Title:
Outdoor Equipment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A lightweight, collapsible foot pump made of a lightweight, collapsible material and filled with a foam like material which features large open cells to contain a large volume of air. The foam acting as a return spring for the pump.



Inventors:
Brensinger, Cam (Nashua, NH, US)
Application Number:
11/813897
Publication Date:
08/21/2008
Filing Date:
02/03/2006
Assignee:
NEMO Equipment, Inc. (Nashua, NH, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
30/308.1, 135/91, 135/114, 135/115, 135/118, 135/124
International Classes:
F04B43/00; A63B29/08; E04H15/14; E04H15/36; E04H15/54; E04H15/60; E04H15/62
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GATZEMEYER, RYAN JON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOURQUE & ASSOCIATES (MANCHESTER, NH, US)
Claims:
1. A light weight, collapsible air pump, comprising: an air pump enclosure made of a light weight, collapsible material and defining an interior region; a collapsible and expandable material generally filling said interior region, and adapted to contain a significant amount of air, said collapsible and expandable material serving as a spring for expanding said enclosure after it has been collapsed; a fill a valve for allowing a air to quickly enter said interior region of said air pump enclosure when said air pump enclosure moves from a collapsed position to an expanded position; and an air delivery port, fluidly coupled to said interior region of said air pump enclosure, for delivering air to an attached device when said air pump enclosure is collapsed.

2. The air pump of claim 1 wherein said collapsible and expandable material generally filling said interior region of said air pump enclosure includes foam.

3. The air pump of claim 1 wherein said air pump enclosure includes a bellows shaped fabric structure.

4. A hard shell tent comprising: a first tent half and a second tent half, said first tent half attached to said second tent half proximit one a region of the circumference of both said first and second tent half; first and second regions of said circumference of both said first and second tent halves proximate and extending from said attachment point each including a first and second tent half joining devices; each of said first and second tent halves comprising first and second tent quarters, each first and second tent quarter coupled approximate one edge by a soft, flexible material, for allowing said first-quarter to fold onto said second quarter, and for said first half to fold on to said second half.

5. The hard shell tent of claim 4 wherein each tenant half has an elliptical shape.

6. The hard shell tent of claim 4 wherein said tent half joining devices include zippers.

7. A tube like shelter comprising: a spiral spring-like frame structure, said spiral spring-like frame structure in the shape of the tube defining first and second openings; and a flexible and collapsible fabric material covering said spiral, spring-like frame structure, for defining a tube having at least a first opening to be used as a shelter.

8. A tent tie down loop comprising: A loop member having a first and a second end, said loop member divided into first and second sections, said first section being substantially larger than said second section, said first end of said first section attached to a tenant and comprised of a web like material; and said second section formed of a weblike material forming a small pocket through which may be inserted in object to assist in holding down the tent, said weblike material of said second section formed with a twist so as to better engage with said object inserted therein.

9. An ice screw comprising: Said ice screw comprising a shank portion and a handle portion; and A mechanism for releasably coupling said handle portion to said shank portion, for allowing said handle portion to be repositioned vis-á-vis the axis of said shank portion so as to allow the user to rotate said handle portion and said shank portion and to releasably disengage said handle portion from said shank portion for reorienting said handle portion vis-á-vis the shank portion.

10. The ice screw of claim 9 wherein said mechanism includes a slide actuated switch.

11. The ice screw of claim 9 wherein said mechanism includes a ratchet mechanism.

12. A mountaineering tool comprising: a head portion pivotably attached to a first end of a first shank portion; a second shank portion pivotably coupled proximate a first end to a second end of said first shank portion; and a handle portion pivotably coupled to a second end of said second shank portion.

13. The mountaineering tool of claim 12 wherein said head portion includes an ice pick.

14. A tent comprising: a tent wall having a first portion and a second portion, said first portion including a region overlapping a corresponding region of said second portion; and a strut mechanism, attached to one of said first or second portions, for maintaining an air ventilation space between said first portion and said second portion of said tent wall.

15. A pivotable tent pole comprising: a first tent pole having a first and coupled to a tent pole pivoting device; and a second tent pole having a first end coupled to said tent pole pivoting device, for allowing said first and second tent poles to pivot proximate their first ends relative to one another while maintaining said first and second tent poles in a fixed spaced relationship.

16. A tent comprising: a tent material for forming a tent shelter, said tent material including at least one tent pole receiving pocket, for receiving a generally rigid tent pole for forming an opening in said tent material.

