Title:
Airbed and cot combination
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A cot and airbed combination. In accordance with an embodiment, a sleeve is provided for receiving the airbed, and attachment mechanisms, such as straps, clips, clasps, or other mechanisms, are provided for attaching the airbed and sleeve to the cot. The sleeve may be configured so that the sleeve and the airbed may be folded and stored with the cot. The sleeve may include protective covers that extend over hinges for the cot to protect the airbed when folding the cot and the airbed. An expandable sleeve or covering is also provided which may receive airbeds of varying thicknesses. The expandable sleeve includes an expansion section that permits the sleeve to be expanded from a first, smaller size, to a second, larger size. A closure may be provided for maintaining the expansion section in the first position.



Inventors:
Matheus, Gail R. (Towanda, KS, US)
Reuter, Kimberly M. (Wichita, KS, US)
Holub, Timothy M. (Cheney, KS, US)
Application Number:
10/882440
Publication Date:
01/05/2006
Filing Date:
07/01/2004
Assignee:
The Coleman Company, Inc. (Wichita, KS, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/706
International Classes:
A47C27/08; A47C19/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SAFAVI, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LEYDIG, VOIT & MAYER, LTD. (CHICAGO, IL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A combination, comprising: a cot; an airbed; and a sleeve for attaching the airbed to the cot.

2. The combination of claim 1, wherein the sleeve comprises end flaps that extend around ends of the airbed.

3. The combination of claim 2, wherein the sleeve comprises side flaps that extend around sides of the airbed.

4. The combination of claim 3, wherein the cot comprises at least one hinge, and wherein at least one of the side flaps and the end flaps extends between said at least one hinge and the airbed.

5. The combination of claim 1, wherein the sleeve comprises side flaps that extend around sides of the airbed.

6. The combination of claim 5, wherein the cot comprises at least one hinge, and wherein at least one of the side flaps extends between said at least one hinge and the airbed.

7. The combination of claim 1, wherein the cot comprises a frame, and wherein the sleeve comprises hooks for connecting to the frame.

8. The combination of claim 7, wherein the hooks are positioned at corners of the sleeve.

9. The combination of claim 1, wherein the cot comprises a fabric stretched over a frame, with openings in the fabric, and wherein the sleeve comprises a strap that is releasably attachable under the fabric through the openings.

10. The combination of claim 9, wherein the sleeve is releasably attachable via a buckle.

11. A combination, comprising: a frame or cot; and an expandable sleeve for attaching to the frame or cot, the expandable sleeve comprising a main body and an expansion section connected to the main body, the expansion section being configurable between a first arrangement where the expandable sleeve is capable of receiving a first size airbed, and a second arrangement where the expansion section may be expanded so that the expandable sleeve may receive a second, larger size airbed.

12. The combination of claim 11, wherein the expansion section comprises a flexible material that collapses in an accordion fashion when in the first arrangement.

13. The combination of claim 11, further comprising a closure for maintaining the expansion section in the first arrangement.

14. The combination of claim 13, wherein the closure comprises a zipper.

15. The combination of claim 11, further comprising an airbed for fitting into the expandable sleeve.

16. An expandable sleeve for attaching to a frame or cot, the expandable sleeve comprising a main body and an expansion section connected to the main body, the expansion section being configurable between a first arrangement where the expandable sleeve is capable of receiving a first size airbed, and a second arrangement where the expansion section may be expanded so that the expandable sleeve may receive a second, larger size airbed.

17. The combination of claim 16, wherein the expansion section comprises a flexible material that collapses in an accordion fashion when in the first arrangement.

18. The combination of claim 16, further comprising a closure for maintaining the expansion section in the first arrangement.

