Title:
Foldable bed tent
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention features a foldable or collapsible bet tent that may be cyclically repositioned from a fully assembled, set-up position to an upright, stored position, while capable of being attached to the bed at all times.



Inventors:
Pratt, Michael James (Draper, UT, US)
Collette, Brandon Brent (Draper, UT, US)
Schulte, Mark Edwin (Manchester, MI, US)
Richardson, Benjamin Todd (Vancouver, WA, US)
Application Number:
10/266290
Publication Date:
04/08/2004
Filing Date:
10/08/2002
Assignee:
PRATT MICHAEL JAMES
COLLETTE BRANDON BRENT
SCHULTE MARK EDWIN
RICHARDSON BENJAMIN TODD
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H15/32; E04H15/48; (IPC1-7): E04H15/48
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YIP, WINNIE S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KIRTON MCCONKIE (SALT LAKE CITY, UT, US)
Claims:

What is claimed and desired to be secured by Letters Patent is:



1. A foldable bed tent comprising: a collapsible frame assembly fittable over a mattress of a bed, said frame assembly comprising at least one hinged pole receiver, at least one biased hinged pole receiver, and a plurality of support poles connecting said hinged pole receivers; a canopy removably coupled to said collapsible frame assembly, said frame assembly and said canopy forming an enclosed volume of space and tent structure over said bed; and a mattress shoe coupled to said frame assembly, said mattress shoe receiving one of an end portion and a side portion of said mattress therein to secure said bed tent to said mattress, said bed tent comprising a folded configuration, when not in use, and an extended position, said folded configuration comprising an upright, stored position vertically disposed above said mattress shoe on said end portion of said mattress, thereby allowing a user to make use of said bed in a normal manner while said frame assembly and canopy remain attached thereto, and an extended configuration wherein the tent forms said enclosed volume of space.

2. The bed tent of claim 1, further comprising securing means for securing said canopy to said frame.

3. The bed tent of claim 2, wherein said securing means comprises a plurality of sleeves attached to said canopy and capable of accepting said support poles.

4. The bed tent of claim 1, further comprising a front end stabilizer bar to provide lateral base support to said bed tent.

5. The bed tent of claim 1, wherein said mattress shoe comprises a plate portion fittable on the underside of said mattress, a vertical wall support extending substantially perpendicular from an edge of said plate portion and being juxtaposed to a vertical wall of said mattress, and first and second side wall supports being juxtaposed to respective side walls of said mattress.

6. The bed tent of claim 1, wherein said canopy forming a volume of space and a tent enclosure comprises an open bottom.

7. The bed tent of claim 1, further comprising securing means to assist in securing said bed tent to said mattress, said securing means coupled to a first section of said bed tent, and extending from said fist section end under said mattress, and coupling to, an opposing section of said bed tent.

8. The bed tent of claim 1, wherein said canopy is made from materials selected from the group consisting of canvas, polymeric materials, synthetics, waterproof fabric, and other common tent canopy materials.

9. The bed tent of claim 1, further comprising a handle for facilitating the folding and unfolding of said bed tent against itself from said fully assembled, set-up position to said upright, stored position adjacent said bed.

10. The bed tent of claim 1, wherein said bed tent folds sideways to enable a side folded stored position.

11. The bed tent of claim 1, wherein said bed tent folds towards an end to enable an end folded stored position.

12. A foldable bed tent comprising: a canopy removably coupled to a collapsible frame assembly having a plurality of inter-connected pole structures, said frame assembly and canopy forming a volume of space and tent enclosure; a mattress shoe coupling said frame assembly to a mattress of a bed; a front planar portion defined by a front wall of said frame assembly and said canopy; a rear planar portion defined by a rear wall of said frame assembly and said canopy, said rear wall supported by said mattress shoe; a top planar portion defined by a top roof section of said frame assembly and said canopy; first and second side plane portions defined by first and second walls of said frame assembly and said canopy; means for folding said front planar portion against said top planar portion, such that said front and top planar portions are folded substantially parallel to and are juxtaposed to each other; and means for folding said bed tent towards an end of said bed, said folded front and top planar portions against said rear planar portion, such that said front, top, and rear planar portions are each folded substantially parallel to and juxtaposed to each other in an upright position substantially above said mattress shoe and adjacent said bed.

13. The foldable bed tent of claim 12, wherein said means for folding said front planar portion against said top planar portion comprises at least one biased hinged pole receiver.

14. The foldable bed tent of claim 12, wherein said means for folding said folded coplanar front and top planar portions against said rear planar portion comprises at least one hinged pole receiver.