17. The tent of claim 16 wherein said tent material includes a plurality of tent pole receiving sockets, for receiving a plurality of generally rigid tent poles.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to outdoor equipment and more particularly, relates to outdoor equipment such as tents, ice axes, inflatable tent stiffening members and foot pumps.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Outdoor enthusiasts are more prevalent today than in years past. More and more people are taking to the outdoors and taking part in various outdoor activities including, but not limited to, camping, bicycling, ice climbing, rock climbing and the like. Invariably, these people require equipment to partake in their selected sport. Most of these individuals are demanding strong, lightweight, and easy to use outdoor gear. Indeed in many sports, such as rock climbing or ice climbing, much of the outdoor equipment is the only thing as standing between life and death. Failure of the outdoor equipment can have devastating consequences. Accordingly, there is a need for high quality, easy to use, strong and lightweight outdoor equipment.

It is important to note that the present invention is not intended to be limited to a device or method which must satisfy one or more of any stated or implied objects or features of the invention. It is also important to note that the present invention is not limited to the preferred, exemplary, or primary embodiment(s) described herein. Modifications and substitutions by one of ordinary skill in the art are considered to be within the scope of the present invention, which is not to be limited except by the following claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the present invention will be better understood by reading the following detailed description, taken together with the drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of a foam filled the fabric pump according to one aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram illustrating the construction of the foam a filled the fabric pump of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an exploded diagram of a fill and dump valve in accordance with one aspect of the present invention;

FIGS. 4A-4E are schematic diagrams illustrating a hard or solid wall tent in accordance with one feature of the present invention and show how the tent would be disassembled and rolled into a carrying sack;

FIG. 5 is a schematic diagram illustrating the hard wall tent of the present invention during the first stage of disassembly or last stage of assembly;

FIG. 6 is a schematic diagram illustrating the hard wall tent of the present invention and yet a further stage of assembly or disassembly;

FIG. 7 is yet another schematic illustration of the hard wall tent of the present invention and other stage of disassembly or assembly;

FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram of the hard wall tent of the present invention fully assembled illustrating a door allowing access to the interior of the tent;

FIG. 9 is a schematic diagram illustrating the hard wall tent of the present invention rolled up and stored in the stuff sack for easy storing and carrying;

FIG. 10 is a schematic diagram of a fabric covered spring tube tent in accordance with one feature of the present invention;

FIG. 11 is a side view of the fabric covered spring tube tent of FIG. 10 in the collapsed condition;

FIG. 12 the fabric covered spring to a tent of the present invention in use;

FIG. 13 is a schematic view of a hard surface hold down device according to yet another feature of the present invention;

FIG. 14 is a schematic review of the hard surface hold down device of FIG. 12 upon which a rock, log or other device has been placed;

FIG. 15 is a schematic diagram all of an ice screw in accordance with the present invention having a sliding knob which engages the ice screw handle with the ice screw shaft;

FIG. 16 is a schematic diagram of another embodiment of an ice screw in accordance with the present invention which utilizes a ratchet mechanism to engage the handle with the ice screw shaft;

FIG. 17 is a side view of another embodiment of the ice screw according to the present invention;

FIG. 18 is side view of one embodiment of the tubular body of the ice screw shown in FIG. 17 according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 19 is a plan view of one embodiment of the handle/hanger and the moveable clip of the ice screw shown in FIG. 17 according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 20 is an isometric view of one embodiment of the handle/hanger shown in FIG. 17 according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 21 is a plan view of one embodiment of the handle/hanger and the moveable clip of the ice screw shown in FIG. 17 according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 22 is a side view of the ice screw shown in FIG. 21;

FIG. 23 is an isometric view of one embodiment of the moveable clip according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 24 is a side view of one embodiment of the moveable clip shown in FIG. 19;

FIG. 25 is an isometric view of one embodiment of the moveable clip according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 26 is a schematic diagram of an adjustable ax and pick in accordance with the other another embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 27 is a side perspective view of one embodiment of the adjustable axe according to the present invention;

FIG. 28 is a top perspective view of the adjustable axe shown in FIG. 27 according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 29 is a schematic diagram of a tent having an overlapping top door portion which takes the place of the vestibule;

FIG. 30 is a schematic drawing of the user entering the tent of FIG. 18 having an overlapping top door portion;

FIG. 31 is a schematic diagram of a tent having generally permanently attached hinged poles in accordance with one feature of the present invention;

FIG. 32 is a schematic diagram of another type of tent having generally permanently attached hinged poles in accordance with one feature of the present invention;

