Title:
Tree seat apparatus with a seat cushion having a sealed envelope therein
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable tree seat apparatus includes a frame, an attachment member for cooperating with the frame to attach the frame to a tree, and a seat cushion. The seat cushion is constructed in two or more layers in which one layer includes an air pillow having a hollow envelope with a gas sealed therein. Preferably, the air pillow includes at least two independently sealed chambers. An optional second layer of the seat cushion includes a flexible foam pad.



Inventors:
Robert II, Eastman E. (Flint, MI, US)
Application Number:
10/091434
Publication Date:
09/11/2003
Filing Date:
03/06/2002
Assignee:
EASTMAN ROBERT E.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A01M31/02; (IPC1-7): A01M31/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
THOMPSON, HUGH B
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARRIER BLACKMAN AND ASSOCIATES PC (NOVI, MI, US)
Claims:

Having, thus, described the invention, what is claimed is:



1. A tree seat/tree stand apparatus, comprising: a frame, an attachment member for attaching the frame to a tree, and a seat cushion comprising a hollow envelope with a gas sealed therein.

2. The tree seat apparatus of claim 1, wherein the seat cushion includes at least two adjacent chambers, and wherein each of the chambers is independently sealed.

3. The tree seat apparatus of claim 1, wherein the hollow cushion has a flexible foam therein.

4. The tree seat apparatus of claim 1, wherein the seat cushion further comprises a layer of foam material below the hollow envelope.

5. The tree seat apparatus of claim 1, wherein the seat cushion further comprises a layer of foam material above the hollow envelope.

6. A tree seat apparatus, comprising: a frame, comprising: at least one connector bar for substantially vertical placement against a tree trunk; a foot rest operatively attached to the connector bar; and a seat support member operatively attached to the connector bar and spaced away from the foot rest; an attachment member which is operatively connectable to the frame for removably attaching the frame to a tree; and a seat cushion comprising: a sealed envelope containing an entrapped gas; a reinforcing member below the sealed envelope; and a protective outer layer covering the sealed envelope and the reinforcing member.

7. The tree seat apparatus of claim 6, wherein the seat outer layer comprises a fabric material.

8. The tree seat apparatus of claim 6, wherein the seat further comprises a layer of flexible, resilient foam above the sealed envelope.

9. The tree seat apparatus of claim 6, wherein the attachment member comprises at least one restraining device selected from the group consisting of belts, cables and chains.

10. The tree seat apparatus of claim 6, wherein the sealed envelope comprises at least two separate chambers.

11. The tree seat apparatus of claim 6, wherein the sealed envelope has a flexible resilient foam material therein.

12. A tree seat apparatus, comprising a frame, an attachment member which is operatively connectable to the frame for removably attaching the frame to a tree, and a seat cushion comprising: a sealed envelope containing an entrapped gas; a layer of flexible, resilient foam above the sealed envelope; and a protective outer layer covering the sealed envelope and the flexible foam layer.

13. The tree seat apparatus of claim 12, wherein the seat cushion outer layer comprises a fabric material.

14. The tree seat apparatus of claim 12, wherein the seat cushion outer layer comprises a water-resistant liner.

15. The tree seat apparatus of claim 12, wherein the attachment member comprises at least one restraining device selected from the group consisting of belts, cables and chains.

16. The tree seat of claim 12, wherein the sealed envelope comprises at least two separate chambers.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to tree seats, many of which are classified in class 182, subclass 187. More particularly, the present invention relates to a tree seat apparatus having a seat cushion which includes an envelope with a gas sealed therein.

[0003] 2. Description of the Background Art

[0004] A number of different tree seats and tree stands are known, and are commercially available. Examples of some of the known tree seats and tree stands include U.S. Pat. No. 4,782,918 to Brunner et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,009,283 to Prejean, U.S. Pat. No. 5,103,935 to Amacker, U.S. Pat. No. 5,167,298 to Porter, U.S. Pat. No. 5,226,505 to Woller, U.S. Pat. No. 5,234,076 to Louk et al, U.S. Pat. No. 5,937,969 to Woller, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,979,603 to Woller.

[0005] A tree seat having an inflatable seat cushion with a manual valve for inflation and deflation thereof is sold by the Deer Shack Company of Belgium, Wis. under the trademark “BUNSAVER”, and this product is advertised at www.deershack.com. However, since this product is not factory sealed, but instead, has a built-in valve to allow for inflation and deflation of the cushion by a user, it is possible that the valve could accidentally pop open during use, which could be inconvenient and uncomfortable for a user thereof.

[0006] Although the known tree seats are useful for their intended purposes, a need still exists in the art for an improved tree seat apparatus which provides a comfortable seating cushion for a hunter. In particular, there is a need for an improved tree seat apparatus which incorporates a substantially hollow chamber having a gas sealed permanently therein, to minimize the possibility that it will unintentionally deflate.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] The present invention provides a portable tree seat apparatus for use by hunters and naturalists.

