

19. The portable seat of claim 18, wherein said seat base comprises a forward bracket to which said first leg is pivotally coupled, and a rearward bracket to which a portion of said second leg is removably inserted.

20. The portable seat of claim 19, wherein said forward and rearward brackets are unitarily formed with said seat base.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

The present application claims the priority benefit of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 61/726,877, filed Nov. 15, 2012, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to seating and, more particularly, to portable seats or chairs that are primarily for outdoor use.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many different styles of portable seating are available for outdoor use, including collapsible chairs and benches with fabric webbing, stools with collapsible legs, lawn or beach chairs, and the like. Many different styles of portable seating are equipped with handles and/or carry straps that allow a collapsed chair to be supported on a user's shoulder during transport. However, this is usually only suitable over short distances, since the chair is often bulky and the straps have a tendency to slide off the carrier's shoulder while walking, which necessitates frequent adjustments including repositioning the strap and/or the chair itself. This often requires that the user keep at least one hand free for making such adjustments, and the movement of the chair (relative to the person carrying it) can cause undesirable swaying and/or noise, which may be particularly undesirable when the chair is being carried through a quiet hunting environment in which game may be present.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a portable seat with internal storage, which can be carried in a hands-free manner in a collapsed or transport configuration, and with legs that can be extended to a deployed position for use as an elevated seat. While a user is seated, the user has access to at least one storage compartment in the seat's base and, optionally, at least one pull-out storage drawer. A strap with a quick-release latch or buckle is provided so that the portable seat may be strapped to the user for hands-free transport.

According to one form of the present invention, a portable seat includes a seat base, a storage chamber at the seat base, a carrying strap, and a plurality of collapsible legs. The strap is coupled to the seat base and is configured to releasably secure the portable seat to a wearer. The collapsible legs are disposed along the bottom of the seat base, and are positionable at (i) a retracted position in which the legs are positioned along the seat base, and (ii) a deployed position in which the seat base is spaced above a support surface when the portable seat is positioned on the support surface.

In one aspect, the storage chamber is generally tubular in shape, and defines an opening near a forward edge of the seat base. Optionally, the storage chamber is at least partially defined by the seat base itself.

In another aspect, the seat base includes a retainer element that is configured to releasably secure the collapsible legs in the retracted position.

In yet another aspect, the collapsible legs include a first leg having an upper end portion that is pivotally coupled to the seat base near a forward edge or a rearward edge thereof, and a second leg having an upper end portion that is releasably securable to the seat base near the other of the forward edge or the rearward edge thereof.

In a further aspect, the portable seat further includes an openable cover that is selectively positioned over an opening to the storage chamber. Optionally, at least one of the collapsible legs inhibits access to the opening to the storage chamber when the collapsible leg is in the retracted position.

In still another aspect, the strap includes a quick-release buckle for releasably securing the strap to the wearer.

In another form of the present invention, a portable seat includes a seat base, a storage chamber, and a plurality of collapsible legs. The storage chamber has an opening that is accessible near a forward portion of the seat base. The collapsible legs are disposed along the bottom of the seat base, and are positionable at (i) a retracted position in which the legs are positioned generally along the seat base and at least one of the legs covering at least a portion of the opening of the storage chamber, and (ii) a deployed position in which the seat base is spaced substantially above a support surface when the portable seat is positioned at the support surface.

In one aspect, the storage chamber is generally tubular in shape and is configured to receive at least one chosen from (i) a beverage container, or (ii) a rolled article of clothing.

In another aspect, a seat cushion is removably coupled to the seat base.

In a further aspect, the seat includes a strap that is coupled to the seat base and is configured to releasably secure the portable seat to a wearer. Optionally, the strap includes a quick-release buckle for releasably securing the strap around the wearer.

In a still further aspect, a leg-retaining member extends from the seat base, and is arranged so that when the collapsible legs are in the retracted position, the leg-retaining member releasably engages at least one of the collapsible legs to retain the collapsible legs in the retracted position. Optionally, the leg-retaining member is a downwardly-extending resilient member with a concave surface configured to engage the at least one of the collapsible legs.

In still another aspect, the collapsible legs include a first leg having an upper end portion pivotally coupled to the seat base near a forward edge or a rearward edge thereof, and a second leg having an upper end portion that is releasably securable to the seat base near the other of the forward edge or the rearward edge thereof. Optionally, the seat base includes a forward bracket to which the first leg is pivotally coupled, and a rearward bracket to which a portion of the second leg is removably inserted. The forward and rearward brackets may be unitarily formed with the seat base.