FIG. 33 is a schematic diagram of a dual axis hinge in accordance with one aspect of the present invention;

FIG. 34 is a schematic diagram showing the dual axis hinge of FIG. 33;

FIG. 35 is a schematic diagram of a single axis hinge according to another feature of the present invention;

FIG. 36 is a schematic diagram of a tent having rigid poles sewn into sleeves or pockets of a tent;

FIG. 37 illustrates a tent ready to be folded having a combination of sewn in and hinged poles in accordance with one feature of the present invention; and

FIG. 38 is a schematic diagram of a tent having an improved air beam suspension in accordance with one feature of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Many new tent designs are now utilizing their bladders as support structures for the tent. Unfortunately, however, the human lung cannot provide enough pressure to appropriately inflate the tent bladder. Accordingly, a pump of some sort must be used to in effect amplifier the long pressure. Since the lungs can only comfortably provide approximately one half pounds of pressure, 4 or 5 pounds are required to properly fill a tent bladder.

FIG. 1 illustrates a foot pump 10 in accordance with one feature of the present invention. The foot pump is made of a lightweight collapsible material, such as urethane coated fabric 12 and is filled with reticulated foam 14. The fabric material 12 this selected such that it can be easily assembled such as by sewing, gluing, RF welding and the like. The foam features very large open cells and contains approximately 97% air. The foam acts as the return spring for the pump 10. The pump 10 can easily be stored in the tent itself or placed into a stuff sack and carried to remote locations.

The preferred embodiment of the pump 10 includes a number of bellows or sections 16. Although in the preferred embodiment includes three sections 16, this is not a limitation of the present invention as one or more sections will suffice. The bellows prevent its upward deflection of the competent 10 wherein compressed. This assures that all of the air found in the bellows will be transferred out of the bellows.

In order to effectively use the pump of the present invention, a valve 18 must be provided which serves the function of allowing the bellows to quickly fill with air. The filling with air must be nearly instantaneous otherwise the user will have to wait an inordinate amount of time for the bellows to refill before the air can be squeezed or compressed out of the pump again.

Accordingly, the present invention solves this problem by providing a unique valve 18. As shown in greater detail in FIG. 3, the valve 18 includes a traditional quick dump valve 20 such as available from Hulkey Roberts as dump valve 650AD combined with the valve segment 22 which forms a check valve. The umbrella valve segment 22, such as available from the Vernay company, interfaces with valve platform 24. The tip or protrusion 26 of the valve segment 22 is inserted into opening 28 of the valve platform 24. Lastly, a semi-rigid ring 30 is provided against the bottom region 34 of the fabric material 32 to which the valve 18 is mounted.

To assemble a valve 18 of the present invention, the dump valve 20 is RF welded or otherwise attached to the top surface 36 of the fabric or other material 32 to which the valve 18 is mounted. Next, the umbrella valve segment 22 is mated with the valve platform 24. Finally, a semi rigid ring 30 having approximately the same as or slightly greater diameter than the valve 22 is provided and RF welded or otherwise attached to the under surface 34 of the fabric or other material 32 to which the valve 18 is attached. The semi rigid ring 30 serves to make sure that the fabric 32 remains open in the area of the valve 18 to be sure that the air can easily enter the valve 18 which serves as the refill valve. The valve support number 24 and the ring 30 are typically die cut pieces from sheet urethane or other similar material. Accordingly, the valve 18 allows the air to be squeezed out of the bellows into a tube or other similar device 38, FIG. 1, while the valve number 22 prevents the air from escaping the valve 18 when the bellows 12 are compressed.

When mountaineering, particularly in extreme weather conditions, individuals are either reluctant to use or wish there was an alternative to fabric tents. This is because the fabric tends to blow apart, particularly in a situation with wind-driven snow. The snow acts as an abrasive and actually wears away the fabric. The failed tent could spell disaster or death for its inhabitants. Accordingly, many of the individuals who participate in mountaineering and other severe weather climbing activities desire to have a more stable tent. However, such tent must be easy to pack into remote locations.

Accordingly, the present invention features, in accordance with one aspect of the invention, a hard shell or solid wall tent 50, FIG. 4A. The tent is comprised of two halves namely, first-half 52 and second-half 54. Each half 52 and 54 includes two zippered regions 56 and 58. In addition, both halves are permanently attached proximate region 60.