15. A method for repositioning a bed tent from an erect, set-up position, to a stored position, said method comprising the steps of: coupling and securing said bed tent to a bed, said bed tent comprising: a collapsible frame assembly fittable over a mattress of a bed, said frame assembly comprising at least one hinged pole receiver, and a plurality of interconnected support poles; a canopy removably coupled to said collapsible frame assembly, said frame assembly and said canopy forming an enclosed volume of space and tent structure over said bed; a mattress shoe coupled to said frame assembly, said support poles connecting said hinged pole receiver(s) and said mattress shoe, said mattress shoe capable of receiving a section of said mattress therein to secure said bed tent to said mattress; at least two planar sections defined by said bed frame having opposing sections existing on either side of said hinged pole receiver; positioning said bed frame in a fully assembled, set-up position; and repositioning said bed frame from said fully assembled, set-up position to an upright, stored position located at an end section of said bed by folding said planar sections of said bed frame towards said end, said bed frame remaining coupled to said mattress.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising the step of repositioning said bed frame from said upright, stored position to said fully assembled, set-up position.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein said method steps are repeated as often as desired to reposition said bed frame back and forth between said assembled, fully set-up position to said upright, stored position.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein said hinged pole receiver is a biased hinged pole receiver, capable of facilitating the repositioning of said bed frame from a fully assembled, set-up position to an upright, stored position.

19. A foldable bed tent comprising: a canopy removably coupled to a collapsible frame assembly having a plurality of inter-connected pole structures, said frame assembly and canopy forming a volume of space and tent enclosure; a mattress shoe coupling said frame assembly to a mattress of a bed; a front planar portion defined by a front wall of said frame assembly and said canopy; a rear planar portion defined by a rear wall of said frame assembly and said canopy, said rear wall supported by said mattress shoe; a top planar portion defined by a top roof section of said frame assembly and said canopy; first and second side plane portions defined by first and second walls of said frame assembly and said canopy; and means for folding said bed tent sideways towards a side of said bed, said first side plane portion folded against said second side planar portion, such that said first and second side planar portions are folded substantially parallel to and are juxtaposed to each other, said first side planar portion, said top planar portion, and said second side planar portion each collapsed upon one another such that said bed tent is in a stored position along a side of said bed.

20. The foldable bed tent of claim 19, wherein said means for folding comprises first and second adjustable union members positioned along and coupling said first and second lateral support poles.

21. The foldable bed tent of claim 19, wherein said means for folding comprises pivoting vertical pole extensions that support a first side of said bed tent, said pivoting vertical pole extensions formed within said frame assembly.

22. A method for repositioning a bed tent from an erect, set-up position, to a stored position, said method comprising the steps of: coupling and securing said bed tent to a bed, said bed tent comprising: a collapsible frame assembly fittable over a mattress of a bed, said frame assembly comprising at least one hinged pole receiver, and a plurality of interconnected support poles; a canopy removably coupled to said collapsible frame assembly, said frame assembly and said canopy forming an enclosed volume of space and tent structure over said bed; a mattress shoe coupled to said frame assembly, said support poles connecting said hinged pole receiver(s) and said mattress shoe, said mattress shoe capable of receiving a section of said mattress therein to secure said bed tent to said mattress; at least two planar sections defined by said bed frame having opposing sections existing on either side of said hinged pole receiver; positioning said bed frame in a fully assembled, set-up position; and transitioning said bed frame from said fully assembled, set-up position to an upright, stored position along a side of said bed by folding said planar sections of said bed frame sideways towards said side, said bed frame remaining coupled to said mattress.

23. The method of claim 22, further comprising the step of repositioning said bed frame from said upright, stored position to said fully assembled, set-up position.

24. A foldable bed tent comprising: a canopy removably coupled to a collapsible frame assembly, said frame assembly having a built-in memory system with one or more memory states, said frame assembly and canopy forming a volume of space and tent enclosure; a mattress shoe coupled to said frame assembly, said mattress shoe engaging a section and portion of a bed; and means for folding and collapsing said frame assembly of said bed tent by manipulating said frame assembly through said one or more said memory states.

Description:

BACKGROUND

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates to tents and tent structures and assemblies, and more particularly, to a bed tent and bed tent assembly capable of being set up on an existing bed structure with minimal interference with the bed, as well as being capable of folding out of the way, while still attached to the bed, when not in use.

[0003] 2. Background of the Invention

[0004] Portable tents are well known, and can be used for many different purposes. Tents generally comprise one or more walls adapted to be erected in some fashion so as to create an enclosure for the user. Tents adapted for use outdoors generally comprise a floor or bottom portion adapted to maintain cleanliness inside the tent and to protect the user from the dampness of the underlying earth. Such tents are typically anchored to the earth by means of pins or spikes, and are supported by a network of interconnected poles, rods or braces. Once the user has erected such a tent at the intended use site, cots and/or mattresses are thereafter placed inside the tent for use in sleeping. Although waterproofed canvas has been a frequently used material of construction in years past, a variety of synthetic fibers and reinforced polymeric materials have more recently been used for making the canopies of such tents.

