Title:
Combination equipment cover and sleeping device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device having an equipment cover configuration and a sleeping apparatus configuration is provided for protecting equipment when the device is in the equipment cover configuration and for protecting a user from the elements when the device is in a sleeping apparatus configuration. The device can contain both an outer layer and an inner layer with padding sandwiched between the outer and inner layer. In addition, the device can contain an insulation layer to increase the comfort level of the device when used as a sleeping apparatus. The device can also contain a liner that prevents contaminants from the equipment from staining the interior of the device. In an alternative embodiment, the device can have a plurality of suspension structures for suspending the device above the ground when used as a sleeping apparatus.



Inventors:
Gotfried, Bradley L. (Hobe Sound, FL, US)
Application Number:
09/865378
Publication Date:
11/28/2002
Filing Date:
05/25/2001
Assignee:
GOTFRIED BRADLEY L.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/413R
International Classes:
A45C9/00; A45F4/06; A45F4/08; A47G9/08; B63B35/79; A45C3/00; A45C5/06; A45F3/02; A45F3/22; (IPC1-7): A45F3/22; A47G9/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CONLEY, FREDRICK C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Akerman, Senterfitt & Eidson, P.A. (West Palm Beach, FL, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A device having an equipment cover configuration and a sleeping apparatus configuration, comprising: an outer layer of material having an inner surface and an outer surface; an inner layer of material having an inner surface and an outer surface; and a liner positioned against said inner surface of said inner layer, whereby said device protects equipment when said device is in said equipment cover configuration, and said device protects a user from the elements when said device is in said sleeping apparatus configuration.

2. The device according to claim 1, wherein said liner is detachably connected to said inner surface of said inner layer.

3. The device according to claim 2, wherein said liner is detachably connected to said inner surface of said inner layer by hook and loop type fasteners.

4. The device according to claim 1, wherein said liner is permanently affixed to said inner surface of said inner layer.

5. The device according to claim 1, wherein said inner layer has an insulation layer having an inner surface and an outer surface for protecting said equipment when said device is in said equipment cover configuration and for protecting said user when said device is in said sleeping apparatus configuration.

6. The device according to claim 5, wherein said liner is detachably connected to said inner surface of said insulation layer.

7. The device according to claim 5, wherein said liner is permanently affixed to said inner surface of said insulation layer.

8. The device according to claim 5, wherein said outer surface of said insulation layer is detachably connected to said inner surface of said inner layer.

9. The device according to claim 5, wherein said outer surface of said insulation layer is permanently affixed to said inner surface of said inner layer.

10. The device according to claim 1, wherein said outer surface of said inner layer is detachably connected to said inner surface of said outer layer.

11. The device according to claim 1, wherein said outer surface of said inner layer is permanently affixed to said inner surface of said outer layer.

12. The device according to claim 1, wherein said device has padding disposed between said outer layer and said inner layer.

13. The device according to claim 12, wherein said padding is detachably connected to at least one of said inner surface of said outer layer and said outer surface of said inner layer.

14. The device according to claim 13, wherein said padding is closed cell foam.

15. The device according to claim 13, wherein said padding is inflatable foam padding.

16. The device according to claim 12, wherein said padding is permanently affixed to at least one of said inner surface of said outer layer and said outer surface of said inner layer.

17. The device according to claim 16, wherein said padding is closed cell foam.

18. The device according to claim 16, wherein said padding is inflatable foam padding.

19. The device according to claim 1, wherein said device has a first end, a second end and at least one cushioning structure, wherein said cushioning structure is proximate to at least one of said first and second ends.

20. The device according to claim 19, wherein said cushioning structure is detachably connected to said inner surface of said inner layer.

21. The device according to claim 20, wherein said cushioning structure is closed cell foam.

22. The device according to claim 20, wherein said cushioning structure is inflatable foam padding.

23. The device according to claim 19, wherein said cushioning structure is permanently affixed to said inner surface of said inner layer.