Each half 52 and 54 are each further comprised of two quarters 62, 64. Each quarter 62, 64 are permanently attached together by a piece of fabric or webbing 66. The fabric or webbing 66 is sewn across the two quarters 62, 64 by first overlapping the two quarters 62, 64 as shown in the exploded view of FIG. 4B1, falling which the webbing or fabric 66 is placed. By using this construction, the two quarters 62 and 64 may only be folded up in one direction as indicated by arrow 68. The webbing can be any type of material that is lightweight, strong, and resists tearing. The material may be any suitable width. The webbing 66 forms a hinge for the two quarters 62, 64.

As shown in FIG. 4C, each quarters 62 and 64 are then folded up upon or on top of one another. Lastly, as shown in FIG. 4D, the two folded halves are folded again on top of one another and may then be rolled along their length in the direction indicated generally by arrow 74, before being stored in a storage sack as shown in FIG. 4E.

In the preferred embodiment, the hard or solid wall tent 50 is made of corrugated plastic, approximately 1/16″ thick. High-density polyethylene or similar product would be appropriate. The corrugations are arranged across the width of the quarters as shown in FIG. 5. In addition, a thin layer of foam may be laminated to the interior region of the tent quarters to serve as insulation. The quarters may also have prevents installed for venting the interior of the tent. With a hard shell tent such as described herein, the user can set up the tent in a freestanding format or set up the tent and shovel snow against the sides for additional insulation and protection against the wind. The hard shell tent 50 of the present invention may be made of a dark colored material to help make the interior dark and easier to sleep in during the daylight hours or in conditions wherein the sun does not set, thereby facilitating sleeping. The tent is quieter than fabric tents, and wind will not cause the sides to flap.

Another feature of the hard shell tent of the present invention is that each individual quarter panel has a tendency to roll up on itself because it is made of a thin sheet of corrugated plastic. Accordingly, by simply releasing one of the zippers 56 that hold the two halves together and one of the zippers 57 that attach to the fabric floor 59, one end of the half that has been in zippered has a tendency to roll up on itself as shown in FIG. 8, thereby automatically creating an opening to the interior of the tent.

One additional feature of the hard shell tent of the present invention is its ease of rolling up and placing it in a stuff sack for easy transportation, FIG. 9.

Another feature of the present invention is a fabric covered spring “tube like” tent which can serve as an emergency “shelter” for hikers or other outdoor enthusiasts. Individuals wanting to take shelter often build a snow cave or shelter. In order to do so, they have to dig out a hole in the snow. The user gets wet which exposes them to a serious risk of hypothermia. In order to solve this problem, the present invention features a fabric covered coiled spring structure 80, FIG. 10, which can be used to form a tent. According to this aspect of the invention, this spring is a sufficient diameter to allow a user to crawl into the opening 82 formed in one end of the structure 80. The other end of the structure 84 is covered with fabric.

In use, a user simply stretches out the fabric covered spring structure and covers or buries it in snow, FIG. 12. This activity does not force the user to crawl inside a snow cave thereby getting wet. The fabric covering 86 is of a type to be strong, lightweight and preferably waterproof or at least water resistant. The side of the tent may include one or more tie downs or anchor straps 88 which serve to keep the structure 80 in place. Like all tents, the structure may include one or more air vents 89 as well as a drawstring entrance cover 90. When not in use, the structure 80 of the present invention is simply collapsed like the bellows of an accordion into a thin package as shown in FIG. 11. This package may then be easily stored in a backpack or stuff sack, taking up minimal space.

Mountaineering and rock climbing activities often find the outdoor enthusiast having to set up a tent on a hard, stone surface. It is not possible to drive a tent stake into such a hard surface. Using traditional tent loops provided on the tent does not give the user enough surface area or mass to anchor the tent using another object such as a stone or rock placed on the typical tent stake loop. Accordingly, yet another feature of the present invention includes a tent anchoring loop having a second and smaller loop 90, FIG. 13, proximate the far end of the tent stake loop 92 away from the tent or other structure to be anchored 94. The smaller loop 90 of the present invention preferably includes one “twist” in the fabric which forms the loop.

In use, a user simply places a traditional tent stake 96 the into the small loop 90. The twist in the loop fabric helps to hold the stake 96 in place, providing some “resistance” for the stake 96 thereby preventing it from sliding out. The user may then place a rock, log or other structure 98, FIG. 14, on top of the stake 90, thereby relatively securely holding down the tent 94 or other similar structure.

In recent years, ice climbing has become increasingly popular. An important piece of protective equipment when ice climbing is the ice screw. The ice screw is a hollow, externally threaded tube with sharp teeth on one end and a handle on the other. The ice screw is inserted into the body of ice by the climber to help prevent the climber from hitting the ground during a fall. The placement of ice screws is essential for safety, but very strenuous during the climb and made worse by the possibility of dropping an ice screw during its placement.