[0005] Tents primarily intended for indoor use, particularly bed tents, are also well known. Such tents are especially popular for use as children's toys and may or may not incorporate a floor or bottom portion, but may instead comprise an open bottom. Because tents intended for indoor use cannot generally be anchored to the flooring which supports them, such tents typically comprise a network of frame members that define the perimeter of the tent base in addition to the frame members that are employed to maintain the upper portion of the tent in an upright position.

[0006] Moreover, as these bed tents are primarily used when sleeping, when it comes time to take down the tent from the bed this often involves the task disassembling the tent by removing the poles from the canopy and packaging the components of the bed tent into a storable form because none of them provide means for storing the tent in an easy manner, especially while still attached to the bed. Thus, each time the bed tent is desired for use, it must be assembled, used, and disassembled or taken down each time. Such a process is very tedious and time consuming and can often be quite frustrating, especially when done within a daily routine.

[0007] Therefore, what is needed is a simple and efficient bed tent that solves the problem of tedious and frustrating set-up and takedown procedures, yet is still durable and aesthetically pleasing to serve the primary functions of, and provide the pleasures associated with bed tents.

SUMMARY AND OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention seeks to provide a unique and novel bed tent that solves the many deficiencies associated with prior art bed tents.

[0009] Therefore, it is an object of some embodiments of the present invention to provide a more efficient and usable bed tent capable of going from a fully set-up and assembled position to a stored position with minimal effort.

[0010] It is another object of some embodiments of the present invention to provide a bed tent that remains attached to the bed, and particularly the mattress, when being stored, thus allowing the bed to be used in a normal manner even when the bed tent is attached thereto.

[0011] It is still another object of some embodiments of the present invention to provide a bed tent with a unique and novel integral frame assembly for supporting the bed tent and facilitating the foldability of the bed tent.

[0012] In accordance with the invention as embodied and broadly described herein, the present invention features a foldable bed tent comprising: (a) a collapsible frame assembly fittable over a mattress of a bed, wherein the frame assembly comprises at least one hinged pole receiver, at least one biased hinged pole receiver, and a plurality of support poles connecting the hinged pole receivers; (b) a canopy removably coupled to the collapsible frame assembly, wherein the frame assembly and the canopy form an enclosed volume of space and tent structure over the bed; (c) a mattress shoe coupled to the frame assembly, the mattress shoe capable of receiving an end portion of the mattress therein to secure the bed tent to the mattress. The bed tent is capable of being folded upon itself, when not in use, into an upright, stored position adjacent to the bed and still attached or coupled to the bed. The bed tent is also capable of unfolding from its upright, stored position to a fully assembled, set-up position atop the mattress. Orientations and directions of folding and unfolding are provided, namely folding in the direction towards one of the ends of the bed, such as the head of the bed (e.g., towards a wall or head board), folding towards either one of the sides of the bed, and folding towards the foot of the bed.

[0013] The present invention bed tent also comprises a front planar portion defined by a front wall of the frame assembly and the canopy; a rear planar portion defined by a rear wall of the frame assembly and the canopy, wherein the rear wall is supported by the mattress shoe; a top planar portion defined by a top roof section of the frame assembly and the canopy; first and second side plane portions defined by first and second walls of the frame assembly and the canopy; means for folding the front planar portion against the top planar portion, such that the front and top planar portions are folded substantially parallel to and are juxtaposed to each other; and means for folding the folded front and top planar portions against the rear planar portion, such that the front, top, and rear planar portions are each folded substantially parallel to and juxtaposed to each other in an upright position substantially above the mattress shoe and adjacent the bed.

[0014] In a preferred embodiment, means for folding comprises either a biased or unbiased hinged pole receiver that allows the planar portions to pivot and to fold onto each other as contemplated herein, in either a side folding manner or an end folding manner.

[0015] Finally, the present invention features a method for repositioning a bed tent from an erect, set-up position, to a stored position. The method comprises the steps of: (a) coupling and securing the bed tent to a bed, the bed tent itself comprising the features described below, namely, a collapsible frame assembly fittable over a mattress of a bed, wherein the frame assembly comprises at least one hinged pole receiver, and a plurality of interconnected support poles; a canopy removably coupled to the collapsible frame assembly, wherein the frame assembly and the canopy serve to form an enclosed volume of space and tent structure over the bed; a mattress shoe coupled to the frame assembly, wherein the support poles serve to connect the hinged pole receiver(s) and the mattress shoe, the mattress shoe capable of receiving an end portion or side portion of the mattress therein to secure the bed tent to the mattress; and at least two planar sections defined by the bed frame having opposing sections existing on either side of the hinged pole receiver. The method further comprises the steps of (b) positioning the bed frame in a fully assembled, set-up position; and (c) repositioning the bed frame from the fully assembled, set-up position to an upright, stored position by folding the planar sections of the bed frame, wherein the bed frame remains coupled to the mattress in this position. The user may switch back and forth between these positions as often as desired.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0016] The foregoing and other objects and features of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are, therefore, not to be considered limiting of its scope, the invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:

