Title:
FOLDING DEVICE FOR ROLLING UP SLEEPING BAGS, SELF-INFLATING PADS, AIRBEDS, FOAM MATS, BED COVERS, OTHER SIMILAR BEDDINGS, OR THE LIKE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A rigid folding device for rolling up sleeping bags, self-inflating sleeping pads, airbeds, flexible foam mats, bed covers, other similar beddings, or the like is provided that consists of a rectangular or oblong shaped frame-like construction, with adequate opening for the thickness-wise insertion of the short end of a sleeping bag, or pad, or airbed, or mat, or bed cover, or similar bedding, or the like. The frame device is sufficiently strong and rigid to allow adequate force to be applied for the rolling up process. This invention can be fabricated from a single piece or from an assortment of attachable and detachable rod, pipe or strip-like members. When using this folding device, the bedding or the like is first inserted into the middle open space, between and parallel to the two longer sides of the frame device. The shorter sides of the frame are gripped and turned to compress the roll. After compressing and securing the roll, the device may remain embedded since it is light weight and occupies little space. The exposed portion may also serve as a handle for transporting the bundle. For embodiments with multiple joinable and detachable members, the device may be extracted after securing the roll. One embodiment with a hook-like attachment when used horizontally also doubles as a hanger for “mummy” bags or the like that require long-term storage in an uncompressed state.



Inventors:
Huang, Andrew Bin (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/831376
Publication Date:
02/05/2009
Filing Date:
07/31/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/417, 5/413R
International Classes:
A47G9/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
LIU, JONATHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ANDREW B. HUANG (RANCHO P.V, CA, US)
Claims:
1. 1-10. (canceled)

11. A hand folding device for rolling up sleeping bags, or self inflating sleeping pads, or airbeds, or flexible exercise mats, or flexible sleeping mats, or bed covers, or other similar beddings, and or the like comprising, a rigid frame member of sufficient strength with two longer and two shorter sides of dimensions suitable for the widthwise insertion of said objects to be compressed and folded.

Description:

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISC APPENDIX

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to a folding device of significant dimensions and strength for the rolling up of sleeping bags, self-inflating sleeping pads, airbeds, flexible exercise mats, flexible sleeping mats, bed covers, other similar beddings, and or the like. More particularly to a folding device having a rigid frame-like construction of size to allow the widthwise insertion of a sleeping bag, or self-inflating sleeping pad, or airbed, or flexible exercise mat, or flexible sleeping mat, or bed cover, or other similar beddings, and or the like into the enclosed aperture space; and of sufficient strength when turned along the longitudinal axis would facilitate the compressing of the sleeping bag, or pad, or airbed, or mat, or bed cover, or other similar beddings, and or the like into a tight roll.

Typically sleeping bags, pads, airbeds, mats, bed covers, other similar beddings, and or the like are purchased in a tightly compact roll. Once opened from the original package, it is very difficult to fold them back to their former shapes. This difficulty stems from the inability of most hands to grasp evenly and firmly across the width of the soft sleeping bag, or pad, or airbed, or mat, or bed cover, or other similar beddings, and or the like. This inability often causes the rolling up process to produce a loose bundle which is unwieldy to carry and tends to come apart. To achieve a tight roll requires considerable strength, time and effort; and, is particularly difficult for children because they often lack the strength, grasp and patience required.

Specific attempts to solve the above-identified problem for sleeping bags and the like were proposed in numerous inventions. U.S. Pat. No. 3,533,572 entitle, “Mandrel for Rolling Bedding” granted to Rowell W. Sims on Oct. 13, 1970 discloses a pair of elongated slender rods which are placed widthwise over and under bedding and fastened together at corresponding ends securing the thickness of the bedding between the rods to form a clamping mandrel on which to roll the bedding. The described mandrel is constructed of two separate and identical hardwood rods each of which includes a pin protruding from one end and a length of flexible anchoring material such as string or chain attached at the other end. The hardwood rods are disposed in parallel spaced-apart configuration with the thickness of the bedding between the rods and are fastened together at corresponding ends by tying or wrapping the anchoring material about the protruding pins to secure the thickness of the bedding between the rods and provide rigidity across the width of the bedding. Due to the flexible anchoring materials at the ends of the rods, this device requires both a firm grasping and a turning motion to be applied simultaneously when compressing the bedroll. In addition, the hands have to periodically release the grip and reposition to advance the rolling-up process. These multiple-step motions make this mandrel difficult to use in general. And particularly it is very difficult to use for children and people with limited hand and grip strengths.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,973,009 entitle, “Key for Rolling Sleeping Bags” granted to M. Lynn Dunlap on Nov. 27, 1990 discloses a pair of tubular plastic rods which are pivotally attached at one end. One of the rods is pivotally displaced to a position parallel to and spaced from the other rod. Together the rods form an open ended fork or key. A metal hook inserted through holes in the free ends of the rods fastens the free ends together and clamps a sleeping bag securely between the rods. A handle is attached to the end of the non-pivotable rod. In use, the key device is first clamped in place. The handle is then turned to advance the rolling up of the sleeping bag. In practice, since the handle is attached at only one end of the device, the sleeping bag would tend to roll up crooked. Furthermore, with only one handle, this key device does not fully utilize the strength of both hands. Thus, this invention is likewise difficult to use in general. And particularly it is very difficult to use for children and people with limited strength.

None of the above or other exiting inventions teach the embodiments of the present invention or provide the benefits disclosed below.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A folding device for rolling up sleeping bags, or self-inflating sleeping pads, or airbeds, or flexible exercise mats, or flexible sleeping mats, or bed covers, or other similar beddings, and or the like constructed according to the principles of the present invention comprises a rigid frame-like structured unit. This frame-like folding device can be rectangular or oblong in shape. The embodied invention may be formed from a single piece of rod, pipe or strip-like material or other suitable materials. It may also be constructed from an assortment of properly formed joinable and detachable rods, pipes or strip members of any suitable, light-weight, stiff and strong materials.

The frame-like folding device is shaped to provide an adequate enclosed opening of sufficient dimensions for the widthwise and thickness-wise insertion of the sleeping bag, or self-inflating pad, or airbed, or flexible foam mat, or bed cover, or similar bedding, or the like to be rolled. It is also fabricated from materials with sufficient rigidity to allow adequate force to be applied to advance the rolling up process.

When the frame-structured device is manufactured from a single piece of rod, pipe or strip-like material or other suitable materials, it can be heat pressed or stamped into the desired frame shape. When the folding device is formed from an assortment of fabricated attachable and detachable rod, pipe or strip-like members, numerous embodiments are possible. One such embodiment consists of two equal or unequal “U” shaped members mated together to constitute the rigid frame-like construction. Another embodiment with multiple members consists of two significantly elongated straight rods, tubes or strips or other suitable materials as the longer sides with two shorter joinable side members joined together to constitute the rigid frame-like construction.

When using this folding device, the widthwise end of the sleeping bag, or pad, or airbed, or mat, or bed cover, or bedding or the like is first inserted into the middle open space between and parallel to the two longer sides of the rigid frame-like construction. The shorter sides of the frame construction are then gripped, pressed down and turned to tightly compress the sleeping bag, pad, airbed, mat, bed cover, bedding or the like into a compact roll. With the first turn of the folding device, the enclosed bed roll becomes automatically clamped in place.

After rolling up the sleeping bags or the like, the folding device may be left embedded within the secured roll since it takes up little space. If left in place, it may further serve as a carrying handle for transporting the folded roll. Only available for embodiments of the frame-like structure comprise of multiple joinable and detachable members, another option is that after folding and securing the roll, the attached grip-able side member may be disengaged. The remaining portions of the frame-like construction are then extracted by pulling the pieces out from the secured roll.

Specifically for sleeping bags or the like, such as high tech “mummy” bags that require long-term storage in an uncompressed state, when a hook-like member is attached to the frame-like device and the unit is used horizontally, the invention may also double as a hanger for such long-term storage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the folding device constructed from a single formed piece of rod, pipe, strip-like material or other suitable materials in accordance with the principles of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the folding device constructed from two formed joinable and detachable pieces of rod, pipe, strip-like material or other suitable materials in accordance with the principles of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the folding device constructed from four formed joinable and detachable pieces of rod, pipe, strip-like material or other suitable materials in accordance with the principles of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view illustrating the folding device of FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 with the end of a sleeping bag, or pad, or airbed, or mat, or bed cover, or bedding or the like, inserted into the middle open space between and parallel to the two longer sides of the rigid frame-like construction, prior to folding it up.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a rolled up sleeping bag, or pad, or airbed, or mat, or bed cover, or bedding or the like after using the folding device of FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, and being secured in the compressed state.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a secured roll with the folding device constructed of multiple members of FIGS. 2 and 3; the frame members are disengaged and extracted from the roll of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the folding device with an attachable hook-like member and the unit used as a hanger in accordance with the principles of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the folding device of FIG. 7 used horizontally as a hanger for a “mummy” bag, or similar bedding or the like that requires long term-storage in a relaxed uncompressed state.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 refers to a folding device 10, in accordance with the principles of the present invention, for rolling up sleeping bags, or self-inflating sleeping pads, or airbeds, or flexible exercise mats, or flexible sleeping mats, or bed covers, or other similar beddings, and or the like, as fabricated from a single piece of rod, pipe or strip-like material or other suitable material member 11. The rigid frame-like folding device 10 may be rectangular or oblong in shape. The shorter sides of the frame-like device 10 should be of sufficient dimensions to allow the thickness-wise insertion of the short end of the sleeping bag or the like to be rolled up, and of adequate size to function as handles for griping when using the folding device 10. The longer sides of the frame-like device 10 should be of significant dimensions to allow the widthwise insertion of the sleeping bag or the like into the enclosed opening space parallel to the two longer sides. Preferably member 11 is of lightweight, rigid tubular stock such as schedule 40 PVC plastic pipes, or metal rods, but may be any material of suitable strength and rigidity. When fabricated from plastics as a one piece unit, the folding device 10 may be heat formed. When fabricated from metals as a one piece unit, the folding device 10 may be pressed into the desired shape.

FIG. 2 refers to a folding device 10, in accordance with the principles of the present invention, as formed from two pieces of rod, pipe or strip-like material or other suitable material members 12 and 13. The members 12 and 13 are fabricated as joinable and detachable “male” and “female” parts. When members 12 and 13 are inserted or mated together, collectively they form the rigid frame-like folding device 10. In FIG. 2 the member 12 and member 13 are described as two unequal lengths of “U” shaped, “male” and “female” joinable and detachable members. Although not illustrated, the members 12 and 13 may also be equal lengths of male and female parts; when joined together collectively constituting the desired shape and dimensions of device 10. The rigid frame-like device 10 may be rectangular or oblong in shape. The shorter and longer sides of device 10 are of suitable dimensions and functionalities as described in the above previous discussions. Preferably the members 12 and 13 are of lightweight, rigid tubular stock such as schedule 40 PVC plastic pipes, or metal tubing, but may be any materials of suitable strength and rigidity.

FIG. 3 refers to a folding device 10, in accordance with the principles of the present invention, constructed from four pieces of formed rod, pipe or strip-like material or other suitable material members 14, 15, 16 and 17. The members 14, 15, 16 and 17 are fabricated as joinable and detachable “male” and “female” parts. The members 14, 15, 16 and 17 may be of different sizes and shapes, however when inserted into each other or mated together, collectively they form the rigid frame-like folding device 10. The device 10 may be rectangular or oblong in shape. The shorter and longer sides of the frame-like device 10 are of suitable dimensions and functionalities as described in the above discussions. Preferably the members 14, 15, 16 and 17 are of lightweight, rigid tubular stock such as schedule 40 PVC plastic pipes, or metal tubing, but may be any materials of suitable strength and rigidity.

As apparent for those skilled in the art, although not specifically illustrated, the folding device 10 in accordance with the principles of the present invention may consists of a plurality of joinable and detachable “male” and “female” parts. The male and female members, when joined together, collectively would form the rigid frame-like folding device 10.

Referring now to FIG. 4, to use the rigid frame-like folding device 10, a sleeping bag, or self-inflating pad, or airbed, or flexible foam mat, or bed cover, or other similar bedding, or the like 20 is first inserted widthwise into the middle open space and positioned parallel to the two longer sides of the device 10. The end of the sleeping bag or the like 20 protrudes sufficiently out from the frame-like device 10 such that upon the first folding turn of device 10, the sleeping bag or the like 20 would be tightly clamped in place. The shorter sides of the frame-like folding device 10 would be griped and turned to advance the rolling up process.

FIG. 5 illustrates a sleeping bag, or self-inflating sleeping pad, or airbed, or flexible exercise mat, or flexible sleeping mat, or bed cover, or other similar bedding, and or the like 20 tightly rolled up and secured in place. As shown, the folding device 10 remains embedded within the roll. When device 10 is constructed from a one-piece formed material, device 10 must be left embedded in the tightly secured roll. Leaving it embedded is not a disadvantage in using this present invention since the folding device 10 is light weight and takes up very little space. When the folding device 10 is constructed from multiple pieces of joinable and detachable members as illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3, it has the added option of either left within or extracted from the secured roll. The device 10 may be extracted from the secured tight roll as shown in FIG. 6. If left in place, the exposed portion of device 10 may also serve as a handle for carrying the secured roll during transport.

Now referring to FIG. 7, the folding device 10 is shown with an attached hook-like member 18 affixed to the center of one of the longer side of the frame-like construction. With this additional member 18, the folding device 10 can be used as a hanger for sleeping bags and the like that require long-term storage in the uncompressed state. The hook-like member 18 may be a looped strap of flexible material affixed to the folding device 10. The member 18 may also be a stiff hook, attached and removed from device 10 according to use.

FIG. 8 describes the method that the folding device 10 with an attached hook-like member 18 now doubles as a hanger for a sleeping bag or the like 20 that requires long-term storage in the uncompressed state. Specifically FIG. 8 refers to the long term storage of a “mummy” bag or other high tech bags and the like that should be stored in a relaxed state.

While the present invention has been described and illustrated in its preferred embodiments by way of example, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that certain changes and improvements may be made therein without deviating from the scope and spirit of the invention as described in the appended claims.