Title:
Combined chair and backpack apparatus for outdoor use
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A foldable chair that includes shoulder straps for transporting the chair, pockets of various sizes and shapes for storage of hunting gear and a thick seat cushion for improved comfort is disclosed. The seat cushion is made of thick, dense foam for improved comfort and includes a strap on the bottom edge to attach the seat cushion to the backpack when the cushion is not being used as a seat. The present invention further includes a pivotable frame capable of forming an angled structure when self-support is desired and capable of pivoting into a flat frame for resting against a tree or other vertical support when desired. The invention also includes a cover, mesh or otherwise, surrounding the frame that acts as a back support while the chair is in-use.



Inventors:
Lee, Scott (Flushing, MI, US)
Wiseman, Michael (Flint, MI, US)
Application Number:
11/180837
Publication Date:
01/18/2007
Filing Date:
07/13/2005
Assignee:
Eastman Holding Company (Flushing, MI, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/637, 224/633
International Classes:
A45F4/02; A45F3/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20090014490Bulletproof BackpackJanuary, 2009Bradley
20070235484Article holder/message display unitOctober, 2007Staniszewski
20070131726Lifting harness and method of using the sameJune, 2007Aliev
20080156838Wheelchair basketJuly, 2008Johnson
20090039127BICYCLE SEAT PACKFebruary, 2009Dacko
20070084891Combination backpack and cushion deviceApril, 2007Gillespie
20100095427Detachable magnetic holderApril, 2010Romiti
20090173760Multi-Component Wrist StrapJuly, 2009Good
20050199665Roof-top carrierSeptember, 2005Plzak



Primary Examiner:
LARSON, JUSTIN MATTHEW
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CARRIER BLACKMAN AND ASSOCIATES PC (NOVI, MI, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A combined backpack and chair apparatus, comprising a frame comprising a main frame section and a support brace pivotally attached to the main frame section, said main frame section comprising an upper frame component and a reinforcement member affixed to and interconnecting two medial portions of said upper frame component; a frame cover operatively surrounding a portion of said main frame section, said frame cover having a top edge and a bottom edge; a seat operatively connected to the bottom edge of said frame cover; a set of straps connected to said frame cover near the top edge thereof, wherein said set of straps are configured to receive arms of a user therethrough to permit carrying of the apparatus on a user's back; and a receptacle formed from a flexible fabric material and operatively connected to said frame cover on a side thereof opposite said straps.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said seat cushion is a thick dense foam.

3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said seat cushion comprises a strap attached to a bottom portion of said seat cushion for attaching said seat cushion to said backpack.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein said frame cover comprises a porous material such as a mesh.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, comprising adjustable straps attaching a top of said receptacle to said top edge of said cover; and side straps attached to said receptacle and attached to a side portion of said cover.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, comprising at least one pocket on said receptacle.

7. The apparatus of claim 6, comprising a bright colored panel operatively attached to said pocket.

8. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a limiting strap operatively attached to opposite ends of said main frame section and extending around said support brace, for limiting pivotal movement of said support brace.

9. A combined backpack and chair apparatus comprising a frame, said frame comprises an U-shaped member pivotally attached to a main frame, wherein said main frame comprises an upper frame component and a lower frame component attached to said upper frame component a cover surrounding a portion of said frame; a receptacle operatively attached to said cover; a seat member operatively attached to said cover; and a set of straps attached to said cover.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said seat cushion is a thick dense foam.

11. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said seat cushion comprises a strap attached to a bottom portion of said seat cushion for attaching said seat cushion to said backpack.

12. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein said frame cover comprises a porous material such as a mesh.

13. The apparatus of claim 9, comprising adjustable straps attaching a top of said receptacle to said top edge of said cover; and side straps attached to said receptacle and attached to a side portion of said cover.

14. The apparatus of claim 9, comprising at least one pocket on said receptacle.

15. The apparatus of claim 6, comprising a bright colored panel operatively attached to said pocket.

16. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a limiting strap operatively attached to opposite ends of said main frame section and extending around said support brace, for limiting pivotal movement of said support brace.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a combined chair and backpack apparatus, suitable for outdoor use by hunters or naturalists. More particularly, the present invention relates to a combined chair and backpack apparatus which includes straps for facilitating transportation, pockets for easy storage of hunting gear, a cushioned seat for improved comfort and a foldable frame capable either of being self-supported or of being supported by a vertical support substrate, such as a tree.