[0017] FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of the bed tent in a fully assembled and setup configuration;

[0018] FIG. 2 illustrates a side view of the bed tent in a of the bed tent in a fully assembled and set-up configuration;

[0019] FIG. 3 illustrates a rear view of the bed tent in a fully assembled and set-up configuration;

[0020] FIG. 4 illustrates a detailed view of the stabilizer bar and securing means, according to a preferred embodiment of the bed tent of the present invention;

[0021] FIG. 5 illustrates a detailed view of one hinged pole receiver according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0022] FIG. 6 illustrates the bed tent of the present invention in an interim position as it is being folded from a fully assembled, and set-up position to an upright, stored position;

[0023] FIG. 7 illustrates the bed tent of the present invention in its upright, stored position as it is adjacent and still coupled to the bed;

[0024] FIG. 8 illustrates a side or longitudinal folding arrangement, wherein the bed tent of the present invention folds towards the side of the bed, rather than towards an end of the bed, and wherein the mattress shoe may be either coupled to a side section of the bed or along an end section; and

[0025] FIG. 9 illustrates a top view of a memory-type frame assembly and tent structure coupled to a mattress shoe capable of engaging a section of a bed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0026] It will be readily understood that the components of the present invention, as generally described and illustrated in the figures herein, could be arranged and designed in a wide variety of different configurations. Thus, the following more detailed description of the embodiments of the system and method of the present invention, and represented in FIGS. 1 through 9, is not intended to limit the scope of the invention, as claimed, but is merely representative of the presently preferred embodiments of the invention.

[0027] The presently preferred embodiments of the invention will be best understood by reference to the drawings wherein like parts are designated by like numerals throughout.

[0028] The present invention describes a new and novel bed tent and method of storing the bed tent after use.

[0029] With reference to FIGS. 1 and 2, bed tent 10 is a folding/collapsible and storable bed tent, that is capable of going from an assembled, fully set-up position to a stored position, wherein bed tent 10 remains attached to the bed or mattress 8, if desired. Essentially, bed tent 10 comprises a foldable frame assembly 14 and a canopy 18, which is supported by frame assembly 14, the two defining an enclosed volume of space or tent enclosure. Bed tent 10 also comprises a mattress shoe 22 that is coupled to frame assembly 14, and that is capable of receiving either an end portion, a side portion, or any other portion or combined portion of mattress 8. It should be noted that canopy 18 is removably coupled to frame assembly 14, which is itself collapsible, thus allowing canopy 18 to collapse as well.

[0030] Specifically, bed tent 10, and particularly collapsible frame assembly 14, comprises means for folding a front planer portion 114 against a top planer portion 130 of bed frame 10, such that front and top planer portions 114 and 130 are folded substantially parallel to and are juxtaposed to each other. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, means for folding front planer portion 114 against top planer portion 130 comprises a first biased hinged pole receiver 38 and a second biased hinged pole receiver 42 that is complimentary to and opposite first biased hinged pole receiver 38. First and second biased hinged pole receivers 38 and 42, respectively, are connected by a support pole 66 and are used to support an upper portion of bed tent 10. Bed tent 10 further comprises means for folding front and top planer portions 114 and 130, after these two have individually been folded against each other, against a rear planer portion 118 of bed tent 10, such that front, rear, and top planer portions 114, 130, and 118, respectively, are each folded substantially parallel to and are juxtaposed to each other in an upright position, this position being the stored position of bed tent 10. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, means for folding front and top planer portions 114 and 130 against rear planer portion 118 comprises a first hinged pole receiver 30 and a second hinged pole receiver 34 that are opposite each other and connected using a first lateral support pole 62, as shown in detail in FIG. 5. Means for folding front planer portion 114 against top planer portion 130 and means for folding front and top planer portions 114 and 130 against rear planer portion 118, particularly corresponding to first and second biased hinged pole receivers 38 and 42, respectively, and first and second hinged pole receivers 30 and 34, respectively, define top planer portion 130 of bed tent 10 mentioned above. Each of hinged pole receivers 30, 34, 38, and 42 are similar in shape and construction, except for biasing means 44 existing in hinged pole receivers 38 and 42. Biasing means 44 may be any biasing means commonly known in the art, but is preferably a simple spring or spring-like device causing first and second biased hinged pole receivers 38 and 42, and particularly the lateral pole extensions, to bias inward into a closed or collapsed position.