In another form of the present invention, a portable seat includes a seat base defining at least two internal storage chambers, at least one pull-out drawer, a carrying strap, and a plurality of collapsible legs. The seat base has a top, a bottom, and a plurality of side walls, with the internal chambers typically accessed through the sidewalls. The carrying strap is coupled to the seat base and may be used to releasably secure the portable seat to a user for transport. The collapsible legs are positioned along the bottom of the seat base, and are positionable at a retracted position and a deployed position. In the retracted position, the legs are positioned along the seat base, and when the legs are deployed, the seat base is spaced above a support surface that is contacted by the legs when the portable seat is in use along the support surface.

In one aspect, the carry strap is configured or arranged so that it retains the pull-out drawers in a closed position when the carry strap is used to secure the seat to the user during transport. Optionally, the carry strap is fitted with a quick-release latch or similar fastener to facilitate securing the seat to the user for transport.

In another aspect, the sidewalls include a front sidewall that defines an opening to provide access to one of the internal chambers defined in the seat base. Optionally, the chamber is generally cylindrical in shape, and is configured to receive a beverage container or a rolled article of clothing, for example.

In yet another aspect, the pull-out drawer includes a removable cover along a top portion thereof, with the removable cover made accessible when the pull-out drawer is at least partially extended from one of the internal chambers of the seat base. Optionally, a second pull-out drawer is positioned in another one of the internal chambers defined by the seat base. Optionally, the pull-out drawers may be thermally insulated. Each drawer may include at least one chamber that is sufficiently large to receive a standard beverage container, for example, or may be configured to hold live bait or other temperature-sensitive items. Optionally, left and right sidewalls of the seat base receive respective left and right pull-out drawers, while a front sidewall defines an opening to provide access to a third internal chamber that is positioned between the left and right internal chambers in which the pull-out drawers are mounted.

In still another aspect, the seat base includes a seat cushion coupled to the top thereof, and the seat cushion is configured to rest against the user's back when the seat base is secured to the user via the carry strap.

In a further aspect, a hook is disposed along the bottom of the seat base, and a cord is configured to be coupled to the hook and to at least one of the collapsible legs, to hold or maintain the legs in the deployed position. Optionally, the cord is an elastic cord, and may include opposite end portions that are coupled to the collapsible legs, with a central portion of the cord that is coupled to the hook when the legs are deployed.

In another aspect, the collapsible legs include a first pair of legs with lower end portions that engage the support surface, upper end portions pivotally coupled to the seat base, and middle portions that are disposed between the upper and lower end portions. Similarly, a second pair of legs include respective lower end portions for engaging the support surface, and have respective upper end portions that engage the seat base when the legs are deployed, while middle portions of the second pair of legs are pivotally coupled to the middle portions of the first pair of legs. Optionally, the bottom of the seat base defines a pair of recesses or bores for receiving the respective upper end portions of the second pair of legs when the collapsible legs are in the deployed position. Optionally, a cross member is coupled to the first and second pairs of legs at their respective middle portions. The cross member extends laterally between the legs, across substantially the full width of the seat base. Optionally, the cross member is pivotally coupled to the first pair of legs, and is non-pivotally coupled to the second pair of legs.

Accordingly, the portable seat of the present invention provides a comfortable seating surface for a user in substantially any desired location, and is easily transported by a user in a hands-free manner so that the user can cover long distances in comfort, and without need for making frequent adjustments. The seat base provides one or more internal storage spaces that are held closed by a carry strap during transport, and includes collapsible legs for supporting the seat at a normal height.

These and other objects, advantages, purposes, and features of the present invention will become apparent upon review of the following specification in conjunction with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a bottom perspective view of a portable seat in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a top perspective view of the portable seat of FIG. 1, shown with one drawer partially extended;

FIG. 3 is another top perspective view of the portable seat of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a left side elevation of the portable seat of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the portable seat with its legs in a collapsed or transport position, and shown without a cushion and with its left drawer removed;

FIG. 6 is a right side elevation of the portable seat of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a right side elevation of the seat base portion of the portable seat of FIG. 1;

FIG. 8 is a front elevation of the seat base of FIG. 7;

FIG. 9 is a bottom plan view of the seat base of FIG. 7;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a pull-out drawer of the portable seat, shown with its cover removed;

FIG. 11 is a top plan view of the drawer of FIG. 10;

FIG. 12 is a front elevation of the drawer of FIG. 10;

FIG. 13 is a side elevation of the drawer of FIG. 10;

FIG. 14 is a perspective view of the portable seat of FIG. 1, shown strapped to a user and with the legs in a collapsed or transport position;

FIG. 15 is a front perspective view of the user and portable seat of FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 is a top perspective view of another portable seat in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 17 is a bottom perspective view of the portable seat of FIG. 16;

FIG. 18 is an enlarged view of a rear portion of the portable seat as shown in FIG. 17, in which the upper ends of a leg support have been disengaged from the seat base;

FIG. 19 is another bottom perspective view of the portable seat of FIG. 17, in which the legs are shown in a collapsed position for storage or transport;

FIG. 20 is a bottom perspective view of the seat base of the portable seat of FIG. 16;