2. Description of the Background Art

Hunters and naturalists often need to carry a variety of gear into the field. Accordingly, there is an ongoing need for an easily transported foldable seat apparatus that is lightweight, but that can carry gear of multiple sizes in a convenient manner. There are many solutions currently available to allow such people to carry gear into the field, including both vests and backpacks, both of which continue to be popular.

Furthermore, in order to increase time spent hunting there have been continuous attempts to increase comfort. This has compelled many easily transportable chairs in the form of folding chairs or seat cushions incorporated into backpacks and vests.

One method of doing this is by attaching a folding chair onto backpack-like straps or to a vest to be worn by the user for transporting the chair.

However, these designs have been adapted to either sit in a self-supporting manner, or to be used in conjunction with a tree or other vertical support, but not both. Therefore, a user must choose to transport either a chair that will support itself, or a chair that must be used together with a tree or similar vertical support.

Examples of patents relating to known foldable chairs for use by hunters include U.S. Pat. No. 5,620,227, “Vest Garment with Pivotable Seat Member,” U.S. Pat. No. 6,547,110, “Universal Back Pack and Lounge Seat Combination,” and U.S. Pat. No. 6,772,925, “Universal Hunting Pack and Turkey Hunting Vest.” Some of these references disclose folding chairs which are combined with backpacks.

These folding chairs are generally effective in providing a seat that can be transported, but fail to provide a user with the option of either setting up against a tree or freestanding, without an auxiliary support. Depending on the environment encountered by a user in the field, one choice is usually easier and more practical, for a given application, than the other.

An improved backpack/foldable chair apparatus is therefore needed, which would be more versatile and adaptable than the previously known chair and backpack devices. In particular, a apparatus is needed that would be able to be used either in a self-supporting mode, or alternatively, could be leaned against a preexisting vertical support such as a tree, while remaining able to transport various objects comfortably in pockets formed therein.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

The present invention provides a comfortable foldable chair apparatus that is operatively attached to a backpack. The backpack and chair apparatus hereof can be arranged to be self-supporting via an integrated frame, or alternatively, can be configured to be sustained by a vertical support. When used in conjunction with a vertical support, the chair frame can be arranged so as to support a user in a comfortably supported lounging posture, including a flexible support panel.

A combined chair and backpack apparatus according to a particular embodiment of the invention may incorporate pockets of varying sizes and shapes in order to carry appropriate gear for hunting. Furthermore, a combined chair and backpack apparatus according to another embodiment of the invention may incorporate a roll-away orange or otherwise brightly colored panel, that can be unfurled for high-visibility safety use, or else can be stowed away when not needed.

The frame of the combined chair and backpack apparatus according to a particular embodiment of the invention also includes a pivotable reinforcing brace, capable of forming an angled support for use as a self-supporting apparatus. The brace is also capable of pivoting into a flat arrangement against a main frame section, in order to allow the user to rest the frame against a tree or other vertical support.

The apparatus also includes a relatively thick cushion member for use as a seat when the user is in the seated position, and including a layer of dense foam for comfort. The cushion is attached to one end of the main frame section via a piece of material and includes a strap at the other end for strapping the cushion to the backpack while in a stowed position such that the cushion does not hit the user's legs while walking.

Furthermore, the apparatus includes shoulder straps in order to allow a user to conveniently carry the apparatus on his or her back. The apparatus may also include a waist strap, to stabilize the apparatus when worn by a user, and a chest strap to more securely attach the apparatus to a wearer's torso.