[0031] Each of hinged pole receivers 30, 34, 38, and 42 comprise a lateral pole extension 46, a longitudinal pole extension 50, and a vertical pole extension 54 (see also FIG. 5). Each of these pole extensions 46, 50, and 54 comprise an aperture 58 capable of removably receiving or coupling a corresponding support pole therein. In addition, depending upon the position of hinged pole receivers 30, 34, 38, and 42—these are preferably placed at each corner of top planer portion 130 or roof of bed tent 10 as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2—either lateral pole extension 46 or longitudinal pole extension 50 will be made to rotate with respect to vertical pole extension 54, about pivot point 180. For example, first and second biased hinged pole receivers 38 and 42 are each placed at the respective corners where top planer portion 130 meets, joins, or intersects with front planer portion 114 of bed tent 10. In this position, each of first and second biased hinged pole receivers 38 and 42 comprise a longitudinal pole extension 50, which pivots or rotates about pivot point 180 with respect to a vertical pole extension 54. Moreover, as first and second biased hinged pole receivers 38 and 42 comprise biasing means 44, this allows front planer portion 114 to rotate upwards towards top planer portion 130, such that front planer and top planer portions 114 and 130 are substantially parallel with each other and juxtaposed one with another. Furthermore, first and second hinged pole receivers 30 and 34 allow front and top planer portions 114 and 130 to fold down against rear planer portion 118, such that each of top, front, and rear planer portions 130, 114, and 118, are substantially parallel with each other and juxtaposed to one another in a substantially upright and vertical position.

[0032] Frame assembly 14 further comprises a plurality of support poles serving to provide lateral longitudinal and vertical support to bed tent 10, and particularly canopy 18. These support poles are removably coupled to the hinged pole supports, as well as to the mattress shoe, and the front stabilizer. Specifically, a first lateral support pole 62 connects the lateral pole receiving extensions 46 on each of first and second hinged pole receivers 30 and 34 by being inserted into apertures 58 existing within lateral pole extension 46. Second, lateral support pole 66 couples each of the lateral pole extensions 46 existing on first and second biased hinged pole receivers 38 and 42. In a like manner, frame assembly 14 further comprises first longitudinal support pole 70, which couples together first hinged pole receiver 30 and first biased hinged pole receiver 38 via longitudinal pole extensions 50 existing on each of first hinged pole receiver 30 and first biased hinged pole receiver 38. Second longitudinal support pole 74 is used to connect second hinged pole receiver 34 to second biased hinged pole receiver 42 in a similar manner.

[0033] As stated, each of hinged pole receivers 30, 34, 38, and 42 comprise a vertical pole extension 54 extending there from, which is capable of receiving first and second front vertical support poles 78 and 82, and first and second rear vertical support poles 86 and 90, respectively. First and second front vertical support poles 78 and 82 and first and second rear vertical support poles 86 and 90 give vertical support to bed tent 10 as well as to define a height of bed tent 10.

[0034] Each of the support poles as described herein used to give structure and support to bed tent 10 may be any type of support pole as commonly known in the art. Preferably, the support poles are flexible poles and are made of fiberglass, graphite, or various composites thereof, which are typically known in the art. In addition, the support poles are preferably lightweight yet durable in construction so as to be able to withstand considerable bending and abuse over time.

[0035] Frame assembly 14 serves or functions to provide the rigid structural support to bed tent 10. Frame assembly may comprise various designs, shapes, and sizes, each intended to be within the scope of the invention as described and claimed herein.

[0036] Bed tent 10, and particularly frame assembly 14, is shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, and has been described herein, as comprising a box-like frame assembly having a rear planer portion, a top planer portion, or a roof, a front planer portion, and two sidewalls, each of which define a volume of space or an enclosed tent structure over a bed or mattress 8. However, this box-like configuration is only intending to be illustrative of one embodiment of the present invention and should not be considered to be limiting in any respect. Indeed, bed tent 10 may comprise several different configurational designs in which a front planer portion, a top planer portion, and a rear planer portion, in addition to the first and second sides, may fold in upon each other so as to be able to be positioned in substantially parallel and juxtaposed relationships with one another adjacent a bed or bed frame. For example, bed tent 10 may comprise an A-frame assembly wherein the first and second sides angle towards one another and converge at the top to form a top planer portion. The mechanisms and functions of the hinged pole receivers used to construct and enable such a configuration would function much the same way as the box frame assembly described above. Therefore, one ordinarily skilled in the art will recognize that several configurational designs are made possible and are within the scope of the present invention as taught and claimed herein.