19. The combination of claim 18, wherein the closure comprises a zipper.

20. The combination of claim 16, further comprising an airbed for fitting into the expandable sleeve.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to airbeds, and more specifically to structures for supporting airbeds.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

An airbed is a large rectangular rubber or plastic (e.g., vinyl) bag that is filled with air so that it may be used as a bed. Airbeds are well known in the art and have proven themselves to be very useful. On the one hand, an inflatable airbed may be deflated and folded to store the airbed in a closet or basement. On the other hand, when guests arrive or when the owner of the airbed takes a trip to a place where there is no bed, the airbed may be inflated and may be used as a bed.

Although airbeds work well for their intended purpose, one downside to the use of airbeds is that most conventional airbeds are only 4-10 inches tall. Thus, if an airbed is inflated and placed on the floor, the user must lower himself or herself to get on the airbed, and getting out of the airbed may also be difficult.

One airbed that has been used to address this problem is the double-high style. As the name suggests, these airbeds are approximately twice as tall as conventional airbeds, and thus are spaced from the floor an amount that is more like a conventional bed. Although these double-high airbeds work well, typically they are provided as double, queen or king sized beds, because a smaller bed, such as a single bed, does not have enough width to be sturdy. In addition, the double-high style airbeds tend to take much space, leaving little room for storage of other items.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The following presents a simplified summary of some embodiments of the invention in order to provide a basic understanding of the invention. This summary is not an extensive overview of the invention. It is not intended to identify key/critical elements of the invention or to delineate the scope of the invention. Its sole purpose is to present some embodiments of the invention in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.

One embodiment of the present invention provides a cot and airbed combination. In accordance with the embodiment, a sleeve is provided for receiving the airbed, and attachment mechanisms, such as straps, clips, clasps, or other mechanisms, are provided for attaching the airbed and sleeve to the cot. In accordance with one embodiment, the sleeve is configured so that the sleeve and the airbed may be folded and stored with the cot. To this end, the sleeve may include protective covers that extend over hinges for the cot to protect the airbed when folding the cot and the airbed.

In accordance with another embodiment, an expandable sleeve or covering is provided which may receive airbeds of varying thicknesses. The expandable sleeve includes an expansion section that permits the sleeve to be expanded from a first, smaller size, to a second, larger size, to accommodate, for example, a 4-inch high airbed or an 8-inch high airbed. A closure may be provided for maintaining the expansion section in the first position.

Other features of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a side perspective view of an airbed and cot combination in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is an exploded side perspective view showing a sleeve and associated connectors for the airbed and cot combination of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the sleeve and connectors of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is diagrammatic representation of attachment of one of the connectors of FIG. 2 with the cot of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a side perspective view of an expandable sleeve for an airbed in accordance with an embodiment, the expandable sleeve shown attached to a cot; and

FIG. 6 is a side perspective view of the expandable sleeve of FIG. 5, with the expandable sleeve shown in an expanded state to receive a larger airbed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, various embodiments of the present invention will be described. For purposes of explanation, specific configurations and details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the embodiments. However, it will also be apparent to one skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced without the specific details. Furthermore, well-known features may be omitted or simplified in order not to obscure the embodiment being described.

Referring now to the drawings, in which like reference numerals represent like parts throughout the several views, FIG. 1 shows an airbed and cot combination 20 in accordance with an embodiment. As can best be seen in FIG. 2, the airbed and cot combination 20 includes an airbed 22 attached to a cot 24 by a sleeve 26.

In general, the sleeve 26 may be any configuration that is capable of attaching the airbed 22 to the cot 24, and serves as a “sleeve” only in that the sleeve extends at least partly over the airbed 22. In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the sleeve 26 extends over the top portion of the airbed 22 and includes end flaps 28 that extend around to a bottom portion of the airbed 22, as can be seen in FIG. 3. Similarly, side flaps 30 extend downward and cover a portion of the bottom of the airbed 22. Corner straps 32 extend between the end flaps 28 and the side flaps 30 to hold the respective flaps in position. In addition, a center strap 34 having a buckle 36 extends across a center portion of the airbed 22 and attaches central portions of the side flaps 30 to one another.

