Title:
Backpack frame suited for toting heavy, large, or irregular loads
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A backpack frame has a front frame member in a front plane and a rear frame member in a rear plane that is spaced rearwardly of the front frame member. At least one spacer is connected between the frame members to hold the rear frame member in spaced relationship behind the front frame member. The rear frame member defines a load stand-off element at the rear plane to contact the load and to hold the load away from the body and legs of the user while the user is walking. One or more shoulder-engaging members such as a pair of straps is positioned for placement on the shoulders of the user and a flexible back-engaging panel member is connected in position to rest against the user's back below the shoulders to place a user's back at or forward of the front plane. A load-carrying support member on the backpack frame extends at least as far rearwardly as the rear plane to carry the load. The load support member can be one or more hooks having a straight rearwardly extending portion with an upper surface to carry the load and an upwardly extending projection spaced rearwardly of the rear plane to prevent the load from sliding rearwardly on the support member.



Inventors:
Teeters, William S. (Boyd, WI, US)
Application Number:
11/396005
Publication Date:
10/04/2007
Filing Date:
04/03/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/635
International Classes:
A45F3/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20030034366Holder for a concealed handgunFebruary, 2003Sloan
20080156838Wheelchair basketJuly, 2008Johnson
20090127307MAT FOR CHANGING DIAPERMay, 2009Austwick et al.
20080149672Baby bottle tetherJune, 2008Frauhiger
20090199939Purse with Wrist AttachmentAugust, 2009Pruzhansky
20080223891BABY BAG CONVERTIBLE INTO BASSINETSeptember, 2008Pistiolis et al.
20090008420Container, Especially Case, Box, Crate, Basket, Bag or the LikeJanuary, 2009Zimmermann et al.
20090266857REAL ESTATE SIGN CARRIEROctober, 2009Dennis
20070068987Utility bag carrierMarch, 2007Whitehead III et al.
20080292303ENHANCED CAMERA TRANSPORT SYSTEM AND METHODNovember, 2008Kope et al.
20060273127Waterproof mail bagDecember, 2006Simms



Primary Examiner:
VANTERPOOL, LESTER L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DeWitt LLP (Minneapolis, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A backpack frame comprising, at least one front frame member in a front plane, at least one rear frame member in a rear plane that is spaced rearwardly of the front frame member, at least one spacer connected between the frame members to hold the rear frame member in spaced relationship a predetermined distance behind a front frame member, a shoulder-engaging member positioned on the backpack frame for placement on the shoulders of the user, a flexible back-engaging member connected to the backpack frame and positioned to rest against the back of the user below the shoulders to position the user's back at or forward of the front plane, a load-carrying support member on the backpack frame that extends rearwardly at least as far as the rear plane to support a load to be carried thereby, and the rear frame member defines a load stand-off element at the rear plane to contact the load and hold the load away from the back and legs of the user while the user is walking.

2. The backpack frame of claim 1 wherein the support member is a hook having a rearwardly extending portion with an upper surface to carry the load and an upwardly extending projection spaced rearwardly of the rear plane to prevent the load from sliding rearwardly on the support member.

3. The frame of claim 1 wherein the front frame member comprises a pair of vertically disposed laterally spaced apart frame members and the back-engaging member is connected to extend therebetween.

4. The backpack frame of claim 1 wherein the rear frame member in the rear plane includes at least one generally upright element that is connected at its upper and lower ends to the spacer.

5. The frame of claim 1 wherein the load-carrying support member comprises a pair of rearwardly extending laterally spaced apart generally horizontally disposed hook elements each with a projection that extends upwardly from a rear end thereof that is spaced rearwardly of the rear plane to prevent the load from sliding on the backpack frame.

6. A backpack frame comprising, a pair of laterally spaced apart front frame elements with a back-engaging member suspended therebetween to contact the back of the user below the shoulders to position the user's back at or forward of a front plane defined by the front frame elements, a spacer assembly including an upper spacer element that extends rearwardly proximate an upper end of the front frame elements and a lower spacer element that extends rearwardly from the lower end of the front frame elements for defining a rear plane, a rear frame member located at the rear plane as a load stand-off element at the rear plane that is spaced apart from the front plane to contact the load and to hold the load away from body and legs of the user while the user is walking.

7. The backpack frame of claim 6 including a support member comprising a hook having a rearwardly extending portion with an upper surface to carry the load and an upwardly extending projection spaced at or rearwardly of the rear plane to prevent the load from sliding rearwardly on the support member.