[0037] With reference to FIGS. 1-3, shown is bed tent 10 further comprising a mattress shoe 22 that is coupled to frame assembly 14, and is shaped to receive an end portion of mattress 8. Mattress shoe 22 provides many advantageous functions or purposes, namely securing bed tent 10 to the bed or mattress, keeping bed tent 10 properly aligned on the bed in both its stored and set-up positions, as well as during the interim, and providing means for supporting bed tent 10 in a stored position, thus allowing the bed tent to remain attached to the bed and to function as intended and described herein. Mattress shoe 22 may also be adapted to fit onto a box spring or other similar sleeping structure with little modification one ordinarily skilled in the art would recognize, but for purposes of explanation herein, mattress shoe 22 is preferably adapted to function with mattress 8.

[0038] Although several different designs may exist, mattress shoe 22 preferably comprises a horizontal plate 102 that slides or fits on the underside of mattress 8. Extending from horizontal plate 102 is vertical wall support 98 as well as sidewall supports 106. Together, these form a substantially L-shaped member that is capable of receiving the end portion of mattress 8. The primary function of mattress shoe 22 is to provide support for the entire structure of bed frame 10 in both its fully assembled, set-up position, as well as its upright and vertical stored position. Mattress shoe 22 is set in place by lifting or removing mattress 8 and setting horizontal plate 102 underneath mattress 8 and on top of either a floor or a box spring, or whatever type of surface mattress 8 is to be placed upon. Essentially, horizontal plate 102 is wedged between the underside of mattress 8 and a floor or box spring, etc., and extends far enough along the longitudinal plane of mattress 8 so as to be able to properly support bed tent 10 in either of its set-up or stored positions. Vertical wall support 98, which extends substantially perpendicular from horizontal plate 102, also provides support for bed tent 10 by resisting any moment forces applied to bed tent 10 when it is in its upright stored position. Vertical wall support 98 is intended to be directly adjacent the vertical front face or wall of mattress 8. Mattress shoe 22 may be coupled to frame assembly 14 using any means commonly known in the art. However, in the preferred embodiment described herein, mattress shoe 22 is coupled to frame assembly 14 by inserting first and second rear vertical support poles 86 and 90, respectively, into first and second pole receiving apertures 110 and 112 located on opposing ends of vertical wall support 98 of mattress shoe 22.

[0039] FIGS. 1 and 2 further show or illustrate canopy 18 removably coupled to frame assembly 14. Canopy 18, along with frame assembly 14, is used to define the volume of space or tent enclosure of bed tent 10. Canopy 12 is provided with attaching means to attach canopy 12 to frame assembly 14. Attaching means may comprise any means commonly known in the art, but preferably comprises a series of sleeves 134 coupled to various positions along the edges of canopy 18 to form loops wherein each of the plurality of support poles may be inserted prior to being inserted into their respective apertures within hinged pole receivers 30, 34, 38, and 42, respectively. Attaching means may also include Velcro, snaps, clamps, pins, or any other structures that are commonly known and used in the art and that are capable of securing canopy 18 to frame assembly 14. Bed tent 10 further comprises a plurality of securing means 150, preferably looped structures, capable of coupling an edge portion of canopy 18 to frame assembly 14, either support poles or mattress shoe 22. Securing means 150 preferably comprises a strap or looped member capable of attaching to mattress shoe 22 or engaging a support pole of frame assembly 14. Securing means 150 is best illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4.

[0040] Canopy 18 may also be made or constructed of any material commonly known in the art. Preferably, canopy 18 is made of a waterproofed canvas material, or some type of polymeric material commonly found on tent structures. Canopy 18 may also be constructed of various materials having characteristics consistent with the intended use. Thus, where the passage of light and air through canopy 18 is desired, a more loosely woven fabric may be provided and utilized, rather than traditional non-breathable materials.

[0041] Canopy 18 also includes means for providing ingress and egress for the user. A preferred means of ingress and egress is a zippered enclosure, or a door, similar to that shown in FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0042] Canopy 18 may also include one or more windows, either open or comprised of see-through material, allowing the user to see in and out of bed tent 10. These window portions may also serve as means for ventilating and promoting air circulation through canopy 18 and the interior of bed tent 10. The size, number, and placement of windows 138, as well as means for providing ingress and egress, can vary according to the material of construction as well as the intended use of bed tent 10. For example, canopy 18 may comprise a plurality of screens that function to allow one to see in or out of bed tent 10.

[0043] Canopy 18 functions to provide an enclosed volume of space above the surface of mattress 8. Therefore, canopy 18 preferably extends from the top of frame portion 14 and ends with an edge portion 142, which rests upon the top portion of mattress 8. In addition, canopy 18 preferably comprises an open bottom 132 so that the floor of bed tent 10 is comprised of whatever surface bed tent 10 rests upon. A closed bottom however, may be desirable and is contemplated herein.