Improvements in ice screw design have been focused mainly on methods of carrying the screws when they are not in use, and on efficiently screwing them into the ice after the threads have been started. The major shortcoming of the known designs is in the method of getting the screw started in the ice. The known designs are difficult to get started in the ice and easily dropped during the process. Typically, the climber will have only one hand free to remove the ice screw from their harness, to get it started in the ice, to turn the screw until it is fully inserted and finally to attach the carabiner and rope. Getting the screw started in the ice with only one hand is a tenuous operation. In conventional designs, it is necessary to let go of the screw while turning it in order to reposition the hand. This repositioning makes it hard to maintain the angle of the screw. If the screw wobbles, it tends to damage the ice and prevent the threads from engaging. Not only does repositioning the hand make it harder to get the screw started, it also increases the likelihood of dropping a screw. Because the ice screws are heavy and bulky, a climber does not carry many extras, so dropping even one screw can significantly compromise the climber's safety.

Accordingly, what is needed is a device that facilitates inserting an ice screw into the body of ice. The device should be easily screwed in place with one hand and should allow the user to continue to rotate the ice screw without having to let go of the ice screw to reposition his hand. As can be appreciated, the weight of the device should also be minimized in order to reduce the amount the climber must carry. Finally, the device must be strong and durable and capable of operating reliably, without maintenance in the extreme weather conditions present during ice climbing.

Accordingly, and another feature the present invention is an ice screw having a handle which can engage and disengage from the ice screw shaft without the user having to release the lateral pressure on the ice screw shaft itself. In one embodiment of the ice screw 100, FIG. 15 in accordance with the present invention, the invention features a spring loaded sliding tab 102 having a front engagement region 104 which interfaces with a corresponding engagement region 106 on the ice screw shaft 108. The ice screw shaft 108 includes, proximate the distal end, a number of regions 106 with which the tab 102 may engage.

In use, the user holds handle 110 and rotates the ice screw clockwise until user's hand can no longer turn the ice screw. Then, while continuing to apply for pressure on the ice screw, the user holds back sliding tab 102 which disengages the handle from the shaft 108. The use of and rotates the handle counterclockwise, releases the sliding tab 102 which snaps into place with one or more engagement regions 106 on the shaft 108. The user then turns the handle clockwise to further set the ice screw. This release/engagement movement is continued until the ice screw is set to the proper depth.

In another embodiment shown in FIG. 16, the ice screw 100 may include any ratchet type mechanism 112 such as found on a socket wrench. The user simply rotates his or her hand clockwise while keeping lateral pressure on the ice screw in the direction indicated generally by arrow 113. To take the ice screw out of the ice, the user simply the presses or moves button 114 to allow the ratchet mechanism 112 to work in reverse, again, much like a standard socket wrench.

According to another embodiment of the ice screw, the present invention features an ice screw 210, FIG. 17, that is lightweight, strong and durable, and which facilitates the insertion of the ice screw 210 into a body of ice (not shown) without requiring the user to lessen or remove his hand from the ice screw 210. The ice screw 210 features a generally hollow and tubular body 212, a hanger/handle 213, and a ratcheting device 215. As will be explained in greater detail hereinbelow, the climber grasps the hanger/handle 213 with his hand, pushes and rotates the tubular body 212 into the body of ice, and uses the ratcheting device 215 to reposition his hand so as to push and twist again without having to release and regrasp the ice screw 210.

The tubular body 212 features an externally threaded region 214 disposed proximate at least a first end 216. The first end 216 also features a toothed region 218 to aid in cutting through the body of ice. As best seen in FIG. 18, the second end 220 of the tubular body 212 features a head 222. The head 222 includes an upper and lower generally circular flange 224, 226. Both the upper and lower flange 224, 226 extend generally outward and normal to the tubular body 212. In the preferred embodiment, the upper flange 224 extends outwardly slightly further than the lower flange 226, though the lower flange 226 could be larger than the upper flange 224 or the upper and lower flange 224, 226 could be substantially the same size. For exemplary purposes only, the standard diameter of the tubular body 212 in the industry has become approximately 16.5mm. A common minimum diameter for the flanges 224, 226 might be 18.5mm. Disposed between the upper and lower flange 224, 226 is a multifaceted region 228. For exemplary purposes only, the multifaceted region 228 forms a hexagonal shape. As will be evident from the following description, the number of faces and arrangement of the multifaceted region 228 can vary and is within the knowledge of one ordinary skill in the art.

Referring to FIGS. 17 and 19-22, the hanger/handle 213 extends generally outwardly from the tubular body 212. As can be best seen in FIG. 22, the hanger/handle 213 preferably extends slightly upwards and away from the second end region 220 of the tubular body 212. This hanger/handle arrangement increases the clearance between the hanger/handle 213 and the body of the ice when the screw is being placed. Alternatively, the hanger/handle 213 may extend generally perpendicular to the tubular body 212.

The hanger/handle 213 also features a body 232. In the preferred embodiment, the body 232 includes a substantially horizontal section 233, a planar section 235, and a substantially vertical section 237. Other arrangements and shapes are possible and are within the knowledge of one of ordinary skill in the art.

The body 232 includes at least one eye 230, preferably disposed in the substantially vertical section 237, though this is not a limitation of the present invention unless otherwise specifically claimed as such. The eye 230 allows the climber to secure a carabiner (not shown) to the ice screw 210 as is well known to those skilled in the art.

The body 232 also features an aperture 234, preferably disposed in the substantially horizontal section 233. The aperture 234 is sized and shaped to fit around the multifaceted region 228 of the head 222 and allow the multifaceted region 228 to rotate as will be explained in greater detail hereinbelow.

Additionally, the aperture 234 is smaller than the upper flange 224 such that the hanger/handle 213 cannot be removed from the end region 220. During the assembly of the ice screw 210, the tubular body 212 is inserted through the aperture 234 of the handle/hanger 213 first and then the moveable clip 250 is inserted through the channels 240 on the handle/hanger 213. In one embodiment, the tabs 266 on the moveable clip 250 are folded downwards to prevent its removal. Other embodiments are discussed hereinbelow. The openings 256, 258 in the moveable clip 250 are smaller than the lower flange 226, thereby securing the entire assembly.

The body 232 also features at least one, and preferably two, channels or slots 240. The channels or slots 240 are preferably disposed on a bottom surface 241 of the substantially horizontal section 233 proximate the aperture 234. Alternatively, the channels or slots 240 may be disposed about the top surface 243 of the body 232. The channels or slots 240 are sized and shaped to accept at least a portion of a moveable clip 250 and serve to guide and retain the moveable clip 250.

The ratcheting device 215 includes any device known to those skilled in the art for allowing the handle/hanger 213 to rotate the tubular body 212 in a first direction while allowing the handle/hanger 213 to rotate freely in a second direction without causing the tubular body 212 to rotate in the second direction. In the preferred embodiment, the ratcheting device 215 features a moveable clip 250, FIGS. 17, 19, and 20-25, as mentioned above which is sized and shaped to at least partially fit within the channels or slots 240 of the handle/hanger 213. The moveable clip 250 includes a cavity 252 having a first region 254 sized and shaped to rotate freely about the head 222 of the tubular body 212 and a second region 256 sized and shaped to engage the multifaceted surface 228 of the head 222.

In the preferred embodiment, the second region 256 is located proximate an opening 258 formed by two legs 265 in the in the moveable clip 250. The two legs 265 preferably include a tab 266 extending either generally upwards or downwards. The tabs 266 prevent the moveable clip 250 from becoming separated from the tubular body 212. Alternatively, the moveable clip 250 may include pins in place of the tabs 266 or other arrangements or shapes which prevent the moveable clip 250 from becoming separated.

In the exemplary embodiment, the moveable clip 250 slides within the channels or slots 240 of the handle/hanger 213 between a first and at least a second position. In the first position, the first region 254 of the moveable clip 250 is substantially concentric about the longitudinal axis A of the tubular body 212. In this first position, the handle/hanger 213 may rotate freely about the head 222 of the tubular body 212. A biasing device 280 (preferably a spring or the like that engages apertures 281 in the moveable clip 250 and the handle/hanger 213) is disposed between the moveable clip 250 and the handle/hanger 213 and urges the moveable clip 250 towards the second position wherein the second region 256 is substantially aligned with the tubular body 212. In this second position, the second region 256 engages the multifaceted surface 228 of the head 222 such that position of the handle/hanger 213 and the tubular body 212 are substantially locked together. As a result, movement of the handle/hanger 213 in at least a first direction causes the tubular body 212 to rotate. It is important to note that the biasing device 280 preferably biases the moveable clip 250 towards the second position, i.e., the failsafe position. It is possible, however, to having the biasing device 280 urge the moveable clip 250 towards the first position.