FIG. 21 is a top perspective view of a storage member of the portable seat of FIG. 16

FIG. 22 is a perspective view of the portable seat of FIG. 16, shown supported by a user and with the legs and seatback in a collapsed or transport position;

FIG. 23 is a front perspective view of the user and portable seat of FIG. 22; and

FIG. 24 is a another perspective view of the portable seat and user of FIG. 22, but with the shoulder straps in a crisscross arrangement.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring now to the drawings and the illustrative embodiments depicted therein, a portable seat 10 includes a seat base 12, a cushion 14, a collapsible leg assembly 16, a pair of pull-out drawers, 18a, 18b, and an open storage chamber 20 (FIGS. 1-5). In addition, a carry strap 22 is provided for allowing a user 24 to carry portable seat 10 in a hands-free manner, such as shown in FIGS. 14 and 15. Portable seat 10 is supportable on substantially any sufficiently firm support surface, with cushion 14 located at a comfortable seating height when collapsible leg assembly 16 is in the deployed position of FIGS. 1-4. The user may store various articles in seat base 12, such as beverage containers, clothing articles (e.g. gloves, hat, rain poncho, etc.), hunting equipment, camping gear, bait, or the like. Such articles may be stored in drawers 18a, 18b and in open storage chamber 20 that are provided for that purpose. In addition, leg assembly 16 is movable to a collapsed or retracted configuration (FIGS. 5, 6, 14, and 15) so that portable seat 10 may be made more compact for convenient carrying by user 24. Carry strap 22 is positioned around the user's waist with cushion 14 resting against the user's back and drawers 18a, 18b held closed by strap 22. Portable seat 10 is thus suitable for being carried long distances by the user, and provides a comfortable seating surface with convenient access to substantial storage located within the seat.

Seat base 12 includes a top portion 26 to which cushion 14 is attached, a bottom portion 28 to which collapsible leg assembly 16 is attached, and a plurality of perimeter sidewalls separating the top and bottom portions, the perimeter sidewalls including a front sidewall 30, left sidewall 32, right sidewall 34, and rear sidewall 36 (FIGS. 1-4 and 9). In the illustrated embodiment, rear sidewall 36 is substantially planar (FIGS. 4, 6, 7, and 9), and left sidewall 32 and right sidewall 34 each defines a respective opening 32a, 34a into respective internal chambers 38, 40 (FIGS. 1-7), each of which is sized and shaped to receive the respective left and right drawers 18a, 18b. Open storage chamber 20 is accessible via an opening 42 defined in front sidewall 30, such as shown in FIGS. 1-3 and 5. As best shown in FIG. 9, open storage chamber 20 extends substantially the full length of seat base 12, and includes a circular rear wall 44 that is spaced forwardly from the rear sidewall 36 of the seat base, although it will be appreciated that the open storage chamber could extend all the way to rear sidewall 36. A hook 58 is formed in bottom portion 28, and projects downwardly for use in securing collapsible leg assembly 16 in the extended or deployed position (FIGS. 1, 4, 5, and 7-9), as will be described in more detail below.

In the illustrated embodiment, left sidewall opening 32a and right sidewall opening 34a are substantially identical in size and shape, such that left and right drawers 18a, 18b may be substantially interchangeable. The internal chambers 38, 40 extend to a cylindrical sidewall 46 that cooperates with rear wall 44 to define open storage chamber 20 (FIG. 9). In the illustrated embodiment, storage chamber 20 is generally cylindrical in shape, and may be sized and shaped to receive one or more beverage containers, such as 12-oz. or 355 mL cans or bottles, 20-oz. or 591 mL) cans or bottles, insulated bottles, or the like. In addition, rolled maps, articles of clothing, and other gear may be conveniently stored in open storage chamber 20 and accessed via front opening 42.

As best shown in FIG. 9, front sidewall 30 defines a left corner recess 48a and a right corner recess 48b, which recesses are shaped to accommodate a user's respective leg calves while seated on the portable seat, for improved comfort and improved access to open storage chamber 20 (since opening 42 is positioned forwardly of corner recesses 48a,48b). A plurality of upper ribs 50 (FIGS. 5 and 7-9) provide added rigidity and stiffness of the top portion 26 of seat base 12. Similarly, a plurality of lower ribs 52 (FIGS. 1, 5, and 7-9) provide added rigidity and stiffness for bottom portion 28, which supports the load on seat base 12 at the leg assembly 16.

Bottom portion 28 of seat base 12 further defines a pair of longitudinally-aligned elongate support walls or ridges 54a,54b that project downwardly and are used for mounting collapsible leg assembly 16 to the bottom portion 28 of the seat base 12 (FIGS. 1, 4, 5, and 7-9). A pair of leg-receiving recesses or cavities 56a,56b (FIGS. 1, 5, and 9) are formed or established in bottom portion 28, and are configured for receiving and supporting end portions of respective legs when the collapsible leg assembly 16 is extended or deployed, as will be described in more detail below.

