Title:
Multiple-Entry/Egress Sleeping Bag For Adjustable Body Coverage
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sleeping bag comprises an elongate shell having an interior space sized and shaped to receive a user therein. A plurality of sealing devices are associated with a corresponding plurality of body segment access openings spaced apart through the shell such that each of the plurality of sealing devices may be actuated to permit a user's selected body segment to be extended through the shell into the interior space. A method of making a sleeping bag comprises forming a sleeping bag sized and shaped to cover a user's body. A plurality of body segment access openings having a corresponding plurality of sealing devices are inserted through a top cover at a location corresponding to a body area of the user selected from the group of areas comprising: near the neck, near the chest, near the waist, near the knees, and near the ankles.



Inventors:
Seth, Sandeep (Bellaire, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/533458
Publication Date:
03/22/2007
Filing Date:
09/20/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G9/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LIU, JONATHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kenneth A. Roddy (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A sleeping bag comprising: an elongate shell having an interior space sized and shaped to receive a user therein; a plurality of sealing devices associated with a corresponding plurality of body segment access openings spaced apart through said shell such that each of the plurality of sealing devices may be actuated to permit a user's selected body segment to be extended through said shell into said interior space.

2. The sleeping bag of claim 1, wherein at least one of the plurality of body segment access openings is positioned at a location corresponding to a body area of the user selected from the group of areas comprising: near the neck, near the chest, near the waist, near the knees, and near the ankles.

3. The sleeping bag of claim 1, wherein each of said plurality of body segment access openings extends substantially across the width of the shell where it is located.

4. The sleeping bag of claim 1, wherein said shell has two opposed ends and said opposed ends are both closed.

5. The sleeping bag of claim 1, wherein said shell comprises a first member and a second member.

6. The sleeping bag of claim 1, wherein the plurality of sealing devices comprises a selectively engageable and disengeable hook and loop fastener.

7. The sleeping bag of claim 1, wherein the plurality of sealing devices comprises a pair of selectively engageable opposite polarity flexible magnetic strips.

8. The sleeping bag of claim 1, wherein the plurality of sealing devices comprises a selectively engageable zipper.

9. The sleeping bag of claim 1, wherein at least a portion of the plurality of sealing devices comprises a luminescent material.

10. The sleeping bag of claim 8, wherein at least a portion of the selectively engageable zipper comprises a luminescent material.

11. A method of making a sleeping bag comprising: forming a sleeping bag sized and shaped to cover a user's body; inserting a plurality of body segment access openings having a corresponding plurality of sealing devices through a top cover at a location corresponding to a body area of the user selected from the group of areas comprising: near the neck, near the chest, near the waist, near the knees, and near the ankles.

12. The method of claim 11 wherein the sealing device is chosen from the group consisting of: selectively engageable hook and loop fastener strips; selectively engageable opposite polarity flexible magnetic strips; and a selectively engageable zipper.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein at least a portion of the selectively engageable zipper comprises a luminescent material.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a Continuation-in-Part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/162,750 filed on Sep. 21, 2005, which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to sleep products, and more particularly to sleeping bags.

2. Description of the Related Art

Sleeping bags are used in a wide variety of wilderness applications, including rock and ice climbing, camping, backpacking, fishing, mountain climbing, etc. These activities are carried on throughout the year in a range of climatic regions and weather conditions. Outdoor enthusiasts who wish to use a sleeping bag in both warm and cold environments presently are required to purchase a separate sleeping bag designed for each environment. Purchasing multiple sleeping bags is costly to the user and takes up storage space in the user's home.

It is desirable to have a single sleeping bag that may be used in both warm and cold conditions. Specifically, it would be desirable to provide a sleeping bag with a body cover portion that would allow the user to cover only the body segments that the user wishes to keep warm and use the rest as added padding below him or her.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A multiple-entry/egress sleeping bag for adjustable body coverage is provided. In one embodiment, a sleeping bag comprises an elongate shell having an interior space sized and shaped to receive a user therein. A plurality of sealing devices are associated with a corresponding plurality of body segment access openings spaced apart through the shell such that each of the plurality of sealing devices may be actuated to permit a user's selected body segment to be extended through the shell into the interior space.