8. The backpack frame of claim 6 wherein the rear frame member in the rear plane includes at least one vertical element that is connected at its upper and lower ends to the spacer assembly.

9. The frame of claim 6 wherein including a load-carrying support member that comprises a pair of rearwardly extending laterally spaced apart horizontally disposed tubes each with a projection that extends upwardly from a rear end thereof and is spaced rearwardly of the rear plane to prevent the load from sliding on the backpack frame.

10. A backpack frame comprising, a pair of vertically disposed laterally spaced apart front frame members in a front plane, a flexible back-engaging panel suspended between the front frame members and positioned to rest against the back of the user to position the user's back at or forward of the front plane, a pair of laterally spaced apart vertically disposed rear frame members positioned in a rear plane that is spaced rearwardly of the front frame members with at least one spacer connected between the frame members to hold the rear frame members in spaced relationship behind the front frame members, a lifting member connected to the backpack frame and positioned to rest on the body of the user, and a load-carrying element on the backpack frame that extends rearwardly at least as far rearward as the rear plane to support a load to be carried thereby.

11. The backpack frame of claim 10 wherein the load-carrying element is a rod or tube that extends rearwardly thereon with an upper surface to carry the load and an upwardly extending projection spaced rearwardly of the rear plane to prevent the load from sliding rearwardly thereon.

12. The backpack frame of claim 10 wherein the rear frame members in the rear plane are rigidly connected at their upper and lower ends to one such spacer.

13. The frame of claim 10 wherein the load-carrying element comprises a pair of straight rearwardly extending laterally spaced apart generally horizontally disposed hook elements each with a tab that extends upwardly from a rear end thereof and is spaced rearwardly of the rear plane to prevent the load from sliding rearwardly on the backpack frame.

14. The frame of claim 10 wherein the lifting member includes a pair of straps each connected at an upper end to the spacer and at a lower end to one of the front frame members.

15. The frame of claim 1 wherein the rear plane and the rear frame member are positioned relative to the front frame member at an acute angle in which the rear frame member is inclined so as to project rearwardly at a lower end thereof with respect to the front frame member.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to backpacks and backpack frames and more particularly to a backpack frame that is especially well suited for carrying heavy loads, large loads, and irregularly shaped loads.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The backpack frames that are currently available for carrying hunting and camping equipment or survival gear are not well suited for carrying large, heavy, or irregularly shaped loads. This is a problem particularly in carrying hunting equipment such as a ladder stand or tree stand for hunting game like deer, elk, bear, etc. A tree stand, or ladder stand as it is sometimes called, consists of an extendable steel or aluminum ladder that is folded up prior to use and has a platform at its upper end which can be used alone, hung from a tree, or simply leaned against a tree or other object. When folded, a typical steel or aluminum ladder stand is about five to six feet in height, may weigh about 65-90 pounds or more, and sometimes has to be carried through the woods for more than a mile. In developing the present invention, the applicant evaluated commercially available backpack frame devices and found them to be inadequate for carrying a five-foot high folded ladder stand that weighed upward of 80 pounds. One of the problems is the discomfort that can be caused by the ladder stand pressing against the back of the user. Another problem is an opportunity for the ladder stand to dig into the lower part of the back or buttocks. It was also found that while walking, the backs of the legs could contact the lower part of the folded ladder stand. This interferes with a person's natural stride while walking. A further problem is the discomfort that can be caused by the upper part of a load swinging toward the rear so as to pull back on the shoulders. Prior frames are also poorly suited for toting articles of an irregular shape, especially those having corners or other projections that in previous backpacks can press against the user's body. Consequently, it is virtually impossible to carry a large or heavy object such as a deer hunter's ladder stand with comfort using a commercially available backpack frame.

In view of these and other deficiencies of the prior art, it is one object of the present invention to provide a backpack frame that is well suited for carrying large, heavy, or irregularly shaped loads such as a folding ladder stand or tree stand of the kind used by hunters.

Another object of the invention is to provide an improved backpack frame for large and heavy loads that is suited for a wide range of applications, e.g., carrying hunting or fishing gear, construction equipment, tools, camping equipment, or survival gear, and other heavy loads.

Still another object of the invention is the provision of a backpack frame that enables a person to carry a heavy load comfortably and to find a way of keeping a lower portion of the load that hangs down below the waist away from contacting the back of the legs of the user so that the user is able to walk comfortably with a natural stride.