Seat base 12 may be formed from substantially any sufficiently strong and rigid or resilient material, and it is envisioned that it may be molded as a single piece from resinous plastic, fiber-reinforced resinous plastic, or the like. Such materials may provide sufficient strength and rigidity in a wide range of temperatures, while also being relatively inexpensive and lightweight. However, it is envisioned that rather than being unitarily formed, seat base 12 may be initially formed in three or more separate pieces, including separate top portion 26, bottom portion 28, and sidewalls 30-36, which may then be joined via ultrasonic welding or other suitable joining process.

Collapsible leg assembly 16 has four legs including a first pair of legs 60 and a second pair of legs 62, with each pair moving together as a unit. First legs 60 are pivotally coupled to leg support walls 54a, 54b near rear sidewall 36, with first legs 60 projecting forwardly therefrom. Second legs 62 are pivotally coupled to respective ones of the first legs 60, and engage and project or extend rearwardly from recesses 56a, 56b formed in bottom portion 28 of seat base 12 when in the deployed configuration of FIGS. 1-4. Each pair of legs 60, 62 includes respective upper end portions 60a, 62a, respective lower end portions 60b, 62b, and middle or central portions 60c, 62c that are disposed between the upper and lower end portions (FIGS. 1 and 4).

A pivot bolt 64 extends through upper end portions 60a of each first leg 60, at the rear end portion of leg support walls 54a, 54b, while the first legs' lower end portions 60b are configured to engage a support surface (e.g. floor, soil or paved ground, etc.) and may be fitted with soft rubber feet 66 to limit or prevent sliding along smooth surfaces and/or to limit or prevent damage to such surfaces. Upper end portions 62a of the respective second legs 62 are received in the respective left and right recesses 56a, 56b when collapsible leg assembly 16 is deployed or extended, and are removed from the recesses 56a, 56b when the leg assembly is retracted (FIGS. 5 and 6). Lower end portions 62b of the second legs 62 are also configured to engage a support surface, such as a floor or ground surface, and also may include respective rubber feet 66.

The first and second pairs of legs 60, 62 are joined together via an elongate cross member 68 that extends laterally substantially the full width of seat base 12. Cross member 68 is fixedly coupled to each of the second legs 62 at the respective middle portions 62c thereof via mounting bolts 70, and cross member 68 is further pivotally coupled to the respective middle portions 60c of each of the first legs 60 via pivot bolts 72. Each of the first legs 60 is spaced outward of the corresponding one of the second legs 62 on the same side of seat base 12, by approximately the width of the leg support walls 54a, 54b, which spacing is maintained by the coupling of second pairs of legs 62 inward of the first pair of legs 60 at cross member 68.

Cross member 68 acts as a stabilizer for legs 60, 62 and serves as the only constant coupling between second legs 62 and seat base 12. For stiffness and rigidity, cross member 68 is formed with a right-angle cross section, although other cross sectional shapes may be equally suitable. Cross member 68 facilitates the insertion and removal of the upper end portions 62a of second legs 62 into and out of the respective recesses 56a, 56b during deployment and retraction of collapsible leg assembly 16. Once the upper end portions 62a of second legs 62 have been removed from recesses 56a,56b by initially pivoting first legs 60 away from bottom portion 28, second legs 62 may be pivoted together about pivot bolts 72 to be substantially parallel with first legs 60, as first legs 60 are pivoted toward bottom portion 28 of seat base 12 until all of the legs are substantially full retracted against bottom portion 28, with first legs 60 positioned along respective outboard surfaces 74 of the leg support walls 54a, 54b, and with second legs 62 positioned along respective inboard surfaces 76 of the leg support walls 54a, 54b, such as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6.

As best shown in FIG. 8, outboard surfaces 74 of leg support walls 54a, 54b are generally concave so that first legs 60 may be releasably secured in the collapsed or retracted configuration by pressing or snapping them into engagement with the concave outboard surfaces 74 of leg support walls 54a, 54b, with the lateral spacing of the respective legs 60 maintained by cross member 68. Optionally, it is envisioned that inboard surfaces 76 of leg support walls 54a, 54b could be similarly concaved in shape for engagement by the respective second legs 62, in order to further retain collapsible leg assembly 16 in the collapsed or retracted configuration.

