Title:
COLLAPSIBLE STOOL FOR HUNTING AND OUTDOOR USE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A stool includes a collapsible frame, a triangular seat and a back. The frame includes a bottom hub with three telescopingly adjustable legs and enlarged feet. A top hub is rotatably coupled to the bottom hub for 360 degree rotation, and includes three seat-supporting arms that extend from the top hub, and a pair of uprights that extend from two of the arms. The seat hook-attaches to loops on ends of the arms, and the back extends between the uprights. The legs and arms are pivoted to their respective hubs, but the pivots are slightly frictional so that the arms and legs remain in adjusted positions, with stops on the hubs stopping the legs and arms in their upwardly-pivoted use positions. The frictional pivots include lubricious plastic that facilitates quiet unfolding of the stool, which is important when hunting.



Inventors:
Hoffman, Frederick Scott (Holland, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/196402
Publication Date:
07/09/2009
Filing Date:
08/22/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
108/115
International Classes:
A47C4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NELSON JR, MILTON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PRICE HENEVELD LLP (GRAND RAPIDS, MI, US)
Claims:
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follow:

1. A stool comprising: a frame and a seat supported on the frame; the frame including a top hub and seat-supporting arms extending from the top hub, the frame further including a bottom hub and legs extending from the bottom hub, the top and bottom hubs being rotationally connected so that the seat and seat-supporting arms can be rotated without changing a position of the legs.

2. The stool defined in claim 1, wherein the seat-supporting arms and the legs each are movable between an upward use position for use, and a downward storage position where the arms and legs extend generally parallel each other in a collapsed storage position.

3. The stool defined in claim 1, including a pair of uprights extending from ends of two of the seat-supporting arms, the arms and uprights being movable between a raised position for use and a lowered position where the arms and legs extend parallel each other in a collapsed storage position; and a back attached between the uprights.

4. The stool defined in claim 1, wherein the arms and seat include an attachment system that supports the seat in a hammock-simulating manner, the attachment system including shackles that are releasably engaged to support the seat.

5. The stool defined in claim 1, wherein the seat is a flexible thermoformed construction with at least three hooks for engaging mating structure on the frame for supporting the seat in a hammock-simulating arrangement.

6. The stool defined in claim 1, wherein the frame includes uprights; a back supported on the uprights; the back including a thoracic-supporting section extending between the uprights and a lumbar-supporting section extending between the uprights, and further including a strap that connects the thoracic-supporting section to at least one of the lumbar-supporting section and the seat, the strap being one of adjustable or rotatable to change an amount of support received from the one section.

7. A foldable stool comprising: a frame and a seat supported on the frame; the frame including at least one hub, seat-supporting arms extending from the at least one hub, and legs extending from the at least one hub; the seat-supporting arms and the legs each being movable between a raised position for use and a lowered position where the arms and legs extend parallel each other in a collapsed storage position.

8. The stool defined in claim 7, including a pair of uprights extending from ends of two of the seat-supporting arms, the arms and uprights being movable between a raised position for use and a lowered position where the arms and legs extend parallel each other in a collapsed storage position; and a back attached between the uprights.

9. The stool defined in claim 7, wherein the arms and seat include an attachment system that supports the seat in a hammock-simulating manner, the attachment system including shackles that are releasably engaged to support the seat.

10. The stool defined in claim 7, wherein the seat is a flexible thermoformed construction with at least three connectors for engaging mating structure on the frame for supporting the seat in a hammock-simulating arrangement.

11. The stool defined in claim 7, wherein the frame includes uprights; a back supported on the uprights; the back including a thoracic-supporting section extending between the uprights and a lumbar-supporting section extending between the uprights, and further including a strap that connects the thoracic-supporting section to at least one of the lumbar-supporting section and the seat, the strap being one of adjustable or rotatable to change an amount of support received from the one section.

12. A stool comprising: a frame including seat-supporting arms extending from a hub and a pair of uprights extending from ends of two of the seat-supporting arms, the arms and uprights being movable between a raised position for use and a lowered position where the arms and legs extend parallel each other in a collapsed storage position; a seat attached to the seat-supporting arms; and a back attached between the uprights.

13. The stool defined in claim 12, wherein the arms and seat include a releasable attachment system that supports the seat in a hammock-simulating manner, the attachment system including several first connectors shaped to releasably engage several mating connectors.

14. The stool defined in claim 12, wherein the seat is a flexible thermoformed construction with at least three hooks for engaging mating structure on the frame for supporting the seat in a hammock-simulating arrangement.

15. The stool defined in claim 12, wherein the frame includes uprights; a back supported on the uprights; the back including a thoracic-supporting section extending between the uprights and a lumbar-supporting section extending between the uprights, and further including a strap that connects the thoracic-supporting section to at least one of the lumbar-supporting section and the seat, the strap being one of adjustable or rotatable to change an amount of support received from the one section.

16. A foldable stool comprising: a frame and a seat supported on the frame; the frame including at least one hub, and seat-supporting arms extending from the at least one hub; and the arms and seat including a releasable attachment system that supports the seat in a hammock-simulating manner on the frame, the attachment system including several first connectors shaped to releasably engage mating connectors.

17. The stool defined in claim 16, wherein the seat is a flexible insulated padded construction, the first and mating connectors including at least three hooks for engaging mating structure on the frame for supporting the seat in a hammock-simulating arrangement.

18. The stool defined in claim 16, wherein the frame includes uprights; a back supported on the uprights; the back including a thoracic-supporting section extending between the uprights and a lumbar-supporting section extending between the uprights, and further including a strap that connects the thoracic-supporting section to at least one of the lumbar-supporting section and the seat, the strap being one of adjustable or rotatable to change an amount of support received from the one section.

19. A stool comprising: a frame and a seat supported on the frame; the seat being a flexible insulated padded construction with at least three hooks for engaging mating loops on the frame for supporting the seat in a hammock-simulating arrangement.

20. A stool comprising: a frame including seat-supporting arms and uprights; a seat supported on the arms and a back supported on the uprights; the back including a thoracic-supporting section extending between the uprights and a lumbar-supporting section extending between the uprights, and further including a strap that connects the thoracic-supporting section to at least one of the lumbar-supporting section and the seat, the strap being adjustable to change an amount of support received from the one section.

Description:

This application claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of provisional application 61/019,950, filed Jan. 9, 2008, entitled COLLAPSIBLE HUNTING STOOL.

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates to a folding stool, such as may be used for hunting, photography, and other outdoor applications.

Hunting stools must be durable and long-lasting, yet light weight, portable, easy to set up, and comfortable for seated individuals. They preferably should be adjustable to fit different body sizes and preferences, with any adjustment being quiet, intuitive, and easily done. Also, the equipment should be adapted for use in a variety of different situations encountered in the wild. Still further, it is desirable that the equipment have relatively few components to minimize labor, cost and assembly. I do not know of any existing stools that satisfactorily meet these requirements and functional demands, in my opinion.

SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION

The present inventive stool includes several innovative features. The hubs for supporting the legs and seat are cast metal, such that they are more durable and less noisy than existing known designs. They are pivotally interconnected for 360 degree rotation of the seat, such that the hunter does not have to change his/her position in the seat . . . but instead can simply rotate the seat. The legs are connected to rotate downward into a folded dense storage position, and the seat-supporting arms also rotate downward into their storage position parallel the legs. The legs are infinitely telescopingly adjustable, and are quietly adjustable. They include enlarged feet that do not sink into mud and soft soil. The seat clips into U shackles (loops) on the upper arms, such that they are durable and easy to erect. This creates a comfortable hammock-like seat arrangement. This also leaves the ends of the arms free for mounting back rest hinges, gun mounts, camera mounts, and other accessories to the stool. The back is optional, and includes folding uprights that co-exist with the folding seat-supporting arms and legs. The seat is padded, quilted for aesthetics, insulated for comfort, and both functional and visually pleasing.

In one aspect of the present invention, a stool includes a frame and a seat supported on the frame. The frame includes a top hub and seat-supporting arms extending from the top hub, and further includes a bottom hub and legs extending from the bottom hub. The top and bottom hubs are rotationally connected so that the seat and seat-supporting arms can be rotated without changing a position of the legs.

In another aspect of the present invention, a stool includes a frame and a seat supported on the frame. The frame includes at least one hub. Seat-supporting arms extend from the at least one hub and also legs extend from the at least one hub. The seat-supporting arms and the legs each are movable between a raised position for use and a lowered position where the arms and legs extend parallel each other in a collapsed storage position.

In another aspect of the present invention, a stool includes a frame including seat-supporting arms extending from a hub and a pair of uprights extending from ends of two of the seat-supporting arms. The arms and uprights are movable between a raised position for use and a lowered position where the arms and legs extend parallel each other in a collapsed storage position. A seat is attached to the seat-supporting arms. A back is attached between the uprights.

In another aspect of the present invention, a stool includes a frame and a seat supported on the frame, the frame including at least one hub, seat-supporting arms extending from the at least one hub. The arms and seat include a hook attachment system that supports the seat in a hammock-simulating manner, the hook attachment system including several hooks shaped to releasably engage several mating shackles.

In another aspect of the present invention, a stool includes a frame and a seat supported on the frame. The seat is a flexible insulated padded construction with at least three hooks for engaging mating loops on the frame for supporting the seat in a hammock-simulating arrangement.

In still another aspect of the present invention, a stool includes a frame including seat-supporting arms and uprights. A seat is supported on the arms and a back is supported on the uprights. The back includes a thoracic-supporting section extending between the uprights and a lumbar-supporting section extending between the uprights, and further including a strap that connects the thoracic-supporting section to at least one of the lumbar-supporting section and the seat, the strap being adjustable and/or rotatable to change an amount of support received from the one section.

These and other aspects, objects, and features of the present invention will be understood and appreciated by those skilled in the art upon studying the following specification, claims, and appended drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a fully-assembled stool embodying the present invention in a use position.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the stool in a collapsed position (minus the removable seat and back upholstered components).

FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of the pivotally-connected hubs of the stool.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the seat of the stool clip-attached to the seat-supporting arms.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged side view of one of the hook and U-shackle (loop) connections for holding the seat.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged perspective view of one of the telescoping legs including its clamp.

FIG. 7 is an enlarged perspective view of the foot of the leg.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of the back and torso-support components.

FIGS. 9-11 are perspective views of the frame, FIG. 9 showing the frame in a use position, FIG. 10 showing the frame partially collapsed, and FIG. 11 showing the frame fully collapsed.

FIGS. 12-14 are orthogonal views of FIG. 9; and

FIGS. 15-17 are orthogonal views of FIG. 11.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A hunting stool 20 (FIGS. 1-3) includes a collapsible frame 21 made of lightweight tubular (metal) components, triangular seat 22, and back 23 with lumbar support 24. The frame 21 includes a bottom hub 25 with three telescopingly adjustable legs 26 and enlarged feet 27. In particular, it is contemplated that the tubes can be made of a suitable material including, but not limited to, polymer, carbon/glass fiber, reinforced composite, titanium, magnesium, boron, steel and aluminum materials. A top hub 28 is rotatably coupled to the bottom hub 25 for rotation about a vertical axis, and includes three seat-supporting arms 29 that extend from the top hub 28. A pair of uprights 30 extend from an outer end of two of the arms 29. The seat 22 includes hooks 31 that attach to loops 32 (also called “shackles”) on ends of the arms 29 (see FIG. 5), and the back 23 (and lumbar support 24) (see FIG. 8) extend between the uprights 30. The top hub 28 is connected to the bottom hub 25 by a vertical bolt 33 (FIG. 3), and rotates 360 degrees on plastic washers 34A located between the bottom hub 25 and the top hub 28. The legs 26 and arms 27 are all pivoted to their respective hubs (25 and 28), but the pivots are preferably slightly frictional so that the legs 26 and arms 29 remain in adjusted positions. The hubs 25 and 28 include flanges forming stops on the hubs to limit outward movement of the legs 26 and arms 29 in their upwardly/outwardly-pivoted positions. The illustrated frictional pivots preferably include cap washers 40 (or equivalent) that facilitate a slightly frictional, smooth and noise-free unfolding (or folding) of the stool 20, which allows the process of setting up and collapsing the stool to be very quiet. This can be particularly important when hunting or photographing in the wild.

The triangular seat 22 (FIG. 4) includes a thermoformed fabric-covered or upholstered cushion, and includes straps sewn to its bottom with the hooks 31 on each end (i.e., at each corner). The seat 22 is supported at each corner by hooking the hooks 31 to the loops (shackles) 32 on the seat-supporting arms 29.

The back 23 (FIG. 8) includes a thoracic-supporting upper section 34 formed by a thermoformed fabric covered cushion, with a pocket 34′ sewn into each end for engaging a top of the uprights 30. The illustrated mid-level lumbar support 24 is similar in shape and size to the thoracic-supporting section, and also includes a loop at each end for engaging the uprights 30. A looped strap 35 extends between the section 34, support 24 and a rear of the seat 22. The looped strap 35 includes a lower buckle adjustment 35A that can be shortened/adjusted to increase lumbar support provided by the support 24. It is contemplated that the upper looped strap can be made adjustable to raise a rear/middle of the seat 22 if desired.

The bottom hub 25 (FIG. 3) is generally triangular in shape (or Y-shaped), and is cast of a rigid metal for strength and light weight. The hub 25 includes three outwardly-facing U-shaped throats, each throat including a top flange 38 and side flanges 39 receiving a top end of one of the legs 26. A cap washer 40 (such as nylon or other lubricious material) is positioned inside of each side flange 39, and a pivot pin 41 extends through the side flanges 39, washers 40 and legs 26 to form a lightly frictional pivot. It is the top flange 38 that forms a stop for limiting upward/outward movement of the legs 26. The legs 26 can be pivoted inwardly/downwardly to a collapsed folded position (FIGS. 2, 11, 15-17) for compact storage and transport. Notably, the space within each throat forms a recess for matably receiving a top of the arms 29 for optimal strength and stability.

The three telescopingly adjustable legs 26 (FIG. 6) each include telescoping tubes (such as two or three, depending on a length of extension desired) and tube clamps 43 with threaded locking member 43A (or the like) for securing the tubes in an extended or collapsed position. Notably, the legs 26 are infinitely telescopingly adjustable. This allows a hunter to position his/her seat at an optimal height, such as for viewing or aiming out a window/slit of a stand. It further allows the stool to be positioned level, even when on uneven ground. Further, its adjustment is extremely quiet, since it does not include any items that snap or click into position. Enlarged feet 27 (FIG. 7) are attached to the end of each leg 26. The feet 27 include an enlarged footprint (e.g., 4.5″×4″ or about 18 sq. inches) so that they do not tend to sink into soft soil. The illustrated feet 27 have a rough-surfaced bottom . . . for non-slip engagement with the ground.

The top hub 28 (FIG. 3) is rotatably coupled to the bottom hub 25 by the bolt 33 and nut (not specifically shown), and is supported by the lubricious plastic washer 34A on the bottom hub 25 for 360 degrees of rotation. The rotation is totally quiet, such that a hunter can rotate without creating noise that would scare away prey. The top hub 28 is similar to the bottom hub 25 in its triangular (or Y) shape and three-throat design. Specifically, the top hub 28 is triangular (or Y) in shape, and is preferably cast of a rigid metal for strength and light weight. The hub 28 includes three outwardly-facing U-shaped throats, each throat including a top flange 48 and side flanges 49 receiving a bottom end of one of the arms 29. A cap washer 50 (such as nylon or other lubricious material) is positioned inside of each side flange 49, and a pivot pin 51 extends through the side flanges 49, washers 50 and arms 29 to form a lightly frictional pivot. The top flange 48 forms a stop for limiting upward movement of the arms 29. The arms 29 can be pivoted inwardly/downwardly to a collapsed folded position, with the arms 29 fitting into the depression between the throats on the bottom hub 25.

The pair of uprights 30 (FIGS. 1 and 13) extend from two of the arms 29, and are pivoted to the arms 29 by a pivot pin 61 for movement between an extended position (FIG. 13) and a collapsed folded position (FIGS. 2 and 16). In the extended position (FIG. 1), the back 23 is held so that it positions the back 23 at a desired angle for comfortable use (such as slightly rearward from vertical . . . such as about a 120-140 degree angle from the arms 29 depending on the designer's or user's preference, the preferred angle of the seat-supporting arms 29, and design criteria). In the collapsed folded position, the uprights 30 fold to a tight storage position parallel the legs 26 and seat-supporting arms 29. Also, the seat 22 and back 23 are made to be removed from the frame 21.

The seat 22 (FIGS. 1 and 5) includes hooks 31 (made of metal or plastic) that snap-attach to loops 32 (also called “U-shaped shackles”) on ends of the arms 29. As illustrated, a molded insert-style plug engages an end of the seat-supporting arms 29, and the loops 32 are attached to a protruding end of the plug. Even though the hooks 31 (FIG. 5) include a safety-locking finger 31A that flexes to allow a “snap-attach,” they are durable plastic (or metal) and easily hooked into position, such that their engagement does not create noise. Further, the safety fingers 31A prevent accidental disengagement. The illustrated seat 22 is thermoformed. The value of the thermoformed seat is the following. Normally a hunter has to bring a separate insulated seat pad to place on top of the foldable camp stool. The pad increases warmth and comfort so that a hunter can sit still longer. By integrating the stiff yet flexible thermoformed seat pad into the design, we fix at least two problems associated with a basic camp stool. We increase comfort and warmth. Also, the thermoformed seat pad will flex and bend to match the shape of the user. Using just a webbing or nylon fabric seat would fail this product in the marketplace.

Preferably, the hubs are metal (such as aluminum or other strong metal) and cast metal, such that they are more durable and less noisy than existing known designs. They are pivotally interconnected for 360 degree rotation, such that the hunter does not have to change his/her position in the seat . . . but instead can simply rotate the seat. The legs are connected to rotate downward into a storage position, and the arms also rotate downward into their storage position parallel the legs, which is a novel approach not found in known folding stools. This folding arrangement permits a more dense and shorter storage arrangement. Further, even though the arms fold up for use, they are securely held in their upright use position by the hooks on the seat . . . in a hammock-simulating manner that is very secure and comfortable to a seated user.

The legs are infinitely telescopingly adjustable, and are quietly adjustable, which is contrary to previous legs which include spring-biased detents that noisily snappingly-engage into selected holes when adjusted. The enlarged feet (which have about 18 square inches of surface area) do not sink into mud and soft soil. The seat clips into U shackles (loops) on the upper arms, instead of using a fabric pocket, such that they are more durable and easier to erect. This also creates the comfortable hammock-like seat arrangement noted above. This also leaves the ends of the arms free for mounting back rest hinges, gun mounts, camera mounts, and other accessories to the stool. The back is optional, and includes folding uprights that co-exist with the folding seat-supporting arms and legs. The padded seat is quilted for aesthetics, insulated for comfort, and both functional and visually pleasing.

It is to be understood that variations and modifications can be made on the aforementioned structure without departing from the concepts of the present invention, and further it is to be understood that such concepts are intended to be covered by the following claims unless these claims by their language expressly state otherwise.