In another aspect a method of making a sleeping bag comprises forming a sleeping bag sized and shaped to cover a user's body. A plurality of body segment access openings having a corresponding plurality of sealing devices are inserted through a top cover at a location corresponding to a body area of the user selected from the group of areas comprising: near the neck, near the chest, near the waist, near the knees, and near the ankles.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For detailed understanding of the illustrative embodiments, reference should be made to the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like elements have been given like numerals, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of one embodiment of a sleeping bag according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a plan view showing a user sleeping in a sleeping bag of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is also a plan view showing a user sleeping in a sleeping bag of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is another plan view showing a user sleeping in a sleeping bag of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a section view taken along the line 5-5 in FIG. 4 showing one preferred means for selectively sealing and unsealing an access opening with the access opening sealed;

FIG. 6 is a section view taken along the line 6-6 in FIG. 4 showing one preferred means for selectively sealing and unsealing an access opening with the access opening unsealed;

FIG. 7 is an enlargement of circle 7 of FIG. 5 showing a cover strip pushed out of the way to permit means for selectively sealing and unsealing to engage;

FIG. 8 is a plan view of a tapered version of a sleeping bag of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a plan view of one non-limiting embodiment of a sleeping bag; and

FIG. 10 is a view of Detail A of FIG. 9 showing a sealing mechanism for selectively sealing and unsealing an access opening.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIG. 1, a sleeping bag 10 according to one preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown. As in a conventional sleeping bag, the sleeping bag 10 is made with material that is configurable to form a shell 11. The shell has a first “head” end 12, a second “foot” end 14, a first side 16, a second side 18, a lower portion 20 and an upper portion 22. The foot end, sides, and the upper and lower portions define an interior space (not numbered) configured to receive, cover, and enclose a user's body between upper and lower portions 22, 20.

In a conventional sleeping bag, the upper and lower portions 20, 22 are typically zippered each other with a peripheral zipper (not shown) running typically along the second end 14 and the second side 18, and sometimes along first side 16 if the upper and lower portions 20, 22 are not integral or otherwise permanently attached to each other. When the upper and lower portions 22, 20 are configured into a shell, such as by folding them over each other and zippering them together along at least one end and one side, their edges define an end opening 24 at the first “head” end 12 in a conventional sleeping bag to permit the user to extend his body into the interior space. It will also be understood that a sleeping bag system may be provided with separate upper and lower portions that are attached together such as by a zipper.

In accordance with the present invention, a number of longitudinally spaced, laterally extending, body segment access openings 26a-26d are defined in the upper portion 22 between the first end 12 and the second end 14. The upper portion 22 will also be sometimes referred to herein as a sleep cover and also referred to as a member. The body segment access openings 26 are each sized, located and configured to permit the user to extend various body segments through the shell into or out of the interior sleeping space to thereby control which body segments are inside the interior space during sleep and which are kept on top of the bag for additional temperature control and comfort. “Body segments” herein refers to the entire body in a specific region and not just to an appendage in that region. For example, the “feet body segment” means both feet from substantially the ankles down, the “legs body segment” means both legs, from substantially the waist down to substantially the ankles, the “torso body segment” means the torso from substantially the neck to substantially the waist, and the “head body segment” means the head from the top of the head to substantially the neck. With the body segment access openings 26, it is not necessary to have a zipper along the outer periphery of the upper and lower portions to permit body segment access into the interior space, nor is it necessary to have the end opening 24 because the user can have body segment access to the interior space through the body segment access openings 26.

In contrast to the end opening 24 of a conventional sleeping bag, which is defined by the shell but is not an opening through the shell, the body segment access openings 26 are openings in and through the shell itself. Thus, unlike the end opening 24, which disappears when the upper and lower portions 22, 20 forming the shell 11 are unzippered and unfolded (and the interior space no longer defined), the body segment access openings 26 do not disappear when the bag is unfolded because they are defined in and through the shell.

In order to facilitate easily extending various body segments into or out of the interior compartment, the body segment access openings 26 are preferably longitudinally spaced apart and defined in locations corresponding generally to the user's ankle area, knee area, waist area, and chest area. The body segment access openings 26 also preferably extend substantially across the lateral dimension of upper portion 22, i.e., more than three fourths the distance from the first side 16 to the second side 18.

For example, in a second (tapered) sleeping bag 50 embodiment of the present invention, shown in FIG. 8, each of the body segment access openings 66a-e extend substantially across the lateral dimension of the upper portion 62 from first side 56 to second side 58 at the location where each opening is defined. The body segment access opening 66d spans substantially the lateral dimension of the upper portion 62 at the chest area so as to comfortably permit the user place his body segments up to his chest through the access opening into the interior space. Likewise, the body segment access openings 66c, 66b and 66a, similarly extend substantially across the lateral dimension of the upper portion 62 at the waist, knee, and ankle areas to permit the user to respectively place his body segments up to his waist, knees, or ankles comfortably into or out of the interior space of the bag. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 8, the upper portion 62 defines an additional body segment access opening 66e corresponding to the neck area of the user, and which is sized and configured to permit the user to place all his body segments below his neck area into the interior space.

With the addition of the body segment access openings 26, the user is now provided, in accordance with the present invention, with a multiple-entry/egress sleeping bag for adjustable body coverage. The plurality of body segment access openings permit the user to extend corresponding body segments into or out of the interior space and thereby vary which body segments are within the internal space versus laying on top of the bag.