An elastic cord 78 is provided for retaining collapsible leg assembly 16 in the extended or deployed configuration of FIGS. 1-4, and does so by urging the upper end portions 62a of second legs 62 into engagement with the recesses 56a, 56b that are formed in bottom portion 28 of seat base 12. This maintains the leg assembly 16 in the extended or deployed configuration even if the portable seat 10 is lifted above a support surface so that lower end portions 60b, 62b are no longer resting on the support surface. Elastic cord 78 includes opposite end portions 78a with hooks 80 that engage respective bores 82 formed or established in cross member 68 near mounting bolts 70, such as shown in FIG. 1. A middle portion 78b of the elastic cord 78 may be looped around hook 58 and held in tension when leg assembly 16 is deployed or extended (FIGS. 1 and 4), which urges or biases second legs 62 substantially along their respective longitudinal axes toward and into engagement with recesses 56a, 56b.

Although the weight of seat base 12 and any equipment or user positioned thereon will tend to maintain leg assembly 16 securely in the deployed configuration when portable seat 10 is positioned on a support surface with the lower end portions of the legs 60, 62 engaging the support surface, elastic cord 78 limits or prevents first legs 60 from pivoting away from bottom portion 28 (which is normally the first step of moving leg assembly 16 from the deployed configuration to the collapsed configuration), and insures that upper end portions 62a of legs 62 do not disengage the recesses 56a, 56b (e.g., due to gravity acting on the legs 60, 62) when the portable seat 10 (including legs 60, 62) is lifted above the support surface.

Accordingly, in order to deploy the leg assembly 16 from the collapsed configuration of FIGS. 5, 6, 14, and 15 to the deployed or extended configuration of FIGS. 1-4, the user first pulls downwardly on substantially any portion of leg assembly 16 (but preferably the central portion of cross member 68 or near the lower end portions 60b of first legs 60) to disengage first legs 60 from concave outboard surfaces 74 of leg support walls 54a, 54b. Second legs 62 are then pivoted to form an X-shape with first legs 60 and second legs 62. The upper end portions 62a of second legs 62 are then positioned in alignment with (and in close proximity to) recesses 56a, 56b in the bottom portion 28 of seat base 12. The upper end portions 62a are then inserted into the respective recesses 56a, 56b by moving both pairs of legs 60, 62 back in the direction of seat base 12 so that upper end portions 62a are received in the recesses 56a, 56b. Elastic cord 78 may then be stretched and its middle portion 78b looped around hook 58 to secure leg assembly 16 in the deployed configuration.

Collapsing or retracting the leg assembly 16 may be accomplished in substantially the reverse order of steps, and may be readily understood with reference thereto. Optionally, elastic cord 78 may be left in engagement with hook 58 during repositioning of the collapsible leg assembly 16 between the extended and retracted configurations, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. In that case, however, the tension of elastic cord 78 must be overcome by the user when deploying the leg assembly 16, and also during the initial step of retracting the leg assembly. Optionally, the user may choose to be seated on portable seat 10 with leg assembly 16 in the retracted configuration of FIGS. 5 and 6, such as by resting the seat on a ground surface, a tree stump, a bench, or the like.

Drawers 18a, 18b may be substantially identical to one another, and in the illustrated embodiment, each drawer has an insulated perimeter sidewall 84 plus a middle wall 86 to define first and second insulated chambers 88a, 88b that are accessible when the drawer is at least partially extended from its respective internal chamber 38, 40 in seat base 12, such as shown in FIG. 2. Either or both of the insulated chambers 88a, 88b may be sufficiently large to receive one or more standard beverage containers, or may accommodate hunting gear, camping or fishing gear, or the like. Each of the chambers 88a, 88b may be substantially enclosed by a removable cover or lid 90a, 90b, each defining a respective central bore 92a, 92b that can be used for removing the covers by inserting a finger through the respective bore and pulling upwardly on the cover when the drawer is at least partially pulled out or withdrawn from seat base 12 (FIG. 2). Similarly, an outer portion 84a of perimeter sidewall 84 defines a central bore 94 that may be used as a finger-pull for sliding the respective drawer 18a or 18b outwardly from seat base 12.

In the illustrated embodiment, drawers 18a, 18b are configured as slide-out drawers that translate or slide laterally, relative to seat base 12, for opening and stowing. However, it is envisioned that the drawers may instead pivot or roll out from the seat base on suitable pivots or rollers, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Drawers 18a, 18b may be molded from vacuum-formed resinous plastic with an insulating filler material, similar to conventional thermally-insulated coolers, or may be made from wood, fiberglass, sheet metal, or other materials that are generally rigid or semi-rigid, and which may have thermal insulating properties. However, it will be appreciated that the drawers may be non-insulated, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

In the illustrated embodiment, carry strap 22 is a two-piece flexible member made of webbing (e.g., similar to seat belt webbing) or similar material, with proximal end portions 22a (FIG. 14) that are attached to bottom portion 28 of seat base via fasteners 96 that are located outboard of each leg support wall 54a, 54b (FIGS. 1, 5, and 9). Fasteners 96 may be blind rivets, bolts, screws, clamps, heat-welds, or substantially any other suitably secure fastening device or method. Each piece of carry strap 22 holds a respective drawer closed when the strap 22 is fastened around the user's waist, with distal portions 22b of strap 22 fastened together at a releasable buckle 98, such as shown in FIG. 15. Strap 22 may be cinched tight at buckle 98 in order to secure portable seat 10 along the user's back, which may cause cushion 14 to compress at least slightly against the user's back to provide a comfortable degree of tension in strap 22 when the portable seat is worn in this manner by the user. Optionally, the carry strap may be a one-piece strap that wraps around bottom portion 28 of seat base 12, passing through slits or openings defined along the bases of leg support walls 54a, 54b, passing around the left and right sidewalls 32, 34, and extending around the waist of the user 24.