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

FIG. 1A is a side plan view of a combined backpack and seating apparatus according to an illustrative embodiment hereof, with the apparatus set up in a first functional orientation illustrating a self-supporting deployed frame position;

FIG. 1B is a side plan view of the combined backpack and seating apparatus of FIG. 1, with the apparatus set up in a second functional orientation, illustrating the folded flat position for use with a vertical support;

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a frame which is a component part of the apparatus of FIGS. 1A-1B, with the assembly shown in a first functional orientation illustrating the self-supporting deployed frame position;

FIG. 2B is a perspective view of the frame of FIG. 2A, shown in the second functional orientation, illustrating the folded flat position for use with a vertical support;

FIG. 2C is a front plan view of the frame of FIGS. 2A-2B, illustrating the upper and lower frame components;

FIG. 3 is an environmental perspective view of the combined backpack and seating apparatus of FIGS. 1A-1B, with the apparatus set up in the folded flat position, and also illustrating a strap arrangement according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a side view of a body of a user wearing the apparatus of FIGS. 1A-1B arranged in a transport configuration thereof, showing the seat cushion and backpack;

FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of the apparatus with the main compartment laying open, illustrating the hook-and-loop connector piece.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

A combined backpack and outdoor seat apparatus 10, according to a selected illustrative embodiment of the invention, will now be described in some detail, with reference to the drawings.

Referring to FIG. 1A, a combined backpack and outdoor seat apparatus 10 is shown in a first functional orientation illustrating a self-supporting deployed frame position thereof. The apparatus 10 includes a frame 12, a frame cover, and a backpack, which will each be further described herein. When the frame 12 of the apparatus 10 is in the deployed position, the frame 12 is capable of supporting the apparatus independently on open ground, without any auxiliary support mechanism.

As seen best in FIGS. 2A-2C, the frame 12 includes a main frame section 16 and a support brace 14, which is pivotally attached to the main frame section. The frame The main frame section 16 and the support brace are each preferred to be formed from a strong metal, so that the frame 12 can support the weight of a user leaning thereon, for an extended time period, without failing.

The main frame section 16 includes an inverted, U-shaped member 4, and a crossbar 6 welded across the U-shaped member at an intermediate location thereon, so that a pair of parallel spaced apart leg portions 5, 5 are defined extending downwardly below the crossbar.

The support brace 14 is generally provided as a second U-shaped member, and is attached to a medial portion of the main frame section 16, above the crossbar 6, via fasteners such as rivets 8. The support brace 14 is pivotally attached to the main frame section 16, so as to allow pivotal movement of the support brace 14 in relation to the main frame section. Optionally, plastic bushings 15 may be provided at the juncture between the support brace 14 and the main frame section 16.

While deployed in the self-supporting position shown in FIG. 2A, the support brace 14 of the frame 12 extends at an angle relative to the main frame section 16. The angle is limited via a non-adjustable strap 17, which extends from one leg 5 of the main frame section 16, wraps around the support brace 14, and then attaches to the other leg 5 of the main frame section. The strap 17 is fixedly attached to the legs 5, 5 of the main frame section, preferably by fasteners such as rivets or nuts and screws.

The apparatus 10 also includes a frame cover 20 which surrounds the main frame section 16, and is formed out of a soft material such as mesh, as shown in FIG. 3. There are openings formed in the frame cover 20, such as that shown at 22, in order to allow access to the main frame section 16 for the attachment of straps and the like.

The apparatus 10 also includes a seat 30, which is sewn on to or otherwise attached to the frame cover 20 at the bottom edge 24 thereof. The seat 30 can be attached to the frame cover 20 by stitching a connector panel 32, formed from a flexible piece of material, extending between the seat 30 and the frame cover 20, as shown in FIG. 4. Alternatively, for increased durability, the seat 30 can be attached to the frame cover 20 by stitching the connector panel 32 on to a supportive strap 78, shown in FIG. 3, that is attached to the frame cover 20.

The seat 30 includes a relatively thick, dense foam cushion of a size large enough to comfortable support a hunter in the sitting position, and a fabric envelope surrounding and enclosing the cushion, where the bottom panel of the envelope is formed from durable plastic, vinyl, an elastomer, or a similar water-impermeable material. Optionally, in order to maximize comfort, the seat cushion 36 may include a base layer of a relatively dense and resilient foam elastomer, and a top layer of a lighter, more easily compressible foam elastomer.

In the depicted embodiment, the seat 30 includes an adjustable strap 34, located at the bottom of the cushion 36 when in view in the out-of-use position. This adjustable strap 34 can be used to attach the seat cushion 22 to the backpack 50 to keep the seat 30 from hitting the hunter's leg while in the out-of-use position.