In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the corner straps 32 utilize hook and loop fasteners, permitting the straps to be disconnected. In an alternate embodiment, the corner straps 32 may be permanently attached. In yet another embodiment, the side flaps 30 and end flaps 28 may be connected without using straps, for example by sewing the flaps together. Other connections may be used.

In addition, although the embodiment shown utilizes end flaps 28 and side flaps 30, the sleeve 26 may alternatively extend around and cover the entire bottom of the airbed 22. However, such an embodiment would include more fabric, and thus may be more expensive than the embodiment shown in the drawings. Moreover, the sleeve 26 may extend only partly over the top of the airbed 22, and may include straps as the only structure that extends over the airbed.

In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the sleeve 26 includes corner clips 38 at each corner. A valve opening 40 is provided through which a valve 42 for the airbed 22 extends. If desired, a zipper (not shown) may be provided at one or both ends of the sleeve 26 to aid in insertion of the airbed 22 in the sleeve 26.

In general, the sleeve 26 is arranged to be attached to a cot, such as the cot 24. By cot, we mean a collapsible bed, typically formed of fabric stretched on a frame. One example of a cot is the cot 24 shown in FIG. 2. This cot 24 includes U-shaped legs 48 attached to a frame 50 having rounded corners. A canvas covering 54 extends over the frame 50. The canvas covering 54 includes openings 56 at the attachment of each of the U-shaped legs 48 to the frame 50. A hinge 58 is provided at the center of the cot 24 for folding the cot 24 in half in a manner known in the art.

An alternate embodiment of a cot 124 to which the sleeve 26 and the airbed 22 may be attached is the scissor-style cot 124 shown in FIG. 6. This type of cot includes scissor legs 148 attached to a frame 150 having a canvas covering 154 extending thereover. Again, openings 156 (not clearly shown, but known in the art) are provided at the attachment of the scissor legs 148 to the frame 150. There may also be openings 156 at hinges (not shown, but known in the art) that permit folding of the scissor-style cot 124.

Yet another example of a cot 224 is shown in FIG. 5. This cot 224 includes separate legs 248 attached to a frame 250, again having a canvas covering 254. Openings 256 are provided at the attachment of the canvas covering 254 to the frame 250 and at hinges 258 for the cot 224.

The three cots 24, 124, and 224 are three examples of different kinds of cots to which the sleeve 26 and airbed 22 may be attached. However, a sleeve in accordance with the present invention may be adapted to fit a wide variety of cots. In general, “cot” is meant to mean a structure on which a user may typically sleep without the need for additional structure, such as an airbed. Thus, by cot, we are distinguishing from frames that are designed specifically to suspend an airbed. The sleeve 26 is specifically designed for attachment to a cot, such as the cot 24, the cot 124, or the cot 224, and although it may be utilized with a frame, its specific purpose is for attachment to a cot.

In use, a user inserts an uninflated airbed, such as the airbed 22, into the sleeve 26. In the embodiment shown in the drawings, the user may simply extend the uninflated airbed 22 through the back or bottom portion of the sleeve 26, and arrange the airbed 22 so that the valve 42 aligns with the valve opening 40 on the sleeve 26, and otherwise arrange the airbed 22 to align with the sleeve 26. If the sleeve 26 is arranged differently than shown in the drawing so that it is fully enclosed, then the airbed 22 may be inserted in an appropriate manner, such as by an opening created by a zipper or another suitable closure. If desired, to ease insertion of the airbed 22, the buckle 36 on the center strap 34 may be undone.

In an alternate embodiment, the airbed 22 is fully encased in the sleeve 26 when purchased by a user. However, in such an embodiment, the user may not use the airbed 22 without the sleeve 26. Such use may be desired in some settings, such as when the airbed 22 is taken for use in a tent that does not have room for a cot such as the cot 24.

In any event, after the airbed 22 is fully inserted into the sleeve 26, the airbed 22 is inflated in a manner known in the art, for example by a pump. As an alternative to this method, the sleeve 26 may be attached to an inflated airbed.

After inflation or before inflation of the airbed 22, the sleeve 26 may be attached to the cot 24. To do so, the corner clips 38 are attached to the rounded corners of the frame 50 of the cot 24. If another embodiment of a cot, such as the scissor-style cot 124 or the six-legged cot 224 is used, then the corner clips 38 may be otherwise attached, such as at the corners of the frames 150, 250, those cots. In addition, instead of clips, the sleeve 26 may include another appropriate structure for attachment of ends of the sleeve 26 to a cot, such as clasps, hook and loop fasteners, other fasteners, ties, or any other suitable structure for attaching the sleeve 26 to the cot 24. In addition, if desired, the sleeve may be attached in another location to a cot, such as spaced from the corners of the cot.

In addition to the corner attachments provided by the corner clips 38, the sleeve 26 may be attached to a central portion of the cot 24. For example, the buckle 36 may be unclasped and the two ends of the center strap 34 may be extended through the central openings 56 on the cot 24 and then the buckle 36 re-attached on a bottom portion of the cot 24. In this manner, the center strap 34 extends on an opposite side of the canvas covering 54 of the cot 24 than the sleeve 26, serving as another attachment of the sleeve 26 and airbed 22 to the cot 24.

In accordance with an embodiment, the side flaps 30 are of sufficient width to cover hinges for the cots, such as the hinges 58 or 258 of the cots 24 and 224, when the sleeve 26 is connected to the respective cot. In this manner, the side flaps 30 protect the airbed 22 from operation of the hinges 58 and/or 258. The side flaps 30 and/or the end flaps 28 may similarly be situated to protect the airbed 22 from operation of the legs 48, 148, or 248.

After the airbed 22 has been attached to a top of the cot 24, a user may sleep on top of the airbed 22, with the airbed 22 being spaced from the floor by the cot 24. The sleeve 26 ensures firm connection between the airbed 22 and the cot 24, ensuring that the airbed 22 does not slide off the cot 24.

The sleeve 26 may also be used on the airbed 22 without the cot 24. This feature permits one user to sleep on the cot 24, and another on the airbed 22. In addition, the sleeve 26 provides a smoother, and perhaps softer, surface for a user than just sleeping on the airbed 22, whether the airbed is on a cot or not.

When a user is done sleeping on the airbed 22, the user may deflate the airbed 22 while the airbed 22 is still in the sleeve 26. The cot 24 may then be folded with the airbed 22 and the sleeve 26 still attached to the cot 24. During folding of the cot 24, the ends of the airbed 22 and sleeve 26 move inward, and the clips 38 may be designed to permit such movement, such as by using elastic straps or another suitable structure.

A second embodiment of an airbed and cot combination 70 is shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. In this embodiment, an airbed (not shown) is attached to the cot 124 in FIG. 4 and the cot 224 in FIG. 5 by an expandable sleeve 76. The airbed is enclosed in FIGS. 5 and 6, and thus is not visible. The sleeve 76 may also be utilized to attach the airbed 72 to other cots, as well as frames or other structures.

In accordance with an embodiment, the expandable sleeve 76 includes an expandable section 78 (best shown in FIG. 6). In an embodiment, the expandable section 78 is made, for example, of a fabric, which is collapsible in an accordion fashion. Other structures may be provided for the expandable section 78.

In an embodiment, a closure 80 is provided for locking the expandable section 78 in an unexpanded, or collapsed state. In the embodiment shown, the closure 80 is a zipper but other structures may be used. These closures may be re-attachable, such as the zipper, in that the expandable section 78 may be moved between the expanded state and the collapsed state after being opened. Alternatively, the closures may be removably attachable, such as by a removable tab, so that the expandable section 78 remains in the expanded state after the closure is opened by a user. Other examples of closures include, but are not limited to, straps, ties, hook and loop fasteners, buttons, snaps, hooks, loops and toggles, tearable strips, tapes, and releasable fasteners.

In use, the expandable sleeve 76 may receive an airbed therein. In the collapsed state, shown in FIG. 5, the expandable sleeve 76 receives a smaller airbed, such as a 4-inch high airbed. In the expanded state, shown in FIG. 6, the closure 80 is released and the expandable section 78 is allowed to expand so that a taller airbed, such as an 8-inch high airbed may be received in the expandable sleeve 76. In this manner, the expandable sleeve 76 is capable of handling multiple different heights of airbeds. If desired, the expandable section 78 may be configured so that airbeds of intermediate sizes may also be received in the expandable sleeve 76. For example, elastic straps may be used for the closure, or other suitable structure may be provided so that an intermediate sized airbed, such as an airbed that is six inches tall, may be received within an expandable sleeve 76 that is configured to receive airbeds from four to eight inches tall.

The expandable sleeve 76 may be attached to a suitable frame, or a cot, such as the cots 24, 124, or 224. The expandable sleeve 76 may be attached in much the same manner as the sleeve 26, or may be permanently attached, for example by sewing of the expandable sleeve 76 to a canvas covering 54 for the cot 24. The attachment of the expandable sleeve 76 to a cot or frame may be permanent or temporary.

In the embodiment shown, the expandable sleeve 76 fully receives an airbed, but the expandable sleeve 76 may alternatively be configured to receive only portions of the airbed, such as corners, ends, or outer edges of the airbed. In addition, much like the embodiment of the sleeve 26 described above, the bottom may be partially open to save fabric costs.

The expandable sleeve 76 may also be used on an airbed without a cot or frame. This feature permits one user to sleep on the cot, and another on the airbed. In addition, the expandable sleeve 76 provides a smoother, and perhaps softer, surface for a user than just sleeping on the airbed.

The use of either the sleeve 26 or the expandable sleeve 76 with a cot, such as the cot 24, the cot 124, or the cot 224, provides an advantage over prior airbeds in that if the airbed is accidentally deflated, the user is still suspended by a comfortable bedding surface; e.g., the fabric covering 54. In addition, in both embodiments, storage space is available under the airbed and cot combination. Such storage space is not available under a conventional airbed.

Other variations are within the spirit of the present invention. Thus, while the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative constructions, a certain illustrated embodiment thereof is shown in the drawings and has been described above in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intention to limit the invention to the specific form or forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents falling within the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined in the appended claims.

All references, including publications, patent applications, and patents, cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference to the same extent as if each reference were individually and specifically indicated to be incorporated by reference and were set forth in its entirety herein.

The use of the terms “a” and “an” and “the” and similar referents in the context of describing the invention (especially in the context of the following claims) are to be construed to cover both the singular and the plural, unless otherwise indicated herein or clearly contradicted by context. The terms “comprising,” “having,” “including,” and “containing” are to be construed as open-ended terms (i.e., meaning “including, but not limited to,”) unless otherwise noted. The term “connected” is to be construed as partly or wholly contained within, attached to, or joined together, even if there is something intervening. Recitation of ranges of values herein are merely intended to serve as a shorthand method of referring individually to each separate value falling within the range, unless otherwise indicated herein, and each separate value is incorporated into the specification as if it were individually recited herein. All methods described herein can be performed in any suitable order unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context. The use of any and all examples, or exemplary language (e.g., “such as”) provided herein, is intended merely to better illuminate embodiments of the invention and does not pose a limitation on the scope of the invention unless otherwise claimed. No language in the specification should be construed as indicating any non-claimed element as essential to the practice of the invention.

Preferred embodiments of this invention are described herein, including the best mode known to the inventors for carrying out the invention. Variations of those preferred embodiments may become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon reading the foregoing description. The inventors expect skilled artisans to employ such variations as appropriate, and the inventors intend for the invention to be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, this invention includes all modifications and equivalents of the subject matter recited in the claims appended hereto as permitted by applicable law. Moreover, any combination of the above-described elements in all possible variations thereof is encompassed by the invention unless otherwise indicated herein or otherwise clearly contradicted by context.