24. The device according to claim 23, wherein said cushioning structure is closed cell foam.

25. The device according to claim 23, wherein said cushioning structure is inflatable foam padding.

26. The device according to claim 1, wherein said outer surface of said outer layer has one or more storage structures.

27. The device according to claim 26, wherein said storage structures are detachably connected to said outer surface of said outer layer.

28. The cover according to claim 27, wherein at least one of said storage structures is sized to contain a personal electronic device.

29. The device according to claim 26, wherein said storage structures are permanently affixed to said outer surface of said outer layer.

30. The device according to claim 29, wherein at least one of said storage structures is sized to contain a personal electronic device.

31. The device according to claim 1, wherein said inner surface of said inner layer has one or more storage structures.

32. The device according to claim 31, wherein said storage structures are detachably coupled to said inner surface of said inner layer.

33. The device according to claim 32, wherein at least one of said storage structures is sized to contain a personal electronic device.

34. The device according to claim 31, wherein said storage Structures are permanently affixed to said inner surface of said inner layer.

35. The device according to claim 34, wherein at least one of said storage structures is sized to contain a personal electronic device.

36. The device according to claim 1, wherein said liner has one or more storage structures.

37. The device according to claim 36, wherein said storage structures are detachably connected to said liner.

38. The device according to claim 37, wherein at least one of said storage structures is sized to contain a personal electronic device.

39. The device according to claim 36, wherein said storage structures are permanently attached to said liner.

40. The device according to claim 39, wherein at least one of said storage structures is sized to contain a personal electronic device.

41. The device according to claim 1, wherein said device has a plurality of suspension structures, whereby said suspension structures allow said device to be suspended above the ground.

42. The device according to claim 41, wherein said suspension structures are detachably connected to said device.

43. The device according to claim 41, wherein said suspension structures are permanently affixed to said device.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] (Not Applicable)

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

[0002] (Not Applicable)

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] 1. Technical Field

[0004] The present invention relates generally to convertible bags, and more particularly, to devices which can function both as a sleeping bag and an equipment cover.

[0005] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0006] Equipment such as skis, kayaks or surfboards typically do not stand up well to the rigors of travel. The equipment is often damaged when in transit. For example, fiberglass surfboards are easily damaged or broken if dropped onto a hard surface, such as by baggage handlers at an airport. Consequently, it is desirable to protect such equipment by transporting it in a protective cover.

[0007] Currently, equipment such as surfboards and skis are typically transported in soft-sided covers. These soft covers typically have a durable outer layer, an inner lining made from a material such as nylon and a layer of padding sandwiched between the outer layer and the inner lining. This padding is generally constructed of closed cell foam.

[0008] Multipurpose protective covers for surfboards are known in the art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,033,497 to Hernandez and U.S. Pat. No. 6,003,745 to Mechanic both disclose multipurpose surfboard bags which can also use be used as sleeping bags. Specifically, Hernandez discloses a soft-sided surfboard shipping bag that contains foam padding to protect surfboards during transport. In addition, when the Hernandez bag is fully opened, it can serve as a ground pad for an associated tent. Significantly, however, the Hernandez device, when used as a tent, does not provide any insulation to protect a user from the elements. Moreover, significant amounts of contaminants, such, as surfboard wax or saltwater, may soil or degrade the interior of the Hernandez bag.