Although portable seat 10 may be carried by the user 24 with front opening 42 facing either upwardly or downwardly, it will be appreciated that open storage chamber 20 may be used for carrying articles when front opening 42 is directed upwardly as shown in FIGS. 14 and 15. Optionally, a cover in the form of a flap or a door may be provided to permit a user to close front opening 42, so that articles are prevented from spilling out of front opening 42 when the cover is closed. Buckle 98 may be released quickly to detach portable seat 10 from user 24, and the distal ends 22b of strap 22 may be left hanging from seat base 12 when portable seat 10 is in use with collapsible leg assembly 16 deployed. Optionally, buckle 98 used to retain the carry strap 12 in a secured position atop cushion 14, or below bottom portion 28 of seat base 12 when not in use, such as with the portable seat 10 positioned on a support surface and configured for seating the user.

Optionally, the portable seats may have alternative storage configurations, in-use configurations, and transport configurations that differ somewhat from those described above. For example, and with reference to FIGS. 16-19, another portable seat 110 includes a seat base 112 to which a cushion 114 is mounted, with a collapsible leg assembly 116 including a forward-extending leg 118 and a rearward-extending leg 120, and a seatback 122 that is hinged or pivotally coupled to cushion 114. Seatback 122 has its rearward travel limited by a pair of adjustable straps 124. A forward storage pouch 126 is supported below a forward portion 112a of seat base 112, while a separate longitudinally-aligned storage chamber 128 extends along an underside of seat base 112, from forward portion 112a to a rearward portion 112b, and is accessible via a pull-down flap 130 that can be used to selectively cover and secure an access opening 132 (FIG. 21) of the storage chamber 128.

Forward-extending leg 118 and rearward-extending leg 120 are pivotally coupled to one another via hinge bolts or pins 134 located at the legs' respective midsections, such as shown in FIGS. 16, 17, and 19. Optionally, hinge pins 134 are threaded bolts with nut fasteners on their inwardly-directed threaded tips, and with spacers 136 (FIG. 19) disposed along each hinge pin 134 between legs 118, 120. In the illustrated embodiment, each leg 118, 120 is generally U-shaped, with downwardly-extending leg portions 118a, 120a, respective cross members 118b, 120b extending horizontally between the lower ends of the leg portions 118a, 120a, and with upper end portions 118c, 120c that are attached (or attachable) to seat base 112, as will be described in more detail below.

Forward portion 112a of seat base 112 includes a pair of downwardly-extending and generally U-shaped forward brackets 138 to which upper end portions 120c of respective rearward-extending leg portions 120a are pivotally coupled via pivot bolts 140 (FIGS. 17, 18, and 20). Two downwardly-extending rear brackets 142 are positioned at rearward portion 112b of seat base 112, and are configured to selectively receive and retain respective upper end portions 118c of forward-extending leg 118, which curve inwardly such as shown in FIGS. 17 and 18. Each rear bracket 142 defines an opening 144 for receiving upper end portion 118c of forward-extending leg 118, which is generally circular in shape (FIGS. 18-20). Two leg-retaining members 146 extend downwardly from seat base 112 at rearward portion 112b, and engage rearward-extending leg 120 at the respective leg portions 120a when the leg assembly 116 is fully retracted or collapsed, such as shown in FIG. 19. Leg retaining members 146 are somewhat resilient and include inwardly-facing concave surfaces 146a (FIGS. 18 and 20) that generally correspond to (and engage) the outer curved surfaces of the leg portions 120a. Optionally, seat base 112 is unitarily formed with forward brackets 138, rearward brackets 142, and leg retaining members 146, such as from injection-molded resinous plastic, fiber-reinforced resinous materials, machined or cast metal, or the like.