The moveable clip 250 also preferably features a lip 62. As can be best seen in FIG. 17, the lip 262 extends over at least a portion of the top surface 243 of the handle/hanger 213. The lip 262 provides and area for the climber to press against to move the moveable clip 250 from the second position to the first position. Additionally, the lip 262 aids in preventing debris and the like (such as snow, ice, and water) from entering into the ratcheting device 215.

It is important to note that while the present invention has been described above having a ratcheting device 215 featuring a moveable clip 250, this is only for illustrative purposes and to satisfy the best mode requirement. The present invention also includes any device or mechanism that allows the tubular body 212 of the ice screw 210 to rotate in one direction when the handle/hanger 213 is rotated while staying substantially motionless when the handle/hanger 213 is rotated in a second direction. For example, but not limited to, the ratcheting device 215 may also include a ratcheting pawl, a chuck, a clutch, or the like.

Another feature of the present invention relates to ice axes. Those who practice the sport of ice or rock climbing utilize an ax or pick, both as an aid to climb the face of an ice cliff or rock face, and at other times as a device from which to hang or support themselves while inserting an ice screw or other device into the face being climbed. In practical use, the ax and pick both have different requirements. In some instances, it is desired to have the handle and pick nearly parallel, as this makes it easy to use the device to hang from. In contrast, an ax works better when the head is approximately perpendicular to the handle. In the prior art, climbers have generally had to carry both a pick and an ax. These climbing tools are very expensive and heavy to bring along on a complicated or difficult climb. Accordingly, it would be desirable to have one device which is adjustable to suit both purposes.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a tool 350, FIG. 26, is provided which is adjustable to serve both as a pick and an axe. In accordance with this aspect of the present invention, the handle indicated generally by 360, includes two segments 362-364 along with a handle grip segment 366. The first and second handle segments 362, 364 are connected by an adjustable joint 368. The adjustable joint 368 is made by providing one face each of the handle segments 362 and 364 with a knurled surface. The two neural surfaces are held together tightly by both 369 securely connecting the two pieces together at the desired articulation. Similarly, handle grip segment 366 is connected to handle segment 364 by means of a corresponding joint 370.

According to one feature of the present embodiment, the head portion 372 of the present invention includes a region 374 having a number of teeth and a gear-like pattern. The teeth 374 when mounted to the first handle segment 372 engage with movable gear 376. A pan or bolt arrangement passing through holes 378 connects the head portion 372 to the first handle portion 362 using a nut and bolt or other similar arrangement (not shown but well known in the art). If the user wishes to adjust the angle of the head portion 372 with respect to the handle, he or she merely needs to turn the movable gear 376 which will cause the head portion 372 to pivot about the axis passing through openings 378. This mechanism is not too dissimilar from the mechanism of an adjustable open-end wrench.

An axe 310, according to one embodiment of the present invention, features a pick 312 adjustably disposed about at least one end region 314 of a handle portion 316 such that the angle A between the pick 312 and the handle 316 can be adjusted by the climber. In this manner, the axe 310 serves both as a pick and an axe.

According to one embodiment of the present invention, the pick 312 is rotatably disposed relative to the handle portion 316 about a pivot point 313. The handle portion 316 may include a traditional handle, or alternatively may include the handle as described in U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/650,245, filed Feb. 4, 2005, which is fully incorporated herein by reference.

An end region 318 of the pick 312 that abuts the end region 314 of the handle portion 316 includes a plurality of teeth 320 in a gear-like pattern. When the pick 312 is mounted to the end region 314 of the handle 316, the teeth 320 engage with teeth 324 of a movable gear 322, preferably a worm gear or the like, such that as the moveable gear 322 is rotated about its longitudinal axis. The movable gear 322 also preferably includes an engagement region 333 as will be discussed in greater detail hereinbelow. As the moveable gear 322 is rotated, the teeth 324 of the moveable gear 322 engage the teeth 320 of the pick 312 and the angle A between the pick 312 and the handle portion 316 is altered.

A setscrew, bolt or similar arrangement (not shown but as well known in the art) 330, FIG. 28, passes through holes 332 in the end region 318 of the pick 312 and the end region 314 of the handle potion 316 [FIG 26] 372 to the first handle portion 362. The setscrew 330 is preferably the same as the pivot point 313 discussed above.