FIG. 1B illustrates the apparatus 10 with the frame in a folded flat position, as the apparatus would be used against a naturally-occurring vertical support 2 such as a tree.

The apparatus 10 also includes a backpack 50, which attaches to the frame cover 20 via stitching running across along the bottom edge 24 of the frame cover and continuing up along the two sides of the frame cover, forming the main compartment 52 of the backpack 50. The upper flap of the backpack 50 also removably attaches to the frame cover 20 near the top edge thereof, via two-part adjustable straps 64 that can be detached to uncover the main compartment 52 of the backpack 50 for easier access thereto, as shown in FIG. 5.

The backpack 50 may be made from a camouflage material for hunting purposes, but can be made out of many materials such as waterproof and/or scent-suppressing materials.

The backpack 50 also has pockets on the outside surface of the main compartment 52. FIG. 1 shows a small pocket 54 and a large pocket 56, but numerous variations are possible.

The backpack 50 also has an interior mesh pocket 62, shown in FIG. 4 and FIG. 5, behind the small pocket 54, for storing an orange or otherwise brightly-colored visibility panel 60, that is attached to the backpack 50. The orange visibility panel 60 can be removed from the pocket and unrolled for safety purposes when needed, or stowed away in the mesh pocket 62 when not needed. The orange visibility panel 60 is attached to the inside of the mesh pocket 62, and has connector straps on the end that is not attached These connector straps may be formed from a first hook-and-loop material such as that sold under the mark VELCRO. There are also corresponding fastener pieces attached to the underside of the backpack 50, in order to secure the panel 60 to in a position covering a large portion of the backpack 50.

A looped handle strap 68 may be provided at the top of the main frame section 16 near the adjustable straps 64, to permit easy handling of the apparatus 10 when the apparatus 10 is not being transported on a user's back. This looped strap 68, where used, attaches to the main frame section 16 at an opening 22 in the frame cover 20.

FIG. 3 shows the apparatus 10 in the in-use position supported by a vertical support 2 illustrating the arrangement of straps. On the front side of the frame cover 20, directly below the looped handle strap 68, there is an upper reinforcing member 72 sewn in place. Shoulder straps 70 attach to this reinforcing member 72 via stitching. The shoulder straps 70 are equipped with loops 74 for convenient storage of hunting accessories, such as small knives, rounds and similarly-shaped objects. Further down along the shoulder straps 70, a chest strap 76 is attached to both straps, allowing a user to connect the chest strap 76 and adjust it to tighten the apparatus 10 when worn by the user, for easier transportation.

The lower ends of the shoulder straps 70 are attached to a lower reinforcing member 78 at the bottom edge 24 of the frame cover, 20 via stitching. Also attached to this lower reinforcing member 78 is a set of waist straps 80 that may be connected around the waist of the user for carrying heavy loads, thereby placing more of the weight of the load on the user's hips as opposed to the user's shoulders.

FIG. 4 shows the apparatus in the out-of-use position with the seat cushion 20 stowed away via the adjustable strap 34 attached to the underside of the large pocket 56. Also attached to the large pocket 56 at a slightly higher height is a set of side straps 82. The side straps run from the large pocket 56 to the frame cover 20 and when connected can be tightened to decrease the size of the main compartment 52 in the event that only small objects are to be transported.

The large pocket 56 also has a zipper 84, shown in FIG. 4 for easy access. However, Velcro is another possible fastening device and is used on the small pocket 54 as well on the frame cover 20.

FIG. 5 shows the frame and cover 20 with the backpack 50 detached at the adjustable straps 64 and with the side straps detached. This allows a user a larger opening to load the main compartment 52. The frame cover 20 wraps around the frame 12 and is closed via a Velcro piece 86. The Velcro piece 86 allows a user to easily remove the backpack 50 and cover 20 from the frame 12 for cleaning purposes.

Although the present invention has been described herein with respect to a specific illustrative embodiment, 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. For example, a number of variations of pockets and straps can be added or subtracted from the present invention to hold various types of gear. Also, many types of material can be used for the cover or for the backpack, such as waterproof or scent suppressing materials. All such modifications, which are within the scope of the claims, are intended to be within the scope and spirit of the present invention.