Title:
AIR CONDITIONED TENT ASSEMBLY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A tent assembly is provided wherein an air conditioner is operably engaged with the tent to allow selective cooling of an interior of the tent. The tent includes a sealing sleeve to seal about a periphery of the air conditioner, so that the air conditioner exhausts to the ambient environment.



Inventors:
Harris, Mark Robert (Bowling Green, KY, US)
Application Number:
11/739987
Publication Date:
10/30/2008
Filing Date:
04/25/2007
Assignee:
CELLCORP U.S.A. (Bowling Green, KY, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H15/32
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HAWK, NOAH CHANDLER
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
IP Practice Group (Rochester, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A tent assembly, comprising: (a) an erectable frame moveable between a collapsed configuration and an upright configuration; (b) a shell connected to the frame, the shell having a floor and side walls, wherein one of the side walls includes a sealing sleeve having an adjustable port configurable between a restricted diameter and an expanded diameter, an internal flap movable between a closed position occluding the port and an open position exposing the port; and (c) an air conditioner located within the sealing sleeve, the adjustable port sized to be adjacent the air conditioner.

2. The tent assembly of claim 1, further comprising an exterior flap extending from the shell, the exterior flap movable between a closed position occluding the port and an open position spaced from the port.

3. The tent assembly of claim 2, further comprising a gusset connecting a portion of the exterior flap to the shell.

4. The tent assembly of claim 1, wherein the sealing sleeve is biased to the restricted port diameter.

5. The tent assembly of claim 1, further comprising a stand supporting the air conditioner in the sealing sleeve.

6. The tent assembly of claim 5, wherein the stand includes a plurality of legs moveable between a collapsed position and a standing position.

7. The tent assembly of claim 1, wherein the port in the sealing sleeve is sized to encircle a portion of the air conditioner and a stand supporting the air conditioner.

8. The tent assembly of claim 1, wherein the shell includes a floor and a substantially air impervious basin extending upward from the floor to at least 10% of a height of the shell.

9. A method of regulating a temperature in a tent assembly, the method comprising: (a) disposing an air conditioner within a port of a sealing sleeve in a wall of a tent shell; (b) adjusting the sealing sleeve to seal about a periphery of the air conditioner; and (c) operating the air conditioner to introduce cooled air into the tent.

10. The method of claim 9, further comprising opening a vent in an upper portion of the tent shell to allow the escape of air that is warmer than the cooled air.

11. The method of claim 9, further comprising disposing the air conditioner on a stand.

12. The method of claim 11, further comprising disposing a portion of the stand within the port.

13. The method of claim 11, further comprising moving the stand between a collapsed configuration and an erect configuration.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to camping equipment and more particularly, to an air conditioned tent for permitting user control of a temperature inside the tent.

2. Description of Related Art Including Disclosed Under 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98

Although camping is an opportunity to more closely experience the natural environment, environmental conditions can reduce the pleasures of the camping experience. For example, when camping in relatively hot conditions, even though the tent may provide shade from the sun, the ambient heat cannot be escaped. Excessive ambient heat can significantly diminish the camping experience. In fact, excessive heat restricts the opportunity of many to enjoy the camping experience.

If one is camping near a motor vehicle, brief escapes can be made by utilizing the air conditioning of the vehicle. However, the compressor of such air conditioning unit is directly connected to the engine of the vehicle. Thus, the vehicle must be running in order to run the air conditioner unit. Such continual operation of the vehicle engine can significantly reduce the camping experience, as well as create undesired exhaust and fuel consumption.

The need exists for a tent assembly which allows for active climate control within the tent, thereby increasing the available ambient environments in which the tent can be enjoyably occupied. The need further exists for tent assembly that can cooperatively engage an air conditioner to allow effective regulation of the temperature inside a tent.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present disclosure provides a tent assembly, having an erectable frame moveable between a collapsed configuration and an upright configuration; a shell connected to the frame, the shell having a floor and side walls, wherein one of the side walls includes a sealing sleeve having an adjustable port configurable between a restricted diameter and an expanded diameter, an internal flap movable between a closed position occluding the port and an open position exposing the port; and an air conditioner located within the sealing sleeve, wherein the adjustable port is sized to be adjacent the air conditioner.

In a further configuration, the tent assembly includes an exterior flap extending from the shell, the exterior flap movable between a closed position occluding the port and an open position spaced from the port.

The present system also provides a method of regulating a temperature in a tent assembly by disposing an air conditioner within a sealing sleeve in a wall of a tent shell; adjusting the sealing sleeve to seal about a periphery of the air conditioner; and operating the air conditioner to introduce cooled air into the tent.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the assembly of a tent and an air conditioner.

FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of a tent and an air conditioner.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a further configuration of a tent for cooperatively engaging an air conditioner.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another configuration of a tent and an air conditioner, prior to operative engagement.

FIG. 5 is a front elevational view of a sealing sleeve and screened port.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the sealing sleeve of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the tent and air conditioner of FIG. 4.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of an additional configuration of a tent and an air conditioner, prior to operative engagement.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of the tent and air conditioner of FIG. 8.

FIG. 10 is a side schematic view of an alternative installation of the tent and an internal unit-external unit air conditioner.

FIG. 11 is a side schematic view of an alternative configuration of the tent for the internal unit-external unit air conditioner of FIG. 10.

FIG. 12 is a schematic view of the sealing sleeve as seen from the interior of the tent.

FIG. 13 is side schematic view of the tent shell showing the internal flap, the sealing sleeve and the exterior flap.

FIG. 14 is a side schematic view of an air conditioner operably located relative to the tent.

FIG. 15 is an elevational view of the sealing sleeve from an interior of the tent.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, 4, 7-10 and 14, the present assembly includes a tent 10 and an air conditioner 80, wherein the air conditioner can be operably located with respect to the tent to provide a flow of cooled air into the tent.

As seen in FIGS. 1-4, 7-9, the tent 10 includes a frame 20 and a shell 40 attached to the frame.

The frame 20 is constructed to retain the shell 40 in the desired or required shape. Typically, the frame 20 is constructed from a plurality of poles or struts 22, moveable between a collapsed position and an upright position.

In one configuration, the poles 22 can be rigid and of a fixed length, wherein the poles or sections of the poles can be selectively engaged, interlocked or interconnected as known in the art, to provide the desired structure to support the shell. The poles or pole sections 22 can be interconnected by an internal cord (not shown) such as an elastic cord or bungee cord running the length of the pole or at least spanning the relevant junction of the sections.

It is also understood the poles 22 can be telescoping to allow for movement of the frame 20 between the collapsed and the upright configuration of the frame.

In an alternative configuration, the frame 20 can include a plurality of flexible poles 22. Typically, the flexible poles 22 are tubes or cylinders of fiberglass or comparable material. The flexible poles 22 can be sectioned, wherein one section includes a socket to operably receive an adjacent section. As with the rigid poles, the flexible pole sections can be interconnected by an internal cord such as an elastic cord or bungee cord running the length of the pole or at least spanning the relevance junction of the sections.

The shell 40 can have any of a variety of configurations such as single skin, single skin with a fly sheet, double skin or combinations thereof. Typically, in each configuration, the shell 40 includes a ground sheet or floor 42, which is used to provide a water resistant barrier between the ground and items stored or retained within the tent 10.

In the single skin configuration, the shell 40 typically includes a single water proof layer of fabric. In the single skin with fly sheet configuration, a fly sheet or rain fly is suspended over and clear of a roof of the shell 40, wherein the fly overlaps and extends slightly beyond the periphery of the roof, but does not typically extend down the sides of the tent. In the double-skinned configuration, the outer skin acts as a fly sheet but extends down to the ground to substantially encompass the inner sheet.

The frame 20 and the shell 40 can be configured to provide any of a variety of tent configurations depending upon the desired capacity and weather resistance.

The frame 20 and shell 40 define an interior 12 within the shell and a exterior 14 outside the shell. The shell 40 can include a roof or ceiling 44, as well as a door 46 and windows 48. The door 46 and windows 48 can include screening 50 to permit air passage while reducing the migration of pests to the interior of the tent 10. It is contemplated the roof 44 or an upper portion of the shell 40 can include vents 45, wherein the vents can be selectively opened or closed to allow the passage of air therethrough.

The shell 40 can be any of a variety of materials as commonly used in the tent industry, including thermoplastics, thermosets or combinations thereof, including but not limited to nylon, vinyl, polyethylene, high density polyethylene, cotton and cotton polyester blends.

Referring to FIGS. 3-9, the shell 40 includes a sealing sleeve 60 sized to operably engage the air conditioner 80. The sealing sleeve 60 defines a variable diameter opening or port 63. The sealing sleeve 60 can include any of a variety of closure mechanisms 64 for adjusting the size of the port 63. In one configuration, the sealing sleeve 60 includes an elastic cord 64 disposed about the port 63, wherein the elastic cord is biased to draw the port of the sealing sleeve to the minimum opening size. Alternatively, a draw string can be disposed about the port 63 for manually adjusting the port size. It is further understood that alternative configurations such as hook and loop fasteners or snaps can be used to vary the size of the port 63 in the sealing sleeve 60.

In one configuration, the closure mechanism 64 can vary the entire periphery of the port 63. For example, in the port 63 having a generally rectangular shape, the closure mechanism 64 can reduce the dimension of each of the four sides of the rectangle. Similarly, if the port 63 is generally circular, the closure mechanism 64 concentrically reduces the periphery of the port. Thus, the closure mechanism 64 can change the location of the top, the bottom and the sides of the port 63.

In one configuration, the sealing sleeve 60 is generally co-planer with the adjacent portion of the shell 40. Alternatively, the sealing sleeve 60 can be constructed to extend into the interior 12, or alternatively to the exterior 14 of the tent. In the exterior projecting sealing sleeve configuration, the shell 40 includes at least a screen 50 generally coextensive with the maximum size of the port 63 in the sealing sleeve 60 such that upon the disposing the air conditioner 80 entirely external to the shell 40, the sealing sleeve extends toward the exterior 14 and engages the air conditioner with any of a variety of coupling mechanisms such as hooks, straps or bands.

Referring to FIGS. 12 and 13, the shell 40 can include an interior flap 66 sized to occlude the port 63 in the sealing sleeve 60, thereby allowing the tent 10 to be used without an air conditioner within the sealing sleeve.

The interior flap 66 is immovable between a closed position occluding the port 63 of the sealing sleeve 60 and an open position exposing the port of the sealing sleeve. In one configuration, the interior flap 66 is sized to overlie the sealing sleeve 60 and the sealing sleeve port 63. The interior flap 66 can be retained in the closed position by any of a variety of closure mechanisms 70 such as zippers, hook and loop fasteners, snaps, detents or other mechanical interconnects.

In a further configuration, the shell 40 includes an exterior flap 68 or canopy movable between a closed position covering the sealing sleeve 60 and the port 63 and an open position exposing the port of the sealing sleeve to the ambient environment. The exterior flap 68 can be retained in the closed position by any of a variety of the closure mechanisms to such as zippers, hook and loop fasteners, snaps, detents or other mechanical interconnects.

In one configuration, the exterior flap 68 includes a pair of side gussets interconnecting edges of the exterior flap to the shell. The gussets and exterior flap 68 thus define a sheltering about three sides of the sealing sleeve 60. The exterior flap 68 is sized to shield the exterior of the air conditioner 80 from direct sunlight as well as rain, thereby assisting in the operating characteristics of the air conditioner.

The exterior flap 68 can include tie downs or cords which extend from an upper portion of the exterior flap to the ground for securing and orienting the exterior flap.

As seen in FIGS. 1 and 10, in one configuration, the exterior flap 68 is connected to, or incorporates a generally U shaped strut 76, wherein free ends of the strut are connected to the shell 40 adjacent the ground. The closed end of the strut 76 is moveable between a first position adjacent the shell 40 and a second operable position spaced from the shell, wherein the corresponding fabric of the exterior flap 68 is connected to the exterior of the shell and the strut.

Referring to FIGS. 3, 4, 7-9 and 11, in one configuration, the shell is constructed to form a generally air impervious basin or tub 54, which includes the floor or ground sheet 42 of the tent 10 and the lower portion of side walls 52. The tub 54 is sized to generally retain a portion of the cooled air produced by the air conditioner 80. Any doors 46 or windows 48 within the tub 54 include closure flaps for substantially sealing the respective door or window, so that the relatively dense cooled air produced by the air conditioner 80 does not immediately escape from the interior 14 of the tent 10. The basin 54 extends upward approximately 5% to 25% of the height of the shell 40, and depending upon the intended operating environment, up to 50% to 75% of the height of the shell. It is also contemplated the shell 40 can be formed such that the doors 46 and windows 48, excepting the sealing sleeve 60, do not extend within the height of the basin 54.

It is further contemplated the air conditioner 80 can include one component of a hook and loop fastener which is adhesively bonded to the air conditioner and the corresponding component of the hook and loop fastener is disposed on the sealing sleeve 60, such that the sleeve can be readily fit to the air conditioner.

The air conditioner 80 can be any of a variety of commercial available units typically operating on standard electrical supply grid, such as 115-120 volts. Depending on the size of the tent 10 and the anticipated ambient temperatures, the air conditioner is sized appropriately. A satisfactory air conditioner 80 includes a Haier window air conditioner, with a capacity of 6,000 BTU for a 6 person tent.

In a further configuration, the air conditioner 80 can include an internally exposed receptacle 82 which is operably connected to the power input to the air conditioner. Thus, a user can plug a standard 60 cycle, 120 volt appliance into the exposed receptacle outlet of the air conditioner 80 thereby effectively “powering” the tent, while the air conditioner provides cooled air. In one configuration, a GFCI receptacle is provided for interconnecting to the power cord of the air conditioner 80 to an existing external service. As the power cord of the air conditioner 80 is located outside the tent shell, no cords or electrical connections are required within the tent.

It is also contemplated the air conditioner 80 can be a heat pump as well known in the art. The heat pump is typically sized corresponding to the anticipated loads, and can thus selectively provide either heating or cooling capacity. For purposes of description, the term “air conditioner” is understood to encompass a heat pump.

In one configuration, a stand 90 supports the air conditioner 80 and retains the air conditioner within the sealing sleeve 60. In this configuration, the sealing sleeve 60 circumscribes the combined cross-section of the stand 90 and the air conditioner 80.

The stand 90 can have any of a variety of configurations including a generally planar base 92 with a peripheral flange 94 forming a pan. The stand 90 can further include legs 96 for elevating the air conditioner 80 from the ground. The legs 96 can be fixed or collapsible, as well as adjustable. The stand 90 is typically sized to dispose the air conditioner 80 approximately 6, 8, 10 or 12 inches from the ground. One of the stand 90 and the air conditioner 80 can include a seal to substantially preclude air passage between the stand and the air conditioner.

Referring to FIG. 10, the air conditioner 80 can be a two-piece unit, wherein the compressor and a primary heat exchanger are disposed in an external unit 86 and a secondary heat exchanger and fan are disposed in an internal unit 88, such that the external unit and the internal unit are interconnected by conduits 87. The conduits 87 carry a chilled medium from the external unit 86 to the internal unit 88 and the warmed medium from the internal unit to the external unit. In this construction, the sealing sleeve 60 and the corresponding port 63 in the sealing sleeve are sized to receive the conduits 87 and at least substantially seal about the periphery of the conduits. Thus, the sealing sleeve 60 and the port 63 are relatively small, on the order of 1 inch to 5 inch diameter. In this configuration, the shell 40 can include the exterior flap or canopy 68 for extending over the top of the external unit 86.

The internal unit 88 includes the control interface for operating the air conditioner, thereby allowing the user to control the internal environment of the tent, without having to leave the tent.

In operation with the single unit air conditioner, the air conditioner 80 is disposed on the stand 90. The stand 90 and the air conditioner 80 are then located within the port 63 of the sealing sleeve 60, such that the output of the air conditioner is directed to the interior of the shell 40 and the exhaust of the air conditioner is vented to the exterior of the shell.

The diameter of the port 63 in the sealing sleeve 60 is adjusted to abut the port with the air conditioner 80. That is, depending upon the specific configuration of the sealing sleeve 60, the sealing sleeve is adjusted to be substantially adjacent to or sealed to the air conditioner 80 and stand 90, thereby minimizing flow of ambient air between the sealing sleeve and the air conditioner.

The vents 45 in the roof 44 of the shell 40 can be opened to allow for the escape of relatively warm air from the interior of the tent 10 while the air conditioner 80 introduces chilled air into the tub or lower portion of the tent.

In operation of the internal unit-external unit configuration, the internal unit 88 is located in the interior of the tent shell 40 and the exterior unit 86 is located outside the shell, wherein the conduits 87 extend through the port 63 in the sealing sleeve 60.

While the invention has been described in conjunction with specific exemplary embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, the present invention is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, and variations as fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims.