Title:
Inflatable tent for mounting into the bed of a pickup truck
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An inflatable tent for mounting into the bed of a pickup truck. The tent includes at least one inflatable beam having opposite ends and extending, when mounted at its opposite ends to the bed, from a front of the bed to the rear of the bed. A flexible tent canopy is mounted to the inflatable beams. Each inflatable beam forms a substantially ogive shape when viewed in side elevation when inflated and mounted into the bed so as to dispose the opposite ends in releasably mounted engagement secured to interior opposite ends of the bed.



Inventors:
Turcot, Jean-marc Daniel (Kelowna, CA)
Application Number:
12/073224
Publication Date:
09/04/2008
Filing Date:
03/03/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H15/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HAWK, NOAH CHANDLER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HORSEPOWER IP (WESTBANK, BC, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An inflatable tent for mounting into the bed of a pickup truck, the tent comprising: at least one inflatable beam having opposite ends and extending, when mounted at its opposite ends to the bed, from a front of the bed to the rear of the bed, a flexible tent canopy mounted to said at least one inflatable beam, wherein said at least one inflatable beam forms a substantially ogive shape when viewed in side elevation when inflated and mounted into the bed so as to dispose said opposite ends in releasably mounted engagement secured to interior opposite ends of the bed.

2. The tent of claim 1 wherein said at least one inflatable beam includes a pair of criss-crossed inflatable beams and wherein said opposite ends of said pair of criss-crossed inflatable beams are mounted in corresponding opposite corners of said bed.

3. The tent of claim 2 wherein said beams, when unconstrained by said canopy, are substantially linear when inflated and wherein said canopy is formed into a mushroom-like shape defining said substantially ogive shape for each beam of said pair of criss-crossed inflatable beams.

4. The tent of claim 3 wherein said each beam has at said opposite ends a vertical leg portion when inflated and mounted in the corners of the bed, wherein said vertical leg portion extends vertically the height of a corresponding sidewall of the bed.

5. The tent of claim 4 wherein said substantially ogive shape flares outwardly of the bed and over the sidewalls of the bed from upper ends of said vertical leg portions.

6. The tent of claim 5 wherein said canopy constrains said each beam vertically downwardly at an apex of said canopy when said each beam is inflated so as to urge mid-portions of each end of said each beam to bulge outwardly of the bed and over the sidewalls of the bed from said upper ends of said vertical leg portions.

7. The tent of claim 6 wherein said canopy includes seams formed along panels of flexible material and wherein said seams define said substantially ogive-shape for said each beam, and wherein said each beam is mounted along corresponding said seams.

8. The tent of claim 7 wherein said seams are mounted along and underneath said each beam.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/904,360 filed Mar. 2, 2007 entitled Inflatable Tent for Mounting into the Bed of a Pickup Truck.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the fields of inflatable tents and in particular to an inflatable tent which is adapted for mounting into the bed of a pickup truck.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Inflatable tents for use in camping are known in the prior art and are sold commercially for example by Airzone Recreation Products of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. These tents are the subject of U.S. Pat. No. 6,263,617 which issued Jul. 24, 2001 to Turcot. Such tents typically replicate camping tents available commercially which rely on bent fibreglass poles for their support structure and instead substitute inflatable poles which, when bent, provide the supporting frame work for the exterior canopy of the tent over which a so-called fly sheet may be mounted.

Applicant is also aware of an inflatable tent for sport utility vehicle which is the subject of U.S. Pat. No. 6,179,367 which issued Jan. 30, 2001 to Bowen. Bowen discloses an inflatable tent assembly for a vehicle having a rear hatch, wherein the inflatable tent assembly includes an inflatable frame and cover having the shape of the inflatable frame when inflated, the cover having a vehicle side and being sized to fit on the exterior of the inflatable frame. An opening on the vehicle side of the cover and a fastener system disposed around the peripheral edge of the opening connects the frame to the rear hatch of the vehicle. The frame is preferably made of collapsible hollow tubes.

Also in the prior art, applicant is aware of the following patents which disclose various tents adapted for use in cooperation with a vehicle:

U.S. Pat. No. 6,155,279 which issued Dec. 5, 2000 to Humphrey; U.S. Pat. No. 6,102,468 which issued Aug. 15, 2000 to Lowrey et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 6,030,026 which issued Feb. 29, 2000 to Vega et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,988,195 which issued Nov. 23, 1999 to Kaestner et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,954,076 which issued Sep. 21, 1999 to McGinnis; U.S. Pat. No. 5,924,761 which issued Jul. 20, 1999 to Harrison; U.S. Pat. No. 5,692,795 which issued Dec. 2, 1997 to Mininger; U.S. Pat. No. 5,339,851 which issued Aug. 23, 1994 to Miller et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 4,877,281 which issued Oct. 31, 1989 to Altmann; U.S. Pat. No. 4,657,299 which issued Apr. 14, 1987 to Mahan; U.S. Design Pat. No. D461,759 which issued Aug. 20, 2002 to Napieraj; U.S. Design Pat. No. D454,328 which issued Mar. 12, 2002 to Cornelius; U.S. Design Pat. No. D428,595 which issued Jul. 25, 2000 to Salinas; U.S. Design Pat. No. D397,669 which issued Sep. 1, 1998 to Komick; U.S. Design Pat. No. D382,248 which issued Aug. 12, 1997 to Long; U.S. Design Pat. No. D352,690 which issued Nov. 22, 1994 to Schorr; U.S. Design Pat. No. D340,689 which issued Oct. 26, 1993 to Wolcott et al.; U.S. Design Pat. No. D337,979 which issued Aug. 3, 1993 to Napieraj; U.S. Design Pat. No. D318,446 which issued Jul. 23, 1991 to Magyar et al.; U.S. Design Pat. No. D299,817 which issued Feb. 14, 1989 to Wolcott et al.; U.S. Design Pat. No. D297,424 which issued Aug. 30, 1988 to Norris, III.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In summary, the inflatable tent according to the present invention for mounting into the bed of a pickup truck may be characterized in one aspect as including at least one inflatable beam having opposite ends and extending from a front of the bed to the rear of the bed when mounted at its opposite ends to the bed, and a flexible tent canopy mounted to the at least one inflatable beam.

The tent according to the present invention may include a pair of criss-crossed inflatable beams, and the opposite ends of the pair of criss-crossed inflatable beams are mounted in corresponding opposite corners of the bed.

In one embodiment each inflatable beam forms a substantially ogive shape when the beam is viewed in its side elevation when inflated and mounted into the bed so as to dispose the opposite ends in releasably mounted engagement secured to interior opposite ends of the bed. In an embodiment the beams, when unconstrained by the canopy, are substantially linear when inflated, and the canopy is formed into a mushroom-like shape defining the substantially ogive shape for each beam of the pair of criss-crossed inflatable beams. Each beam may have at its opposite ends a vertical leg portion when inflated and mounted in the corners of the bed. The vertical leg portion extends vertically the height of a corresponding sidewall of the bed, and the ogive shape may flare outwardly of the bed over the sidewalls of the bed from upper ends of the vertical leg portions.

The canopy may constrain each beam vertically downwardly at an apex of the canopy when beams are inflated so as to urge mid-portions of each end of each beam to bulge outwardly of the bed and over the sidewalls of the bed from the upper ends of the vertical leg portions so as to form the ogive-shape of each beam. Further, the canopy may include seams formed along panels of flexible material which define the substantially ogive-shape for each beam, and wherein each beam is mounted along corresponding seams. In one embodiment the seams are mounted along and underneath each beam.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is, in perspective view, an embodiment of the inflatable truck-mountable tent according to the present invention incorporating a single inflatable beam extending longitudinally along the bed of the truck.

FIG. 2 is, in side elevation view, the tent of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is, in rear elevation view, the tent of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 is, in perspective view, a further embodiment of the truck-mountable tent according to the present invention incorporating a pair of criss-crossed inflatable beams mounted to the upper ends of the side rails of the truck bed.

FIG. 5 is, a further embodiment of the truck-mountable tent according to the present invention wherein a pair of criss-crossed inflatable beams are mounted into the bed of the truck.

FIG. 6 is a further embodiment of the truck-mountable inflatable tent according to the present invention wherein a single vertically inflatable pole supports a tent canopy within the truck bed.

FIG. 7 is, in perspective view, the tent of FIG. 5 with a fly sheet mounted over the tent and bed rails.

FIG. 8 is, in perspective view, a further embodiment of the truck-mountable tent according to the present invention incorporating a criss-crossed pair of inflatable beams wherein each of the beams forms an ogive-like shape when inflated so as to define a mushroom-like shaped canopy supported by the beams when inflated and mounted into the bed of a truck.