Another object of the invention is the provision of a backpack frame for carrying heavy loads or loads with projecting parts that keeps the load from touching or pressing against the back of the user.

Another object is to provide a backpack frame that is light in weight yet rugged in construction and reliably supports a heavy load that may extend above the head of the user as well as below the waist and behind the legs.

A still further object of the invention is to provide a backpack frame that can be used by hunters, campers, contractors, fishermen, etc., that comfortably supports a large, irregularly shaped load that is awkward to handle in a manner that will not interfere with walking.

These and other more detailed and specific objects of the present invention will be better understood by reference to the following Figures and detailed description which illustrate by way of example but a few of the various forms of the invention within the scope of the appended claims.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a backpack frame having a front frame member in a front plane and a rear frame member in a rear plane that is located rearwardly of the front frame member. At least one spacer is connected between the frame members to hold the rear frame member in spaced relationship behind the front frame member. A forwardly extending shoulder-engaging member is positioned for placement on the shoulders of the user. A flexible back-engaging member such as a panel is connected to the backpack frame and is positioned to rest against the user's back below the shoulders to position a user's back at or forward of the front plane. The rear frame member defines a load stand-off element at the rear plane to contact the load and to hold it away from the body and legs of the user while the user is walking. A load-carrying support member provided on the backpack frame extends at least as far rearwardly as the rear plane to support a load to be carried. The support member can be a hook having a rearwardly extending straight portion with an upper surface to carry the load and an upwardly extending projection spaced rearwardly of the rear plane to prevent the load from sliding rearwardly on the support member.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a rear perspective view of the invention.

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the invention on a larger scale.

FIG. 4 is a left side elevational view of the invention showing a forward part of the load in dashed lines, and

FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of the invention on a smaller scale as it appears during use with a load in dashed lines supported thereon.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

To provide a solution to problems that characterize the prior art, I provide a backpack frame with a front frame member in a front plane and behind it a rear frame member in a rear plane that is preferably located several inches behind the front frame member. I provide at least one spacer between the frame members to hold the rear frame member away from the front frame member. The rear frame member can be thought of as a load stand-off element at the rear plane to contact the load and to hold the load away from the body and legs of the user while the user is walking. A shoulder-engaging member is positioned for placement on the shoulders of the user and a flexible back-engaging member such as a panel that can be formed from a sheet of open mesh fabric is connected to the backpack frame and is positioned to rest against the user's back below the shoulders to position a user's back at or forward of the front plane. I also provide one or more load-carrying support members on the backpack frame. Each load support member should extend at least as far rearwardly as the rear plane to support a load to be carried behind the rear frame member. The load support member can be a hook having a straight rearwardly extending horizontal portion with an upper surface upon which the load rests and an upwardly extending projection spaced rearwardly of the rear plane to prevent the load from sliding rearwardly on the support member.

Refer now to the Figures which illustrate a backpack frame 10 in accordance with the invention that includes at least one front frame member. In the embodiment illustrated, a pair of vertically disposed, laterally spaced apart front frame members 12 and 14 are formed from lightweight steel tubing such as 16 gauge ¾″ or 1″ tubing having rubber or plastic caps 16 secured to their upper and lower ends. The front frame members 12 and 14 lie in a front plane 18 (see FIG. 4). Between the frame members 12 and 14 is stretched a flexible back-engaging member, in this case a flexible panel 20 formed from open mesh nylon plastic fabric, e.g., Leno™ mesh which is held in place by laterally stretched lacing 22 at each side that extends around the upright tubular frame members 12 and 14. During use, the back panel 20 is positioned to rest against the back of the user below the shoulders to position the user's back at or forward of the front plane 18. If desired, the panel 20 can instead be one or more horizontally extending flexible bands or straps that are connected at each end to the upright frame members 12 and 14 rather than a single sheet of panel material 20.

Spaced rearwardly from the front frame members 12 and 14 and the front plane 18 is at least one rear frame member. In this case, I provide a pair of laterally spaced apart, generally upright and parallel rear frame tubes 24 and 26 which are positioned in a rear plane 28 that is spaced rearwardly of the front plane 18. At least one spacer member, in this case a pair of vertically spaced apart, generally horizontally disposed spacer members comprising steel tubes 30 and 32 are connected, e.g., by welding between the front and rear frame members to hold the rear frame members 24 and 26 several inches behind the front frame members 12 and 14 so as to establish the positions of the front and rear planes 18 and 28.

In a preferred form of the invention, the rear plane is typically between about two to twelve inches behind the front plane 18, and most preferably between about three and six inches to the rear of the front plane 18. In the most preferred form of the invention, the rear plane 28 is positioned on an incline and at an acute angle of, say, 5°-20°, in this case 10° from the front plane 18 with its lower end angled rearwardly. In the embodiment illustrated in the Figures, spacer 30 holds the rear frame members 24 and 26 about three inches behind the front frame members 12 and 14 at the top and lower spacer 32 holds the rear frame members about four or five inches apart from the front frame members near the bottom of the unit whereby the lower part of the load is inclined so as to proceed rearwardly away from the user's legs.

As shown best in FIG. 3, the spacers 30 and 32 each have a generally C-shaped configuration. Spacer 30 has two lateral bends 30a and the spacer 32 has two bends 32a. The spacers 30 and 32 are welded at their ends to the front tubes 12 and 14 and near the bends 30a and 32a to the rear frame members 24 and 26 for establishing a predetermined spacing between the plane 18 of the front frame members and plane 28 of the rear frame members. As is best seen in FIGS. 4 and 5, the rear frame members 24 and 26 define a load stand-off element at the rear plane 28 which contacts a load indicated generally by numeral 40 (only the front edge of which is shown in FIG. 4) to hold the load 40 away from the body and legs of the user as the user is walking so that the user can maintain a normal walking stride without the back of the legs striking the lower portion 42 of the load which may extend a foot or two below the waist of the user. In a modified form of the invention, if several, say four to eight, of the spacers 30, 32 are used, their rear edges will define the rear plane 28 and serve as rear frame members so as to replace the tubes 24 and 26 which can then be eliminated.

The load 40 is carried by at least one load-carrying support member. As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, a pair of load-carrying support brackets 44 and 46 formed from metal tubing are welded or otherwise firmly secured to the rear frame members 24 and 26. The load-carrying support brackets 44 and 46 are generally horizontal and extend at least as far rearwardly as the rear plane 28 and most preferably extend rearwardly from the rear plane 28 several inches, in this case about six inches to carry the load 40. The rearwardly extending horizontal portions of support members 44 and 46 act as hooks with upper surfaces that carry the load 40 and have upwardly extending projections such as tabs 48 and 50 that are welded in place at or behind the rear plane 28 to prevent the load from sliding rearwardly on the support bracket tubes 44 and 46.

To hold the backpack frame on the back, at least one shoulder-engaging member is provided for placement on the shoulders of the user. The shoulder-engaging member in this case comprises a pair of forwardly extending straps 52 and 54 which are fastened in any secure manner, e.g., by bolts 56 and 58 at their upper ends to the spacer 30 and by means of bolts 60 and 62 at their lower ends to the front frame members 12 and 14 respectively.

The best way to use the invention is to place the backpack frame 10 on the ground, attach the load 40, then kneel, put on the shoulder straps, and stand up. In FIGS. 4 and 5 the load 40 illustrated is a hunter's tree stand or, as it is sometimes called, a ladder stand for elevating a hunter to a position for spotting and shooting game. The tree stand 40 can be carried by placing one of the rungs of the ladder as shown at 40a on the support brackets 44 and 46 so that the projections 48 and 50 extend upwardly behind the rung 40a to prevent the load from sliding rearwardly on the brackets. It will be seen that the lower end 42 of the load rests against the lower edge of the rear frame members 24 and 26 a substantial distance behind the front plane 18 as already noted. This holds the load 40 away from the body and legs of the user while the user is walking so that the user can maintain a comfortable walking posture and a regular walking stride without his legs bumping into the lower portion 42 of the load 40.

The invention allows a person to carry a large or heavy load such as the ladder stand shown or other camping equipment, as well as any of a variety of other articles such as construction equipment, tools, survival gear, or other large, heavy, or irregular objects comfortably and with a natural stride. It is light, rugged in construction, and reliable in operation. It can be manufactured inexpensively, it is compact, easy to use, and enables a person to carry loads that were previously very difficult to manage. The invention also has the advantage of keeping irregularly shaped loads or loads with corners or surface extensions from jabbing into the body of the person carrying them.

Many variations of the present invention within the scope of the appended claims will be apparent to those skilled in the art once the principles described herein are understood.