[0009] The Mechanic patent teaches a dual purpose surfboard bag and sleeping pad. The Mechanic bag is constructed of two self-inflating pads sandwiched between an outer and inner layer of durable fabric. The self-inflating pads protect the surfboard while in transit as in a traditional surfboard bag. To use the Mechanic bag for sleeping, a user can open a number of air valves which causes air to inflate the pads. Once the pads are sufficiently filled with air, the user closes the valves and the bag is ready for use as a sleeping pad. Notably, however, the Mechanic bag does not contain any type of body insulation for the user, as is typical in a conventional sleeping bag. In addition, Mechanic, similar to Hernandez, does not provide any protection to prevent degradation of the bag's interior. Accordingly, there is a need for a protective cover for equipment that can provide sufficient protection for the equipment, resist deterioration in the cover's interior and provide adequate shelter from the elements when the cover is used as a sleeping device

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0010] The invention features a device having an equipment cover configuration and a sleeping apparatus configuration. In one arrangement, the invention has: an outer layer of material having an inner surface and an outer surface; an inner layer of material having an inner surface and an outer surface; and a liner positioned against the inner surface of the inner layer, whereby the device protects equipment when the device is in the equipment cover configuration, and the device protects a user from the elements when the device is in the sleeping apparatus configuration.

[0011] In another aspect of the above device, the liner can be detachably connected to the inner surface of the inner layer. In addition, the liner can be detachably connected to the inner surface of the inner layer by hook and loop fasteners. Alternatively, the liner can be permanently affixed to the inner surface of the inner layer.

[0012] In another aspect of the above device, the inner layer has an insulation layer having an inner surface and an outer surface for protecting the equipment when the device is in the equipment cover configuration and for protecting the user when the device is in the sleeping apparatus configuration. In one aspect, the liner can be detachably connected to the inner surface of the insulation layer. Alternatively, the liner can be permanently affixed to the inner surface of the insulation layer. In one arrangement, the outer surface of the insulation layer can be detachably connected to the inner surface of the inner layer. Moreover, the outer surface of the insulation layer can be permanently affixed to the inner surface of the inner layer.

[0013] In another arrangement of the above device, the outer surface of the inner layer can be detachably connected to the inner surface of the outer layer. In another aspect, the outer surface of the inner layer can be permanently affixed to the inner surface of the outer layer.

[0014] In another aspect of the above device, the device can have padding disposed between the outer layer and the inner layer. Moreover, the padding can be detachably connected to at least one of the inner surface of the outer layer and the outer surface of the inner layer. In another arrangement, the padding can be permanently affixed to at least one of the inner surface of the outer layer and the outer surface of the inner layer. Further, the padding can be closed cell foam. Alternatively, the padding can be inflatable foam padding.

[0015] In another arrangement of the above device, the device can have a first end, a second end and at least one cushioning structure, wherein the cushioning structure is proximate to at least one of the first and second ends. In another aspect, the cushioning structure can be detachably connected to the inner surface of the inner layer. Alternatively, the cushioning structure can be permanently affixed to the inner surface of the inner layer. Further, the cushioning structure can be closed cell foam. In addition, the cushioning structure can be inflatable foam padding.

[0016] In another arrangement of the above device, the outer surface of the outer layer can have one or more storage structures. In one aspect, the storage structures can be detachably connected to the outer surface of the outer layer. Alternatively, the storage structures can be permanently affixed to the outer surface of the outer layer. Additionally, at least one of the storage structures can be sized to contain a personal electronic device.

[0017] In another arrangement of the above device, the inner surface of the inner layer can have one or more storage structures. In one aspect, the storage structures can be detachably coupled to the inner surface of the inner layer. Alternatively, the storage structures can be permanently affixed to the inner surface of the inner layer. Additionally, at least one of the storage structures can be sized to contain a personal electronic device.

[0018] In another arrangement of the above device, the liner can have one or more storage structures. In one aspect, the storage structures can be detachably connected to the liner. Alternatively, the storage structures can be permanently attached to the liner. Additionally, at least one of the storage structures can be sized to contain a personal electronic device.

[0019] In another arrangement, the device can have a plurality of suspension structures, whereby the suspension structures can allow the device to be suspended above the ground. In one aspect, the suspension structures can be detachably connected to the device. Alternatively, the suspension structures can be permanently affixed to the device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020] There are presently shown in the drawings embodiments which are presently preferred, it being understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown.