FIG. 9, in perspective view, the truck-mountable tent of FIG. 8 with a fly sheet mounted over the tent and bed rails.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

According to one embodiment of the inflatable tent according to the present invention for mounting into the bed of a pickup truck, inflatable tent 10 mounts into the bed of a pickup truck 12 so as to be disposed between the bed sidewalls 14a and 14b on opposite lateral sides of tent 10, and so as to extend longitudinally from the front wall 14c of the bed and tailgate 16. At least one inflatable beam 18, when inflated, provides an arcuate support arching over the pickup truck bed so as to support therefrom a flexible tent canopy 20.

Canopy 20 includes opposite lateral sides 20a and 20b which extend from a vertex 22 of the tent to the upper edges of bed sidewalls 14a and 14b respectively. A front portion 20c of canopy 20 extends downwardly from vertex 22 to bed front wall 14c. Door panels 20d extend downwardly from sides 20a and 20b to tailgate 16.

In the embodiment of FIGS. 1-3, only a single, longitudinally extending inflatable beam 18 is employed. The front end 18a is mounted to the bed front wall 14c, as illustrated, to the upper edge of bed front wall 14c although this is not intended to be limiting as the front end 18a of beam 18 may extend downwardly to the lower edge of bed front wall 14c. Beam 18 in that embodiment bisects the bed of pickup truck 12 and forms a downwardly concave arc between front end 18a and the opposite rear end 18b of the beam. The rear end 18b of beam 18 may terminate at the outwardly cantilevered edge 16b of tailgate 16, that is, the rear-most edge of tailgate 16 when the tailgate is folded down, or may also terminate at the opposite edge 16a of tailgate 16 in a shorter embodiment of inflatable tent 10. In both embodiments, a flexible floor 24 of tent 10 extends between the front and rear of the tent and between the opposite of the tent. Floor 24 may be fastened down onto, for example, tailgate 16 or otherwise the floor 26 of the pickup truck bed. Rear end 18b of beam 18 may be mounted to floor 24, and, because floor 24 is mounted to the truck, assists in maintaining the arcuate shape of beam 18. Otherwise, in the embodiment wherein the front end 18a of beam 18 extends to the bottom edge of bed front wall 14c, floor 24 which extends between ends 18a and 18b may provide the tension to assist in maintaining the arcuate shape of beam 18.

The sides 20a and 20b of tent 10 may be secured to the upper edges of bed sidewalls 14a and 14b, for example by the use of flexible straps 28 or other releasable fasteners. Sides 20a and 20b are equally tensioned to thereby support beam 18 in a vertical plane bisecting pickup truck 12. With the ends of beam 18 supported so as to maintain the arcuate shape of the beam, and with sides 20a and 20b tensioned between corresponding bed sidewalls 14a and 14b, door panels 20d are sufficiently de-tensioned so that releasable fasteners such as zippered fasteners may be employed to allow ease of entry into tent 10 and for ease of re-closing of the door panels.

In the embodiment of FIGS. 4 and 5, a pair of beams 18, namely beams 18′ and 18″ are mounted so as to extend in a domed criss-cross fashion between oppositely disposed corners of the bed of pickup truck 12. In the embodiment of FIG. 4, the distal ends of the inflatable beams 18′ and 18″ are mounted to the ends of the upper edges of bed sidewalls 14a and 14b so as to cover the maximum floor space inside the truck bed and so as to thereby cover the entire bed floor 26. In the embodiment of FIG. 5 the distal ends of the inflatable beams 18′ and 18″ are mounted to the four corners of bed floor 26.

In both embodiments, tent canopies 20 are supported under beams 18′ and 18″, for example by the use of downwardly depending clips 28, or straps or releasable fasteners or the like mounted so as to depend from the lower inner circumferential edge of the inflatable beams.

In the embodiment of FIG. 5, tent 10 is sized so that the edges 24a which extend longitudinally along bed floor 26 are laterally in-board of the wheel wells 14d which protrude from opposite sides into the truck bed. The resilient nature of inflatable beams 18′ and 18″ accommodate the flexing of edges 24a as they bend around wheel wells 14c with the distal ends of the inflatable beams snugged into the four corners of the truck bed.

