Title:
Padded stake cover
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A stake cover has been designed that consists of fabric that fits over the stake, with a slitted side opening that permits the rope to be secured to the stake while the covering is in place, and one or more VELCRO™ type fasteners to secure the stake covering to the stake without interference from the rope. In one embodiment, the stake covering is made of a reflective or fluorescent material, or incorporates a reflector, battery operated lights or flag(s) to further increase visibility. In another embodiment, the stake covering includes padding to further prevent injury in the event an individual trips over the covering. In one embodiment, the stake covering is formed of a waterproof, lightweight material that flattens for easy storage. A padded extender may also be used with the padded stake cover.



Inventors:
Carter, Keith (Sharpsburg, GA, US)
Application Number:
11/259504
Publication Date:
04/26/2007
Filing Date:
10/26/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
150/160
International Classes:
E04H15/62
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
YIP, WINNIE S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Pabst Patent Group LLP (ATLANTA, GA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A stake covering comprising a padding covering which generally conforms to the shape of a stake covering, the padded covering comprising one or more slitted opening extending upward from the bottom of the covering, and the slitted opening comprising one or more means for securing the opening closed around a rope extending from the stake outward from the covering.

2. The stake covering of claim 1 comprising a waterproof or water resistant padded fabric.

3. The stake covering of claim 1 comprising polyfoam padding.

4. The stake covering of claim 1 comprising means for increasing visibility selected from the group consisting of flags, reflective material, and lights.

5. The stake covering of claim 1 wherein the measure for securing the opening comprises VELCRO™ type fasteners.

6. The stake covering of claim 1 comprising a padded covering, a single slitted opening, and multiple fasteners positioned along the slitted opening with sufficient space between fasteners to allow a rope to extend between the fasteners.

7. The stake covering of claim 1 in combination with a padded extender.

8. A padded extender for use with a padded stake cover, comprising a padded sleeve, the padded sleeve comprising a slitted opening running the entire length of the padded sleeve, the padded sleeve in a circular or oblong shape to form a covering around a tent state, and fasteners to close the slitted opening.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This application is generally in the field of improved stake covers that are highly visible and safer.

Tents are routinely used by vendors, at outdoor exhibitions, and by campers. These are usually suspended on tent poles, which are then secured by ropes leading away and down from the top of the outward tent poles to stakes placed in the ground. The stakes can be as simple as short lengths of rebar hammered into the ground or more elaborate molded stakes having hooks for securing the rope and for leveraging the stake back out of the ground.

In all cases, the rope and stake represent an obstacles to those passing around the tents, especially in crowded venues such as fairs and exhibitions. Invariably someone will trip on the rope and/or stake and fall. Injury is greatly aggravated by falling onto the stake, which can cause severe injury to exposed tissue.

The danger posed by the stakes is well known. Efforts to ameliorate the risk include placing highly visible flags on the stakes or ropes, covering the stake with a cover, such as that described by U.S. Pat. No. 5,197,506 to Morin, U.S. Pat. No. 6,691,479 to Tscharner, NL1000058C by Europlan International BV, and U.S. Pat. No. 4,972,864 to Almond, or covering the stake and rope with a slotted plate, as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,814,118 to Larson.

These all are made of hard materials such as metal, plastic, rubber or wood, which can also cause injury if a person falls on them.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a safer, more visible, and softer means of covering stakes.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a stake cover that is easy to attach and remove from a stake.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a stake cover that is cheap and easy to manufacture, made with readily available materials, and which can be modified easily to include features such as battery powered lights, flags, or reflectors to further increase visibility, especially in the dark.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A stake cover has been designed that consists of fabric that fits over the stake, with a slitted side opening that permits the rope to be be secured to the stake while the covering is in place, and one or more VELCRO™ type fasteners to secure the stake covering to the stake without interference from the rope. In one embodiment, the stake covering is made of a reflective or fluorescent material, or incorporates a reflector, battery operated lights or flag(s) to further increase visibility. In another embodiment, the stake covering includes padding to further prevent injury in the event an individual trips over the covering. In one embodiment, the stake covering is formed of a waterproof, lightweight material that flattens for easy storage. The stake cover can also include an extender, for use in those cases where the stakes extend for an unusually large degree above the ground.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a prospective view of a stake covering showing the slitted opening secured in a closed form by three VELCRO™ type fasteners.

FIG. 1B is a prospective view of a stake covering showing the VELCRO™ type fasteners in an open unfastened position.

FIG. 1C is a side prospective view of the stake covering showing the three VELCRO™ type fasteners.

FIG. 2A is a prospective view of a hooked stake.

FIGS. 2B and 2C are prospective views of an oblong doubled slitted stake covering.

FIG. 3 is a prospective view of an extendible collar.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

I. Stake Covering

The stake covering is shaped to conform to most stakes. It will generally by cylindrical in shape, although it may be square, rectangular or oblong. It will include one or two slitted openings that allow the stake covering to be slipped over the top of the stake before or after a rope has been secured to the stake. The slitted opening can be positioned at one location or at opposite locations. Although the slitted opening can extend the entire length of the stake covering it preferably extends only partially up the side of the covering, leaving the padded top of the cover as an integral piece. In the most preferred embodiment, the slit extends no less than one inch from the top of the stake cover. The slitted opening can include reinforced areas, which may be parallel to the slitted opening or may be in the form of half grommets or circular areas that conform with the shape of the rope extending into the stake.

FIGS. 1A-1C show a cylindrical type stake covering 10 with single slit 12 that is secured with three VELCRO™ type fasteners 14a, 14b, 14c. The stake covering may include one or more VELCRO™ type fasteners, typically no more than five. Although depicted as extending perpendicularly to the slitted opening, the fasteners can be placed parallel to the slitted opening, along the insides of the slit.

As shown in FIGS. 2A-2C, the stake covering 20 may be oblong to fit over a stake with a hook 18 to secure a rope 16. Since the rope 16 may extend outward from either side of the stake 18, one slit 24 is left secured with the VELCRO™ type fasteners 14a, 14b, 14c when the cover 20 is applied over the stake 18, then the VELCRO™ type fasteners 14d, 14e, 14f secured in place at the slitted opening 26 in which the rope extends.

Other closure means than VELCRO™ type fasteners can be used. These can be a clips, straps secured to a snap, button or rivet, ties, or other means known to those skilled in the art to close two pieces of material.

The stake covering is generally sized to cover most standard stakes, which may extend upward from 6 to 24 inches, most typically about 6 to 12 inches. The covering may be made larger or smaller as required, however.

The stake covering is preferably formed of a tough tear resistant fabric such as canvas or a polypropylene or nylon shell. In a preferred embodiment, the stake covering is formed of a padded fabric, such as a nylon shell over two to three inches of polyfoam padding, although it can include instead a plastic, cardboard or leather liner or sheet to increase protection from the underlying stake. In the most preferred embodiment, the padding is primarily located on the top portion of the stake covering. In another preferred embodiment, the material is waterproof.

Although the padding is most essential on the top of the stake covering, it may form the entire stake cover, or a portion of the sides of the stake cover, as well as on the tope.

In a preferred embodiment, the stake covering is brightly colored or includes reflective material. Alternatively, it can include reflective materials, reflectors, or have lights sewn into or glued onto the fabric. In a preferred embodiment, these are battery powered. These are commercially available and can be powered using the same types of circuits and batteries as used to heat hunter's wool socks. Flags can also be attached to the stake coverings at the top, via the VELCRO™ type fasteners, or even attached to a flag 28 which is slid down inside the stake covering until it is positioned on the stake, then pulled up for increased visibility, as shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B.

II. Extendible Collar

Although stakes are supposed to be inserted into the ground so that only six to eight inches are left above the ground, this does not always happen. Sometimes a significantly longer amount of stake protrudes upwardly from the ground. Although stake coverings may be sized to accommodate significant variation in the size of the stake to be covered, one can also use a padded collar or extender with the stake cover. A suitable extender is shown in FIG. 4.

The extender 40 is a padded column that is sized to accommodate a stake. It consists of a hollow tubular center 42 surrounded by padded material 46, which may include an opening 48 along one side to facilitate positioning of the extender over the stake, which can be secured by fasteners 44a, 44b.

III. Methods for Positioning Stake Covers

The stake covers are typically positioned over the stakes after these are inserted into the ground and the rope secured to the stake, although the order of placement can be varied. The stake cover is slipped over the stake with the VELCRO™ type fasteners unfastened, then these are fastened above and below the rope.

In the event an extender is used, the extender will be positioned first, then the stake cover secured to the top of the stake.

The stake covers are similarly removed by unstrapping the VELCRO™ type fasteners, then sliding the stake cover up. In the preferred embodiment, the stake covering is then stored flat.

Modifications and variations of the present invention will be obvious to those skilled in the art from the foregoing description.