To adjust the angle A of the pick 312 with respect to the handle portion 316, the user loosens the setscrew 313. Next, the user inserts an engagement tool 335, preferably an allen wrench or key, into the engagement region 333 of the moveable gear 322. It is important to note that while the engagement tool 335 and engagement region 333 have been described as an allen head arrangement, this is not a limitation of the present invention. Those skilled in the art will readily recognize that any other arrangement could be used provided that it does not require expensive or overly-complicated equipment.

As the user turns the engagement tool 335, the moveable gear 322 is rotated which causes teeth 320, 324 to engage each other, thereby rotating the pick 312 about the pivot point 313. This mechanism is not too dissimilar from the mechanism of an adjustable open-end wrench. Once the pick 312 has been adjusted to the desired angle A, the setscrew 330 is tightened and the axe 310 is ready to be used.

In the preferred embodiment, the moveable gear 322 is preferably disposed behind a cover or plate (not shown) which protects the moveable gear 322 from the elements. In an alternative embodiment, the cover may be removable or not included altogether. It is important to note that the engagement tool 335 and engagement device 333 facilitate the movement of the pick 312. While the moveable gear 322 could be adjusted directly similar to an open-end wrench, this would difficult and likely require the user to remove his/her gloves in order to get enough grip. Moreover, the moveable gear 322 would have to be exposed in order to allow for access thereby increasing the likelihood of ice/snow/dirt becoming lodged within the teeth 320, 324.

Individuals who sleep in tents often like to have a tent with a vestibule which serves to allow the tent to vent at the same time preventing rain from entering an open door in the tent. A vestibule however adds a fair amount of weight and the bulk to a tent. This is particularly not advantageous when one is back packing a long distance, to remote areas or difficult to reach locations.

Accordingly, what is needed is a novel mechanism which can vent a tent too [UNSURE WHAT MEANING HERE] by performing as a vestibule while preventing rain from entering the tent. As shown in FIG. 29, another aspect of the present invention includes a tent with an overlapping door cell. In accordance with the present invention, the top region of the door 300 overlaps the bottom region of the door 302 as shown by overlap area 304. Since the door top 300 overlaps the bottom 302, air is allowed to escape from the interior of the tent such as for example, using a structure or other pole mechanism 306 to provide for venting while preventing rain, snow and other whether from entering the tent. In use, the user simply opens the overlapping top door portion 300 by pulling it up and away from the bottom region and craws into the tent. If the whether is inclement, the entire door flap may be opened using a zipper 310 as with prior art tents.

When backpacking, mountaineering, or other types of outdoor activities, it is often desirable to have a tent which is as rigid as possible but also as lightweight and easy to set up as possible. Traditional tents having removable poles are often disdained because the poles may break, get lost in or be difficult to thread on and through the various tabs provided on a tent. This is particularly true in bad weather or at night. Poles are often difficult to assemble to each other and are annoying to take apart from themselves as most separate the poles from the tent. Although tents provided with air bladders for rigidity are known, air bladders are limited to rather small tents and provide somewhat less rigidity in the tent structures than do more rigid poles. Accordingly, there is a need for a poled tent which is easy to fold, store and carry as well as easy to set up.

One feature of the present invention, therefore, is to provide a tent 420, FIGS. 31 and 32, having hinged poles 422 which a generally permanently mounted to the tent structure 424 but which have one or more hinged intersecting regions 426. In accordance with one aspect of the hinge 426, the present invention contemplates a double axle hinge 426 as shown in FIGS. 33 and 34.

In another embodiment, a single axis hinge 426a, FIG. 35 is disclosed. A single axis hinge 426 includes a central region 430 typically made from a molded class reinforced nylon material. This material as lightweight and inexpensive. The material includes one or more stop regions 432 which control how much each pole can be opened. The two poles 434 436 are connected with a central pin 438 or other similar connector held in place by a split rain or other similar device.

In another embodiment of the present invention as shown in FIG. 36, a tent 450 may be provided which has one or more pockets or sleeves 452 into which are permanently or generally permanently sewed poles 454 thereby preventing the pole from tearing the fabric of the sleeves 452. In this manner, the tent can be folded up and set up quickly without the need to fuss with poles. Each pole may be an individual pole segment or alternatively, the poles can be connected together by means of a hinge, as previously described.

An additional feature of the present invention is a new design in air beam supported tents. As seen in FIG. 38, one aspect of the present invention is a tent 480 without redundant air beams. The air beams have an asymmetric design such that one air beam is outside and one is bisected by the tent shell. This approach allows the tent to be freestanding, gives it surprising strength and provides easy access to the air beam.

Modifications and substitutions by one of ordinary skill in the art are considered to be within the scope of the present invention, which is not to be limited except by the following claims.