[0008] A portable tree seat apparatus according to the invention, generally, includes a frame, an attachment member for cooperating with the frame to attach the tree seat apparatus to a tree, and a seat cushion which is operatively attached to an upper portion of the frame.

[0009] In a first embodiment of the invention, the frame includes at least one connector bar for substantially vertical placement against a tree trunk. The frame also includes a foot rest operatively attached to the connector bar, and a seat support, which is operatively attached to the connector bar and spaced away from the foot rest.

[0010] The attachment member may include a substantially V-shaped bar for cooperatively engaging the frame to surround a tree trunk, or alternatively, may include a belt which may be tightened around a tree trunk.

[0011] The internal structure of the seat cushion is an important aspect of the tree seat apparatus. The seat cushion includes an air pillow including at least one sealed envelope containing an entrapped gas. Optionally, the sealed envelope may have a flexibly resilient foam material disposed therein, with an inert gas interspersed through and around the foam material. The air pillow is preferred to include at least two separate chambers which are independent of one another.

[0012] The seat cushion may further include a reinforcing member below the air pillow; and a protective outer layer covering the air pillow and the reinforcing member. A flexibly resilient foam pad may be provided above the air pillow, and within the protective outer layer.

[0013] Where used, the seat cushion outer layer is preferred to include a fabric material, and may also be provided with an optional water-resistant liner.

[0014] Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a tree seat apparatus including a seat cushion having a permanently sealed envelope, in which the envelope contains a gas.

[0015] It is another object of the invention to provide a tree seat apparatus of the type described, wherein the sealed envelope includes at least two separate and independent chambers.

[0016] For a more complete understanding of the present invention, the reader is referred to the following detailed description section, which should be read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. Throughout the following detailed description and in the drawings, like numbers refer to like parts.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tree seat apparatus according to a first embodiment of the present invention, attached to a tree trunk;

[0018] FIG. 2 is a perspective view, partially cut away, of a seat cushion which is a component of the tree seat apparatus of FIG. 1;

[0019] FIG. 3A is a cross-section of a first embodiment of the cushion of FIG. 2;

[0020] FIG. 3B is a cross-section of a second embodiment of the cushion of FIG. 2; and

[0021] FIG. 4 is a cross-section of a third embodiment of the cushion of FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Overview

[0022] Referring now to FIG. 1, a tree seat apparatus according to a first embodiment of the invention is shown generally at 20, attached to a tree trunk 10.

[0023] The portable tree seat apparatus 20 includes a frame 22, an attachment member 40 for cooperating with the frame 22 to attach the tree seat apparatus 10 to a tree, and a seat cushion 50, which is operatively attached to the frame. Each of the components of the apparatus will be described in further detail herein.

[0024] Throughout the present specification, relative positional terms like ‘upper’, ‘lower’, ‘top’, ‘bottom’, ‘horizontal’, ‘vertical’, and the like are used to refer to the orientation of the apparatus as shown in the drawings. These terms are used in an illustrative sense to describe the depicted embodiments, and are not meant to be limitative. It will be understood that the depicted apparatus may be placed at an orientation different from that shown in the drawings, such as inverted 180 degrees or transverse to that shown, and in such a case, the above-identified relative positional terms will no longer be accurate.

The Frame

[0025] As noted, a tree seat apparatus according to the invention includes a frame. In a first embodiment of the tree seat apparatus 20, and as illustrated in FIG. 1, the frame 22 includes at least one connector bar, such as that shown at 23, for substantially vertical placement against a tree trunk 10. It is preferred that the frame 22 include two spaced apart connector bars 23, 24 as shown. The connector bars 23, 24 may be interconnected by a crossbar 25, as shown, or by multiple crossbars, as desired. Alternatively, a flat plate (not shown) could be used to interconnect the two connector bars 23, 24.

[0026] The frame 22 also includes a foot rest 26 operatively attached to the connector bar 23, proximate the lower end thereof. The foot rest 26 is preferred to be pivotally attached to the bottom end of the connector bar 23, so as to be foldably movable with respect thereto. The foot rest 26 may be a solid or perforate member.

[0027] In the depicted embodiment, the foot rest 26 includes a support rack 27 and a screen 28 attached to the top surface of the support rack. Other configurations could be used for the foot rest, such as a solid or perforated flat metal or plastic plate.

[0028] One or more chains or flexible suspension cables, such as the cable shown at 29, may, optionally, be provided to interconnect the foot rest 26 and the connector bar(s) 23, 24.

[0029] The frame 22 further includes a seat support 30. The seat support 30 is operatively attached to the top section of the connector bars 23, 25 and is spaced away from the foot rest 26. The seat support 30 is formed from strong, rigid materials such as metal, composites, high-strength plastics, or a combination of these. The seat support 30 may have a construction similar to that of the foot rest 26, as previously described.

[0030] Optionally, the seat support 30 may also be pivotally and adjustably attached to the connector bars 23, 25 to make the apparatus foldable when not in use. However, where so attached, it is important to include some means for fixing the position of the seat support in a substantially horizontal orientation, so that it will safely support the full weight of a user thereon, for an extended time period.

The Attachment Member

[0031] The attachment member 40 is provided to cooperate with the frame 22, to temporarily and removably attach the tree seat apparatus 20 to a tree 10. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the attachment member 40 is provided in the form of an adjustable strap 42. Where used, this strap 42 is formed from a high-strength woven fabric material, and includes conventional hardware such as a buckle and attachment connectors. The attachment member 40 could also be provided as a chain or cable (not shown).

[0032] Alternatively, the attachment member 40 may be provided in the form of a substantially V-shaped or U-shaped metal tube or rod for interlocking attachment to the frame, substantially similar to that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,979,603. The disclosure of U.S. Pat. No. 5,979,603 is incorporated by reference herein.

The Seat Cushion

[0033] The seat cushion 50 is provided to make the tree seat apparatus 20 more comfortable for a user during prolonged periods of use. The seat cushion 50 is attached to the seat support 30 by any appropriate known method, such as sewing, removable straps, etc. In the embodiment of the seat cushion 50 depicted in FIGS. 2-3, the seat cushion 50 includes an air pillow 52, a reinforcing member 54 below the air pillow, a foam pad 58 above the air pillow, and a protective outer cover 60.

[0034] The seat cushion 50 according to the invention includes a hollow air pillow 52 having a gas sealed therein. The gas in the air pillow 52 may be air, or may be another substantially inert gas such as argon, nitrogen, or the like, or a mixture of any of the above gases.

[0035] In the embodiment of FIGS. 1-3, the air pillow 52 includes at least two separate and independent sealed envelopes 51, 53, each containing an entrapped gas therein. The envelopes 51, 53 are each preferably formed of a strong, flexible plastic or elastomeric material, and should be of suitable wall thickness so as to remain sealed over a period of years in normal usage. In the practice of the present invention, the envelopes 51, 53 do not contain any valves to add or remove gas from the interior thereof. Preferably, the envelope wall thickness is in a range from 0.5-2 mm.

[0036] Each of the envelopes 51, 53 defines a respective hollow chamber 56, 57 therein. In the embodiment of FIG. 3A, each of the respective chambers 56, 57 contains only a substantially inert gas, at a pressure which is close to atmospheric pressure. The air pillow 52 is preferred to include at least two separate chambers, which are independent of one another.

[0037] Optionally, and as shown at 150 in FIG. 3B, the sealed envelopes 51, 53 may have a flexibly resilient foam material 55 disposed therein, along with with a substantially inert gas interspersed around and through the foam material.

[0038] Preferably but not necessarily, the seat cushion 50 includes a flexibly resilient foam pad 58 disposed above the air pillow 52 to provide further support for a user thereof. Where used, the foam pad 58 may be formed of foam rubber or elastomeric materials known in the seating art.

[0039] The seat cushion 52 may also include a relatively rigid reinforcing member 54 below the air pillow 52 to provide reinforcement and structural support. Where used, the reinforcing member 54 may be made of solid plastic, wood, a rigid plastic foam, or other solid material.

[0040] The seat cushion 52 may further include a protective outer layer 60 covering the air pillow 52, the reinforcing member 54, and the foam pad 58, where used. The outer layer 60 may be a plastic sleeve, or may be made of a durable fabric material. Optionally, the outer layer 60 may be provided with a water-resistant liner.

[0041] Referring now to FIG. 4, another embodiment of the seat cushion is shown in cross-section at 158. This seat cushion 158 is a modified version of the seat cushion 150 shown in FIG. 3. In the embodiment of FIG. 4, unless specifically described as different, the respective components of the seat cushion are the same as those described in connection with FIG. 3A, as previously discussed.

[0042] In the embodiment of FIG. 4, the seat cushion includes a centrally located air pillow 152 between the reinforcement member 54 and the foam pad 58. The air pillow 152, in this embodiment, is primarily made up of a single hollow, sealed envelope with a central membrane 155 dividing the interior thereof into at least two separate chambers 156, 157, which are not in fluid communication with one another. Each of the chambers 156, 157 has a substantially inert gas therein. The chambers 156, 157 may contain only the inert gas, or alternatively, may also contain a flexible, resilient foamed elastomer therein, like the embodiment of FIG. 3B.

[0043] Although the present invention has been described herein with respect to a preferred embodiment thereof, the foregoing description is intended to be illustrative, and not restrictive. Those skilled in the art will realize that many modifications of the preferred embodiment could be made which would be operable. All such modifications which are within the scope of the claims are intended to be within the scope and spirit of the present invention.