The user simply selects which body segments he wishes to have covered and uses the corresponding access opening to pass through the body segment that he wants covered into the interior space and the body segments that he wants to have uncovered out of the interior space. For example, if the user wants to be covered from his neck or chest down to his ankles but have his feet uncovered, then he simply opens the body segment access opening corresponding to his neck or chest and feet, slides his body into the interior space through the neck or chest opening, and has his feet exit the interior space through the ankle opening.

With the selective use of the corresponding body segment access openings, for example, the user can cover just his feet, just his feet and legs, just his feet, legs and chest, his entire body all the way up to his neck, or everything but his feet. Moreover, any region of the upper portion 22 that is not being used to cover a body segment may be used in conjunction with the lower portion 20 for added padding beneath the user's back. Extra padding may even be provided beneath the head by the upper portion if the sleeping bag is of sufficient length.

In FIG. 2, for example, the user is shown in covering only his feet body segment by placing his feet into the interior space of the bag 10 through access opening 26d. Similarly, the user is shown in FIG. 3 as covering his leg and feet body segments by placing his body from the waist down into the interior space through body segment access opening 26b. In FIG. 4, the user is shown covering his torso and legs body segments by placing the same into the interior space through body segment access opening 26a and having his feet body segment uncovered by exiting his feet from the interior space through body segment access opening 26d.

In FIG. 2, the user has the extra padding from his ankles to his head that is provided by the upper portion 22 beneath him in the region between end 12 and body segment access opening 26d. Likewise, in FIG. 3, the user has the extra padding from his waist to his head that is provided by the upper portion 22 beneath him in the region between end 12 and body segment access opening 26b. Similarly, in FIG. 4, the user has the extra padding from his chest to his head that is provided by the upper portion 22 beneath him in the region between end 12 and body segment access opening 26a.

In FIG. 8, the user is shown configuring himself in the sleeping bag 50 of the present invention to have his torso body segment covered by placing the same into the interior space through access opening 66e, having his leg body segment uncovered by exiting the interior space through access opening 66b, and having his feet body segment covered by placing his feet into the interior space through body segment access opening 66d. The upper portion 62 in the region between body segment access opening 58e and first end 52, as well as between access openings 58b and 58d, provides added padding beneath the user.

So that any body segment access opening that is not being used to permit a body segment entry to or egress from the interior space may be closed off, means 28 for selectively sealing and unsealing each of the body segment access openings 26 is also provided. While any suitable means for selectively sealing and unsealing the access opening may be used, preferably, such means is comfortable to the user, easy to use, and durable. Some present examples of such means include selectively engageable and disengeable (1) hook and loop fastener strips, (2) opposite polarity flexible magnetic strips, or (3) flexible soft rubber zipper strips.

In FIGS. 5-7, means 28 for selectively sealing and unsealing a body segment access opening is provided with overlapping and selectively engageable and disengeable strips of hook and loop fasteners 30, 32 running substantially the length of the access opening. The hook fastener strip 30 is affixed, such as by sewing, to an extension strip 34 that is itself affixed to or integral with the upper portion 22 “A” side.

The extension strip 34 may be made of the same material as the upper portion 22 or may be made of a different sufficiently durable material such as nylon. The loop fastener strip 32 is shown affixed directly to the upper portion 22 on the “B” side in a location that will permit the hook fastener strip 30 to engage the loop fastener strip 32 when the access opening is sealed. It is understood that the loop fastener strip could also be attached in a different manner to the upper portion “B” side, such as by also being affixed to its own extension.

A cover strip 36 is affixed, such as by sewing, to the upper portion 22 “A” side adjacent to the extension 34. When the hook and loop fastener strips 30, 32 are engaged, as shown in FIGS. 5 and 7, the cover strip 36 is pushed out of the way.

As best shown in FIG. 7, when the hook and loop fastener strips 30, 32 are disengaged to unseal a body segment access opening, the cover strip 36 covers the hook fastener 30 strip so that it does not engage the loop fastener strip 32 or the user's clothing. The cover strip 36 may be made of any suitable material that can itself grip to the hook fasteners, or further include small spaced apart swatches 38 of loop fasteners attached thereto that engage the hook fastener strip 30 so that the cover strip may securely cover the hook fastener strip. The hook and loop fastener strip material is selected so as to form a secure seal that will not come unsealed during the sleep yet having a reasonable break away tension so that the user need not struggle to unseal the body segment access opening when desired.

Alternatively, the hook and loop fastener strips may be replaced with other suitable means to selectively seal and unseal the access opening such as flexible magnetic strips of opposite polarity. The flexible magnetic strips may be affixed to the upper portion in the same manner as the hook and loop fastener strips shown in FIG. 5-7 to selectively engage and disengage and thereby seal and unseal a body segment access opening 26. Alternatively, the magnetic strip substituting for the loop fastener strip may be affixed to an inside surface of the upper portion, rather than on an outer surface. Again, the magnetic strength of magnetic strips should provide secure sealing without undue breakaway tension.

Soft rubber zipper strips may alternatively be used instead of hook and loop fastener strips or flexible magnetic strips to provide means for selectively sealing and unsealing a body segment access opening. Under this scenario, for example, a closed end coil nylon zipper arrangement, with the engageable teeth strips affixed to the “A” and “B” side can be used.

In a non-limiting example, shown in FIGS. 9-10, sleeping bag 70 has a lower portion 72 and an upper portion 82. Each of the body segment access openings 86 a-d extend substantially across the lateral dimension of the sleeping bag 70 from first side 76 to second side 78 at the location where a desired opening is located. The body segment access opening 86a spans substantially the lateral dimension of the upper portion 82 at the chest area so as to comfortably permit the user to place his body segments up to his chest through the access opening into the interior space. Likewise, the body segment access openings 86b, 86c and 86d, similarly extend substantially across the lateral dimension of the upper portion 82 at the waist, knee, and ankle areas to permit the user to respectively place his body segments up to his waist, knees, or ankles comfortably into or out of the interior space of the bag. In the example shown in FIG. 9, a sealing device such as selectively engageable zipper 90 may be used to seal and/or unseal access openings 86 a-d. Zipper 90 may be made from a material including, but not limited to, metal, plastic, and rubber. As shown in detail A in FIG. 10, in one example, zipper 90 comprises teeth strips 91 and 92 that are actuated by sliders 93 and 94. The configuration shown in FIG. 10 comprises a zipper closed at both ends with head to head sliders. Any other suitable configuration may be used. In one embodiment, zipper teeth 91 and 92 may be made of a luminescent glow in the dark material to enhance sleeping bag visibility at night. Alternatively, sliders 93 and 94 may be made of a luminescent glow in the dark material. In another example, zippers 91 and 92 and sliders 93 and 94 may be made of a luminescent glow in the dark material. In another example, any combination of zipper parts may be made of a luminescent material.

As in a conventional sleeping bag, a sleeping bag of the present invention may be made of any suitable material such as fabric or nylon as just two examples. Moreover, the material making up any portion of the bag need not be the same as the material making up any other portion. It will be understood, for example, that the material making up the bottom surface portion 20 may be softer, more padded or more breathable than the material making up the upper portion 22, which may be more waterproof.

It will be understood that a sleeping bag of the present invention can be adapted for domestic use. In such an embodiment, the material forming the portions 20, 22 may be lighter, need not be breathable or waterproof, and may be made of any conventional sheet, blanket, or comforter material. In this embodiment, like a sleeping bag, a zipper may be provided to permit a closed shell to be formed when the portions 20, 22 are overlapped and zipped together. Alternatively, the zipper need not be provided and an open shell formed by simply folding the upper portion 22 over the lower portion 20.

It is contemplated that, where not required, the lower portion 20 may be eliminated entirely and the upper portion 22 used alone as a sleep cover. In such an embodiment, it will be understood that no peripheral zipper or other means for attaching to the lower portion 20 is necessary. Thus, blankets and comforters can be outfitted with body segment access openings to permit the user to decide how which body segments underlie the sleep cover and which overlie the sleep cover, in the same manner as the user would decide how much of his body and which body segments to cover in a full sleeping bag of the present invention.

To manufacture a sleep cover in accordance with the present invention, all that is necessary is to provide the sleep cover sized to cover a user's body and to define one or more body segment access openings in said sleep cover corresponding to body segments of the user's body that the user may wish to have overlie or underlie the covering, as show above in connection with the upper portion of a sleeping bag.

It will be understood that in the practice of the present invention, the user need not actually sleeping to enjoy the benefits of the present invention but may enjoy the body temperature control provided thereby while awake.

While the invention has been disclosed in various preferred forms, the specific embodiments thereof as disclosed and illustrated herein are considered as illustrative only of the principles of the invention and are not to be considered in a limiting sense in interpreting the claims. The claims are intended to include all novel and non-obvious combinations and sub-combinations of the various elements, features, functions, and/or properties disclosed herein.

Variations in size, materials, shape, form, function and manner of operation, assembly and use, are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one skilled in the art, and all equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the specification are intended to be encompassed in the following claims defining the present invention. Thus, it shall be understood that while this invention has been described with respect of various specific examples and embodiments, the invention is not limited thereto and that it can be variously practiced within the scope of the following claims.





 
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