In the embodiment of FIG. 6, a tent 10′ is used in place of tent 10 wherein tent 10′, instead of using criss-crossed inflatable beams 18′ and 18″ is a tepee-style tent held erect by the use of a single inflatable vertical pole 30. Inflatable pole 30, once inflated, extends from tent floor 24 vertically upwardly into the vertex 22′. In a preferred embodiment, the upper-most end of pole 30 is mounted to the inside of canopy 20′ at vertex 22′, and the opposite lower-most end of pole 30 is mounted to the centre of tent floor 24. In this embodiment, the four opposite corners of tent floor 24 and the corresponding four opposite corners of canopy 20′ are releasably mounted to the corresponding four opposite corners of bed floor 26 by the use of conventional releasable fasteners. With the four corners of the tent thus secured to the four corners of the truck bed, pole 30 is inflated so as to tension canopy 20′. As before, edges 24a of tent floor 24 flex around wheel wells 14c which protrude into the truck bed. The tent 10′ may also be used removed from the truck bed and instead placed on the ground.

Returning to the embodiment of FIGS. 4 and 5, as seen in FIG. 7, an elongate fly sheet 32 is mounted over the top of poles 18′ and 18″. The longitudinally extending side edges 32a on opposite sides of fly sheet 32, are releasably secured along the top edges of side walls 14a and 14b by conventional releasable fasteners, straps or other releasable mounting means. The forward edge 32b is likewise releasably mounted to the upper-most edge of front wall 14c. The rear portion 32c of fly sheet 32 is elongate and extends from vertex 22, that is, where the vertex of fly sheet 32 rests on top of vertex 22 of tent 10, and extends rearwardly to the rear-most edge 16b of tailgate 16 where it is releasably secured so as to tension portion 32c allowing use of a conventional tent doorway 32d, itself releasably closed by zippers, hook-and-loop fasteners or the like.

It has been found that a five foot wide by eight foot long tent 10 fits snugly into the bed of a conventional long-box pickup truck with the tailgate up and fits into a short-bed pickup truck with the tailgate down. The five by eight foot dimensions were chosen so that the side walls of the tent may clear the wheel wells protruding into the truck bed.

In a further alternative embodiment of the tent according to the present invention, a pair of inflatable beams 34 and in particular beams 34a and 34b are mounted again in criss-crossed fashion with the opposite ends of each of beams 34 releasably mounted to the corresponding four corners of bed floor 26 of pickup truck bed 12a. The ends of beams 34 are mounted to the four corners of tent floor 24 and extended vertically upwardly from the four corners of bed floor 26 along the ends of bed sidewalls 14a and 14b. Beams 34a and 34b may either be pre-formed or forced by the pre-formed fit of the tent canopy mounted to the beams so that the beams 34 flare outwardly of bed 12a as they extend upwardly from the upper edges of sidewalls 14a and 14b, thereafter curving upwardly and inwardly so as to criss-cross at vertex 22, each of beams 34 thereby forming the shape of an ogive. The resulting three-dimensional shape of tent 10″ may be described as approximating a mushroom-shape. This inflatable structure once erected within bed 12a, provides the height advantage of the mounting of tent 10 to the upper edges of sidewalls 14a and 14b as seen in FIG. 4 with the added advantage of further lateral and fore-and-aft room within tent 10″ provided by the bulging of the ogives above the bed sidewalls.

As seen in FIG. 9, a fly sheet 36 may be mounted over beams 34 and may extend to the end 16b of tailgate 16 in the fashion of the embodiment of FIG. 7 so as to provide an elongated vestibule entranceway over the tailgate and into tent 10″. Fly sheet 36 is otherwise mounted to bed 12a in the same fashion as described above with respect to fly sheet 32 and the embodiment of FIG. 7.

In the embodiment of FIG. 8, when inflatable beams 34 are normally linear when inflated as for example in the embodiment of FIG. 4 so that the ogive shape for each of beams 34 is formed by the cut of the tent canopy 20, whether the tent canopy is mounted or suspended underneath beams 34, with tent canopy 20 affixed to the four corners of bed 12a and in particular bed floor 26, the ogive may be formed into the criss-cross seams of canopy 20 advantageously where mounted to corresponding beams 34 and in this fashion drawing down vertex 22 so as to compress the ends of the beams outwardly into the ogive shape conforming to the cut of the canopy and its seams. In FIG. 8 canopy 20 is shown as extending between beams 34 it being understood that canopy 20 would extend in a mushroom-shaped cover entirely around the three-dimensional structure defined by the ogives of beams 34 and their corresponding vertical legs mounted into the truck bed corners.

As will be apparent to those skilled in the art in the light of the foregoing disclosure, many alterations and modifications are possible in the practice of this invention without departing from the spirit or scope thereof. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is to be construed in accordance with the substance defined by the following claims.





 
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