[0021] FIG. 1 shows a device that can be used as an equipment cover or a sleeping apparatus in accordance with the inventive arrangements.

[0022] FIG. 2 shows a top view of the device of FIG. 1

[0023] FIG. 3 shows a cross-sectional view of the device of FIG. 2.

[0024] FIG. 4A shows the device of FIGS. 1 and 2 configured as a sleeping apparatus suspended above the ground in accordance with the inventive arrangements.

[0025] FIG. 4B shows a close-up view of a suspension structure used for suspending the device of FIG. 4A above the ground.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0026] The present invention relates to a device that can function as both an equipment cover and a sleeping apparatus. The device can protect equipment from being damaged during transportation, storage or other situations. In one arrangement, the device protects equipment such as surfboards, kayaks or skis; however, the present invention is not limited in this regard, as other types of equipment can be used with the invention. In addition, the device can also be used as a sleeping apparatus, such as a bag. In that regard, the device can incorporate an insulating layer. The device can also contain a liner to protect the interior of the device from being soiled by contaminants on the equipment.

[0027] FIGS. 1 and 2 illustrate a device 10 having an equipment cover configuration and a sleeping apparatus configuration in accordance with the present invention. The device 10 has a width 8 and can also include an outer layer 12 and an opening 16. In one arrangement, the outer layer 12 is constructed of two panels, a top panel 14A and a bottom panel 14B; however, the outer layer 12 can be constructed from a single panel. The top panel 14A can be connected to the bottom panel 14B by stitching or any other suitable structure capable of joining two pieces of fabric. The outer layer 12 is designed to offer protection from abrasion and abuse typically associated with the transportation of equipment. In one arrangement, the outer layer 12 is constructed of a high denier material such as cordura nylon; however, any material offering abrasion resistance can be used to form the outer layer 12. Alternatively, the outer layer 12 can be formed from a waterproof/breathable material such as Gore-Tex® to provide protection from rain, snow or other forms of precipitation.

[0028] The opening 16 allows equipment to be inserted into the device 10 and also provides access to a user who wishes to sleep in the device 10. In one arrangement, the diameter of the opening 16 can be approximately the same size as the width 8 of the device 10; however, the invention is not limited in this regard as the opening 16 can be any size sufficient to provide user access and to allow equipment to be inserted into the device 10. Additionally, the opening 16 can be located at any position on the device 10. In one arrangement, the opening 16 can be located on a seamline 18 separating the top panel 14A from the bottom panel 14B; however, the location of the opening 16 is not limited in this regard. The opening 16 can be any length but is preferably less than one-half of the perimeter of the device 10 as measured along the seamline 18. In one aspect, the opening 16 can cover between one-quarter and one-third of the perimeter of the device 10.

[0029] The opening 16 can also contain a closure structure 20. The closure structure 20 can be any structure, for example, a zipper, hook and loop fasteners, lacing or buttons, suitable for detachably joining two pieces of fabric. In one arrangement, the closure structure 20 can be a zipper constructed from a corrosion resistant material such as stainless steel or plastic.

[0030] The outer layer 12 can have external storage structures 22 preferably attached to the outer surface of the outer layer 12. Although FIGS. 1 and 2 show the outer layer 12 as having three of these storage structures, the outer layer 12 can contain any number of storage structures 22. In addition, the storage structures 22 can be attached to any part of the outer layer 12 and are not limited to the configuration as illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0031] The storage structures 22 can store additional gear associated with the equipment and also sharp or hard objects such as keys, which may damage the equipment. For example, if the device 10 is used to protect a surfboard, the storage structures 22 can be used to store surf wax, swimming trunks, keys or towels. The storage structures 22 can be pockets, sleeves, pouches or any other device suitable for storing gear associated with the equipment. Additionally, the storage structures 22 can be either detachable or permanently attached to the outer layer 12. The storage structures 22 can be detachably secured to the outer layer 12 using structure such as zippers, hook and loop fasteners or snaps. In addition, the storage structures 22 can be permanently affixed to the outer layer 12 by stitching or any other suitable structure capable of permanently securing the storage structures 22 to the outer layer 12. In one aspect, at least one of the storage structures 22 can be sized to contain a personal electronic device such as a portable radio, CD player or weather radio, which can receive important information such as severe weather warnings, tidal schedules or ocean temperatures.