[0044] With reference to FIG. 4, bed tent 10, and particularly frame assembly 14, further comprises front stabilizer 98, which serves as the base means for receiving or coupling first and second front vertical support poles 78 and 82 on opposing ends of front stabilizer 94 as shown. Canopy 18 is also shown coupled to front stabilizer 94 by sliding front stabilizer 94 through sleeve 134 attached or coupled to canopy 18. Front stabilizer 98 serves multiple functions, namely, providing lateral support to the entire structure of bed tent 10 in its erected and set-up position, as well as providing a structure and space that allows the user to grasp front stabilizer 94 and reposition bed tent 10 from its fully assembled and set-up position to its upright stored position. One method of repositioning bed tent 10 is further explained below. As shown in FIG. 4, front stabilizer 94 comprises a handle portion 172 that is essentially an exposed portion of front stabilizer 94 from sleeve 134. This handle may be grasped by the user to facilitate the repositioning of bed tent 10.

[0045] FIG. 4 also illustrates securing means 26 and is removably coupled to or attached to front stabilizer 94. Securing means 26 is used to secure a front portion of bed tent 10 to mattress 8. In the preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 4, securing means 26 comprises strap 160 having a hook 164 thereon that removably couples front stabilizer 94 near its center portion. Securing means 26 further comprises an adjustment member 168 that is used to adjust the tensioning force existing within securing means 26 and exerted upon mattress 8, thereby allowing the user to firmly secure bed tent 10 to mattress 8. Securing means 26, and particularly strap 160, preferably comprises a first end that couples the front portion of bed tent 10, with the strap 160 extending from front stabilizer 94 along a portion of the top surface of mattress 8, down a front face of mattress 8, and subsequently along the longitudinal underside of mattress 8, in which a second end of strap 160 couples mattress shoe 22. In this configuration, securing means 26 is capable of properly securing bed tent 10 to mattress 8, and may be removed when bed tent 10 is desired to be relocated from its fully assembled set-up position to its stored position.

[0046] FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate bed tent 10 as it is being relocated or repositioned from its fully assembled, set-up position to its upright stored position, namely at an interim position. Specifically, FIG. 6 illustrates bed tent 10 in an interim position between the set-up and stored positions. Essentially, securing means 26 is decoupled or disengaged from front stabilizer 94, thus allowing front stabilizer 94 to be lifted off the surface of mattress 8. Once securing means 26 is disengaged, this allows first and second biased hinged pole receivers 38 and 42 to facilitate the front or front planer portion 114 to rotate about pivot point 180 such that front or front planer portion 114 swings or pivots toward roof/top or top planer portion 130. Likewise, as front stabilizer 94 and front or front planer portion 114 is brought up towards top or top planer portion 130, first and second hinged pole receivers 30 and 34 subsequently allow the combination of front or front planer portion 114 and top or top planer portion 130 to pivot or swing towards rear or rear planer portion 118. FIG. 7 illustrates bed tent 10 in its upright and stored position which is shown as being adjacent to mattress 8. FIG. 7 also illustrates how frame assembly 14 remains coupled with mattress shoe 22 and the bed in this upright and stored position. This provides a significant advantage over prior art designs in that bed tent 10 is not required to be removed from the bed structure when not in use. Thus, the user may fold and unfold bed tent 10 as desired using the procedure just described without having to remove the entire bed tent 10 structure from the bed of the user.

[0047] The method for unfolding the bed is similar in that each of the planar portions and the hinged pole receivers are allowed to open up and extend to their fully extended position, wherein the bed tent is again returned to its fully set-up position. A user may fold and unfold bed tent 10 as often as desired.

[0048] The present invention further features a bed tent 10 having an alternative embodiment side or longitudinal oriented folding arrangement, and method for folding bed tent 10 along its longitudinal length, as opposed to along its lateral direction as described above and shown in FIGS. 1-7, to reposition bed tent 10 from a set-up position to a stored, collapsed or semi-collapsed position.

[0049] Specifically, FIG. 8 illustrates bed tent 10 having all of the elements described above in FIGS. 1-7, in addition to a first and second adjustable union members 190 and 194, respectively, positioned along and coupling first and second lateral support poles 62 and 66, respectively, and preferably at the midsection of first and second lateral support poles 62 and 66. First and second adjustable union members 190 and 194 also function to allow bed tent 10 to fold along its longitudinal length or direction, which allows bed tent 10 to fold sideways so that it may be stored along the side of a bed. In addition, mattress shoe 22 may be positioned and securely coupled to mattress 8 at an end or a side section. FIG. 8 illustrates mattress shoe 22 along a side section of mattress 8.