When leg assembly 116 is positioned in its deployed or extended configuration, such as shown in FIGS. 16 and 17, each leg portion 118a, 120a extends downwardly at an angle of approximately 45 degrees relative to seat base 112, with leg portions 118a, 120a arranged approximately perpendicularly to one another. In the deployed configuration, upper end portions 118c of forward-extending leg 118 are fully seated in the opening 144 defined in rear brackets 142 (FIG. 17). When legs 118, 120 are in their retracted or stowed configuration (FIG. 19), leg portions 118a, 120a lay parallel to seat base 112, and are releasably retained in that position by leg retaining members 146 until a user applies sufficient force to release leg portions 120a from retaining members 146. In the retracted configuration, the cross member 118b of forward-extending leg 118 is positioned directly in front of flap 130, which helps to ensure that the flap is maintained in a closed position during transport of the seat 110. At the same time, upper end portions 118c of forward-extending leg 118, and cross member 120b of rearward-extending leg 120, project somewhat rearwardly beyond the rearward portion 112b of seat base 112, so that cross member 120b may be used as a handle during transport, if desired.

To reposition collapsible leg assembly 116 from the extended configuration of FIGS. 16 and 17 to the retracted configuration of FIG. 19, upper end portions 118c of forward-extending leg 118 are drawn laterally outwardly from the respective opening 144 in rear brackets 142, such as by grasping at leg portions 118a and pulling outwardly to flex the leg portions 118a, and then moving upper end portions 118c away from rear brackets 142. This allows the entire leg assembly 116 to pivot about pivot bolts 140 at forward brackets 138, and also permits forward-extending legs 118 to pivot relative to rearward-extending leg 120 at hinge pins 134, in order to reposition leg assembly 116 at the collapsed or retracted configuration of FIG. 19. An additional force will normally be applied to the leg assembly 116, such as at leg portions 120a or cross member 120b, in order to fully collapse it against seat base 112 and in engagement with leg retaining members 146. It will be appreciated that deploying leg assembly 116 from the retracted or collapsed position at FIG. 19 to the fully extended position of FIGS. 16 and 17 may be accomplished in substantially the reverse order of steps as described above.

Forward storage pouch 126 may be made of substantially rigid materials in order to hold its shape, or may be made of semi-rigid panels (e.g. fabric that is reinforced with flexible plastic sheets), or may be a soft-sided and fully collapsible pouch. Storage pouch 126 has an upper opening that is selectively openable and closable via a zipper closure 148 that, in the illustrated embodiment, includes a weather-resistant cover or flap 150. Optionally, the forward storage pouch 126 may instead be closed with hook-and-loop fasteners, snaps, buttons, a magnetic closure, or the like, or may be left open at its upper end to permit unrestricted access to the contents of the storage pouch. In the illustrated embodiment, forward storage pouch 126 includes a rear panel 152 that has a flexible hinge portion 154 (FIGS. 16, 17, and 19), which allows storage pouch 126 to pivot or swing under the weight of gravity, or due to the application of force by a user, such as indicated by curved arrows in FIG. 19. This arrangement allows storage pouch 126 to pivot or fold rearwardly along a lower surface of storage chamber 128, such as when the portable seat 110 is positioned vertically with the seat base's forward portion 112a directed upwardly, such as shown in FIGS. 22 and 24.

With collapsible leg assembly 116 in its extended or deployed configuration, access to the opening 132 of storage chamber 128 is provided via pull-down flap 130, which may be opened by grasping a loop-pull 156 and pulling it forwardly so that flap 130 pivots about a lower hinge portion 158, such as indicated by curved arrows in FIG. 16. Optionally, pull-down flap 130 and rear panel 152 may be fitted with cooperating fasteners or closures in the vicinity of the opening 132, in order to secure the flap 130 in the closed position of FIG. 16. For example, hook-and-loop fasteners, buttons, snaps, magnets, or the like may be used to releasably secure the flap. For hunting applications, it will be appreciated that fasteners that can be operated quietly, such as plastic zippers or magnetic fasteners, would be most preferable.

In the illustrated embodiment, longitudinal-extending storage chamber 128 is a one-piece member that may be made from injection-molded resinous plastic, for example, and is configured to be coupled to the underside of seat base 112 as well as to an upper portion of rear panel 152, such as shown in FIGS. 17-19. Storage chamber 128 includes an upper flange 160 that is seated against a bottom surface of seat base 112, and a forward flange 162 that is seated against a rear surface of rear panel 152. Flanges 160, 162 define respective sets of holes or openings 164 that align with corresponding holes 166 in seat base 112 and rear panel 152, so that storage chamber 128 may be secured via threaded fasteners 168 or the like. Storage chamber 128 includes a rear wall 170 that is located proximate rearward portion 112b of seat base 112, and a generally U-shaped wall 172 that defines the bottom and side portions of the storage chamber, and that extends from forward flange 162 to rear wall 170. Thus, a generally tubular storage space 174 is defined between U-shaped wall 172, rear wall 170, and an underside of seat base 112, with forward opening 132 selectively closed by pull-down flap 130. Storage space 174 is sized and shaped to receive standard beverage containers, from metal cans and plastic bottles to thermal-insulated containers or the like, as well as clothing articles, tools, reading material, maps, etc.

Seat cushion 114 may be releasably or detachably coupled to seat base 112 via a plurality of generally L-shaped brackets 175, such as shown in FIGS. 17-19. Brackets 175 have upwardly-extending portions 175a that are adhered or otherwise attached to cushion 114, and have lower or base portions 175b that extend below the respective edge of seat base 112 and are coupled to the seat base via threaded fasteners 168. Optionally, the seat cushion 114 may instead be permanently adhered to seat base 112, or may be attached with releasable fasteners such as snaps, hook-and-loop fasteners, or the like. Seatback 122 is pivotally coupled to cushion 144 via a hinge member 176, which may be a fabric or flexible plastic “living hinge”, a piano hinge, or the like. Optionally, seatback 122 includes a pair of stiffening rails 178, which may also serve to resist abrasion if other articles are set upon seatback 122 in a closed or folded-down position. A closure 180 is positioned along a forward or upper edge 122a of seatback 122, and is releasably securable to a corresponding closure 182 that is positioned at a forward end portion 114a of cushion 114 when seatback 122 is folded down or closed. For example, closures 180, 182 may be corresponding hook-and-loop fasteners, snap buttons, magnets, or the like.

Straps 124 are secured to respective sides of seatback 122, such as via sewing or bonding, and are further secured to seat base 112 via a pair of fasteners 168, such as shown in FIGS. 17 and 19. Each strap 124 includes an adjustment member or mechanism 184 that allows the effective length of strap 124 to be adjusted, in order to permit adjustment of the upright position of seatback 122 relative to seat base 112 and cushion 114. In addition, a carry strap 186 is provided for allowing a user to carry the portable seat 110 in a hands-free manner, similar to that shown in FIGS. 14 and 15. Opposite end portions of carry strap 186 may be attached to seat base 112 via the same fasteners 168 that attach seatback straps 124, such as shown in FIGS. 17 and 19. In other respects, carry strap 186 may function in substantially the same way as the carry strap 122 that is described in more detail above. This allows a user to carry portable seat 110 in a hands-free manner, and with seatback 122 positioned against the user's lower back, for example.

Optionally, and with reference to FIGS. 22-24, portable seat 110 may be equipped with shoulder straps 188 in place of (or in addition to) a carry strap that is configured to securing to a user's waist. Thus, portable seat 110 may be worn by the user 24 in the manner of a backpack, with straps 188 worn over respective shoulders of the user. Upper end portions 188a of shoulder straps 188 are secured to seat base 112 via respective flexible tabs 190 (FIGS. 22 and 24), while lower end portions 188b of shoulder straps 188 are secured to seat base 112 via fasteners in substantially the same manner that carry strap 186 is secured with fasteners 168, described above. Seatback 122 rests against the user's back when portable seat 110 is worn in this manner, and may provide a cushioned surface for comfort. It will be appreciated that shoulder straps 188 may be permanently or semi-permanently attached to seat base 112, or may be releasably attached via releasable clips or the like.

Shoulder straps 188 may be worn in a generally parallel or non-crossing arrangement, such as shown in FIGS. 22 and 23, in which case a supplemental chest strap 192 (FIG. 23) may be used to secure both shoulder straps 188 together, thus ensuring that the shoulder straps 188 will not slip off of the user's shoulders while carrying it. Chest strap 192 is a two-piece strap, which each piece attached to a respective shoulder strap and including complementary buckle portions of a quick-release buckle 194 to releasably secure the strap pieces together. Optionally, shoulder straps 188 may be worn in a crisscross arrangement along the user's upper back, such as shown in FIG. 24, which will also generally ensure that the shoulder straps 188 will not slip off of the user's shoulders, and without the use of chest strap 192.

Numerous other variations to the portable seats are also envisioned, such as substituting various features aspects found on portable seat 10 with those found on portable seat 110, and vice versa. For example, the collapsible leg assembly 116 of portable seat 110 may be substituted for collapsible leg assembly 16 of portable seat 10, or the collapsible leg assembly 16 of portable seat 10 may be substituted for collapsible leg assembly 116 of portable seat 110, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

Thus, the portable seat of the present invention can be carried long distances by a user without need for adjustment, without requiring use of the user's hands, and while carrying gear, beverages, and the like in a secure manner inside of the seat base or an associated storage chamber. The portable seat may be quickly set up for use by deploying the collapsible legs and, once the user is seated on the cushion, the user has full access to storage areas of the seat, such as left and right pull-out drawers and a storage chamber at the front of the seat base, which may be sized and shaped for beverage containers or the like. The portable seat is relatively light in weight, and is readily secured in a transport configuration for convenient use and substantially without risk of losing components or gear form the seat as it is being transported.

Changes and modifications in the specifically-described embodiments can be carried out without departing from the principles of the present invention, which is intended to be limited only by the scope of the appended claims, as interpreted according to the principles of patent law including the doctrine of equivalents.