[0032] To properly secure items, each of the storage structures 22 can contain a fastener 24. The fastener 24 can be any resealable structure, such as a zipper, hook and loop fasteners, lacing or buttons, suitable for allowing access to the interior of the storage structures 22. In one arrangement, the fastener 24 is a zipper. Similar to the closure structure 20, the fastener 24 is preferably constructed of corrosion resistant materials such as stainless steel or plastic.

[0033] For extra support, the device 10 can also include a securing structure 26 which can be looped around the device 10. This extra support can be especially helpful when the equipment and additional gear are relatively heavy. The securing structure 26 can be any structure or combination of structures permanently or detachably connected to the device 10 or to each other which provides extra support to the device 10. Although FIGS. 1 and 2 show only two securing structures 26, the device 10 can contain any number of securing structures 26. Examples of suitable securing structures are straps, belts, harnesses or slings. In one arrangement, the securing structure 26 is a strap constructed of nylon webbing or rope and can be permanently attached to the device 10.

[0034] To assist in carrying the device 10, a handle 28 can be connected to the securing structure 26. In one arrangement, each securing structure 26 can contain a clip 30 to which the handle 28 can be detachably connected. Alternatively, the handle 28 can be permanently affixed to the device 10. Similar to the securing strap 26, the handle 28 is preferably constructed of nylon webbing or rope. In addition, the clip 30 can be constructed of corrosion resistant material such as stainless steel or plastic.

[0035] The device 10 can also contain at least one cushioning structure 31, preferably located at the end(s) of the device 10. Each cushioning structure 31 is preferably located in the interior of the device 10. The cushioning structure 31 can be shaped so as to engage the ends of the equipment to prevent the equipment from shifting during storage and transportation. Additionally, the cushioning structure 31 can serve as a pillow for a user when the device 10 is used as a sleeping apparatus.

[0036] In one arrangement, the cushioning structure 31 can be detachably connected to an inner layer 36 (not pictured) contained in the device 10 by zippers, hook and loop fasteners or snaps. Alternatively, the cushioning structure 31 can be permanently affixed to the inner layer 36 by stitching or any other suitable structure.

[0037] The cushioning structure 31 can be made from any suitable cushioning material such as closed cell foam, goose down, wool or can be inflatable foam padding. In one arrangement, the cushioning structure 31 is inflatable foam padding. Under this arrangement, the cushioning structure 31 can be inflated manually or by a conventional air pump. Inflatable cushioning can allow a user to adjust the degree of restraint when the device 10 is used as a shipping bag and to set the desired amount of cushioning when the cushioning structure 31 is used as a pillow.

[0038] FIG. 3 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the device 10 with reference line 32 representing the midpoint of the device 10. In one arrangement, the device 10 can contain padding 34, which can be disposed between the outer layer 12 and the inner layer 36. The padding 34 can protect the equipment once the equipment is inserted into the device 10. Moreover, the padding 34 can provide an extra layer of comfort to the user when the device 10 is in a sleeping apparatus configuration. The padding 34 can be any material which can absorb impacts, shock or other potentially damaging events yet is appropriate for use as a sleeping pad. Examples of suitable materials are closed cell foam, inflatable foam padding, goose down or synthetic insulation materials. In the present invention, it is preferable to use closed cell foam as the padding 34.

[0039] The padding 34 can be detachably connected to the inner layer 36, the outer layer 12 or a combination thereof by zippers, hook and loop fasteners, snaps or any other suitable structure. Conversely, the padding 34 can be permanently affixed to the inner layer 36, the outer layer 12 or a combination thereof by stitching or any other suitable structure. If device 10 does not contain the padding 34, the inner layer 36 can be detachably connected or permanently affixed to the outer layer 12. Additionally, the inner layer 36 can protect the padding 34 from the wear and tear associated with the insertion and removal of equipment from the device 10.

[0040] Similar to the outer layer 12, the inner layer 36 can have storage structures 40 preferably attached to the inner surface of the inner layer 36. Although FIG. 3 shows the inner layer 36 as having two of these storage structures, the inner layer 36 can contain any number of storage structures 40. In addition, the storage structures 40 can be attached to any part of the inner layer 36 and are not limited to the configuration as illustrated in FIG. 3.

[0041] The storage structures 40 can be pockets, sleeves, pouches or any other device suitable for storing gear associated with the equipment. Additionally, the storage structures 40 can be either detachable or permanently attached to the inner layer 36. The storage structures 40 can be detachably secured to the inner layer 36 by structure such as zippers, hook and loop fasteners or snaps. In addition, the storage structures 40 can be permanently affixed to the inner layer 36 by stitching or any other suitable structure. In one aspect, at least one of the storage structures 40 can be sized to contain a personal electronic device such as a portable radio, CD player or weather radio.

[0042] To properly secure items, each of the storage structures 40 can contain a fastener 42. The fastener 42 can be any resealable structure, such as a zipper, hook and loop fasteners, lacing or buttons, suitable for allowing access to the interior of the storage structures 40. In one arrangement, the fastener 42 is a zipper. Similar to the fastener 24, the fastener 42 is preferably constructed of corrosion resistant materials such as stainless steel or plastic.

[0043] The inner layer 36 can have an insulation layer 38 thereby increasing the comfort level of the device 10 when used as a sleeping apparatus. The insulation layer 38 can be made from any type of insulating material, for example, polyester fleece, Polartec® or cotton but is preferably a synthetic material which maintains its insulation properties when wet.

[0044] In one arrangement, the insulation layer 38 can be detachably connected to the inner layer 36. Alternatively, the insulation layer 38 can be permanently affixed to the inner layer 36. In the detachable arrangement, a user can choose from a plurality of detachable insulation layers 38, each having a different thickness. Different thicknesses can provide different degrees of protection when the device 10 is used as a sleeping apparatus or an equipment cover. For example, in a cooler climate, a user may select a detachable insulation layer 38 which is thicker than a detachable insulation layer 38 normally used in a warmer climate. Further, a thicker insulation layer 38 can provide a greater degree of protection to the equipment stored in the device 10 when the device 10 is configured as an equipment cover.

[0045] In addition to serving as sleeping insulation, the insulation layer 38 can facilitate cleanup of the interior of the device 10 after use. Specifically, a user can remove the detachable insulation layer 38 and wash the insulation layer 38 in a washing machine rather than having to hand wash the entire device 10. Further, the insulation layer 38 is durable enough to withstand the rigors of repeated washings and can conveniently be dried in a conventional dryer.

[0046] The device 10 can also include a liner 44 which can be attached to the inner surface of the inner layer 36. In another arrangement, the device 10 can be attached to the inner surface of the insulation layer 38. The liner 44 can prevent contaminants such as dirt, grease or surfboard wax from staining the insulation layer 38 or, in the event the device does not contain any insulation material, the inner layer 36 of the device 10. In one arrangement, the liner 44 is constructed of nylon; however, the invention is not limited in this regard as the liner 44 can be constructed of any material that protects the insulation layer 38 or the inner layer 36 from contaminants on the equipment being stored or transported.

[0047] The liner 44 can be detachably connected to the insulation layer 38 or the inner layer 36 using any suitable attaching structure such as hook and loop fasteners, snaps or zippers. In one aspect of the invention, the liner 44 is attached to the inner layer 36 or the insulation layer 38 by hook and loop fasteners. In addition, the liner 44, similar to the detachable inner layer 36 arrangement, can be removed and machine washed and machine dried. Conversely, the liner 44 can be permanently affixed to the inner layer 36 or the insulation layer 38 by stitching or any other suitable structure.

[0048] The liner 44 can also have one or more storage structures 46. The storage structures 46 can be used to retain items in a fashion similar to that employed by the storage structures 22 and 42. In addition, the storage structures 46 can be detachably connected or permanently affixed to the liner 44. The storage structures 46 can be a pocket, sleeve or any other design suitable for retaining items. The storage structures 46 can permit a user to place softer items, such as additional clothing, into the interior area of the device 10. This embodiment advantageously provides both an additional storage space and an extra degree of padding for the equipment. The storage structure 46 can also have a closure structure 48 such as a zipper or snaps. In one arrangement, the storage structure 46 is a pocket, and the closure structure 48 is a zipper constructed of corrosion resistant material such as stainless steel or plastic.

[0049] Referring to FIG. 4A, the device 10 can also contain a plurality of suspension structures 50 for suspending the device 10 above the ground while a user is sleeping in the device 10. The suspension structures 50 can contain a number of components for supporting the device 10 and are preferably located at each end of the device 10. In one arrangement, the suspension structures 50 are symmetrically placed along the edge of the device 10 thereby providing equal distribution of the load placed on the device 10. It should be noted, however, that the invention is not so limited, as the suspension structures can be placed at any location on the device 10.

[0050] FIG. 4B is a close-up view of one arrangement of a suspension structure 50. In one aspect of the invention, a tubular structure 52 is permanently attached to the device 10. As an example, the tubular structure 52 can be attached to the device 10 by stitching or any other similar permanently securing structure. In addition, the tubular structure 52 can be made of any material of sufficient strength to support the weight of a user. In one arrangement, the tubular structure 52 is constructed of nylon. A circular structure 54 can be inserted through the tubular structure 52 to enable the remaining components of the suspension structure 50 to engage the device 10. The circular structure 54 can be made of any material suitable for providing support such as metal, plastic, fabric or composite.

[0051] The suspension structure 50 of FIG. 4B can also include a suspension line 58. The suspension line 58 can be detachably or permanently connected to the circular structure 54 via an attachment structure 56. The attachment structure 56 can be used to engage the circular structure 54 thereby coupling the suspension line 58 to the device 10. The attachment structure 56 can be a spring clip, gated clip, gated hook or any other structure that can be used to engage the circular structure 54. In one arrangement, the attachment structure 56 is detachable from the circular structure 54 to allow for simplified packing of the device 10. Alternatively, the attachment structure 56 can be permanently affixed to the circular structure 54.

[0052] Referring back to FIG. 4A, the suspension lines 58 can be secured to one or more annular structures 60. The annular structures 60 can be constructed of any suitable material of sufficient strength to support the device 10 and the user. In addition, one or more hanging lines 62 can be secured to each annular structure 60. The hanging lines 62 can be secured to a suitable base structure, such as a tree or a pole, to suspend the device 10 above the ground. Thus, in order to suspend the device 10, a user can (1) attach each attachment structure 56 to a corresponding circular structure 54, (2) secure each suspension line 58 to one or more annular structures 60 and (3) secure each hanging line 62 to a suitable base structure. In an alternative arrangement, the device 10 does not contain the annular structures 60 or the hanging lines 62. Under this arrangement, each of the suspension lines 58 can be directly secured to an appropriate base structure.

[0053] It should be understood that the examples and embodiments described herein are for illustrative purposes only and that various modifications or changes in light thereof will be obvious to persons skilled in the art and are to be included within the spirit and purview of this application. Moreover, the invention can take other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential attributes thereof.