[0050] Adjustable union members 190 and 194 comprise opposing couplings that receive lateral support poles 62 and 66 that exist in two sections as shown in FIG. 8. Adjustable union member 190 and 194 also comprise means for locking and unlocking them in place so that bed tent 10 can be supported in a set-up position, yet allowed to collapse when necessary to transition to a stored position. Means for locking may be any known in the art. These couplings pivot or rotate with respect to one another about pivot point 198 to allow lateral support poles 62 and 66, as well as top or planar portion 114 to collapse against each other in the manner shown in FIG. 8 and as illustrated by the arrows. Once unlocked, side planar portion 116 and first side 122 may be collapsed upon its opposing side planar portion 120 and second side 126. The system of bed tent 10 providing this sideways or longitudinal folding arrangement allows bed tent 10 to be stored along the side of the bed and perhaps along a wall adjacent the bed.

[0051] In another embodiment, biasing means may be utilized in each of pole receivers 230 and 238 to allow bed tent 10 to fold as described in FIGS. 1-7, only sideways. In this embodiment, adjustable union members 190 and 194 would not be utilized, but bed tent 10 would function as described above, only folding sideways or in a longitudinal orientation. Thus, vertical pole extensions 202 and 206 of pole receivers 230 and 238 would be allowed to pivot about a pivot point to allow first side planar portion 116 to pivot upwards towards top planar portion 130 similar to that described above. Likewise, lateral pole extensions 210 and 214 of pole receivers 250 and 258 would be allowed to pivot about a pivot point to allow top planar portion 130 to pivot downward towards second side portion 120, thus allowing each of said first side, top, and second side planar portions 116, 130, and 120 to collapse upon each other in a stored position along the side of a bed.

[0052] One ordinarily skilled in the art will recognize that the side folding arrangement discussed above, and its particular component parts and methods of folding, are not to be construed as limiting. The intention of the discussion regarding the side or longitudinal folding arrangement is to simply illustrate that bed tent 10 is not limited to folding end to end, but that it may also be folded sideways. Thus, the discussion therein, and particularly the specific elements and features described in the encompassing embodiment, simply illustrate one particular method and system for carrying out this intended function. Indeed, other means, devices, elements, features, and structures are available and are intended to fall within the scope of the discussion and corresponding claims as presented herein.

[0053] In still another embodiment, shown in FIG. 9, bed tent 10 may comprise a built in memory-type frame assembly 270, or compliant mechanism-type frame assembly, wherein the frame assembly comprises a built-in memory system allowing frame assembly 270 to possess one or more unstressed or less-stressed states or orientations or positions, which also allow bed tent 10 to transition back and forth between a collapsed position to a stored position by manipulating frame assembly 270 to and through its one or several memory positions. Essentially, bed tent 10 pops or springs into place or into these unstressed states and positions, due to the memory system built into frame assembly 270. In addition, frame assembly 270 comprises a tent covering or canopy 280 to define an enclosed volume of space over mattress 8. Frame assembly 270 further comprises a mattress shoe 22 capable of engaging a mattress, a box spring, or a bed frame at any desired and appropriate location as described and explained in greater detail above. In FIG. 9, frame assembly 270 comprises crossing rods formed in the shape of a rectangle to provide vertical and horizontal support to bed tent 10. These crossing rods are capable of being rotated or twisted through one or more various memory states to be collapsed or folded against a side or end of a bed. Again, both sideways and end folding are contemplated in this embodiment. Canopy 280 is securely coupled to these rods to provide an enclosed tent area over mattress 8.

[0054] In still another embodiment, bed tent 10 may be in the configuration of a collapsible tube or tube-like tent assembly having a frame assembly that that is coupled to a mattress shoe capable of engaging a mattress of a bed. In this embodiment, the tube structure and associated volume may be of any size or shape and may couple to the bed using any known means, such as via a mattress shoe as described herein. The frame assembly used to support such structure is comprised of a plurality of flexible and malleable elements, such as wire or wire-like elements, that may be manipulated into a given shape or form and subsequently collapsed or expanded.

[0055] Still further, it should be noted that mattress shoe 22 represents only one way to engage a portion or section of a bed to secure the bed tent thereto. Moreover, mattress shoe is not limited to engaging just a mattress. Indeed, the mattress shoe described herein could be designed to engage any portion of the bed, such as the box spring, the bed frame, or may be placed under the mattress of a water bed and supported by the weight thereof. Any configuration and assembly is intended and considered herein. As such, the embodiments disclosed, shown, and claimed herein are intended as merely examples.

[0056] The advantages of providing a folding bed tent are numerous as will be recognized and apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art.

[0057] The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit of essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only al illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims, rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope