Title:
Climbing Treestand
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A treestand apparatus has a frame having a first end configured to engage a tree and a second end configured to support a user's weight, a double locking cinch including a first toothed belt attached to the frame at first and second points, with a portion of the first toothed belt between the first and second points being configured to extend around the tree and a second toothed belt attached to the frame at first and second points, with a portion of the second toothed belt between the first and second points being configured to extend around the tree opposite the first toothed belt. At least one of the points of the frame includes a mechanism configured to selectively adjust the length of a portion of the double locking cinch, with mechanisms located ideally proximal to the tree.



Inventors:
Bedell, Raymond L. (Providence, UT, US)
Application Number:
13/315761
Publication Date:
04/05/2012
Filing Date:
12/09/2011
Assignee:
BEDELL RAYMOND L.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
182/136
International Classes:
A63B27/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHIN-SHUE, ALVIN CONSTANTINE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STEVEN L. NICHOLS (SALT LAKE CITY, UT, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A treestand apparatus comprising: a frame having a first end configured to engage a tree and a second end configured to support a user's weight; Without damage to the tree using a multiple swivel belt attachment which cradles the trunk of the tree rather than biting into the tree trunk. a double locking cinch comprising: a first toothed belt attached to said frame at first and second points, a portion of said first toothed belt between said first and second points being configured to extend around said tree; and a second toothed belt attached to said frame at first and second points; a portion of said second toothed belt between said first and second points being configured to extend around said tree opposite the first toothed belt; wherein at least one of said points of said frame comprises a mechanism configured to selectively adjust a length of the double locking cinch.

2. The treestand apparatus of claim 1, wherein said mechanism comprises a pair of pawls configured to engage the individual teeth of said toothed belts.

3. The treestand apparatus of claim 1, wherein said mechanisms comprises internal and external portions which allow easy inspection and replacement of parts of said mechanisms.

4. The treestand apparatus of claim 1, wherein said mechanisms comprise independently mounted springs.

5. The treestand apparatus of claim 1, wherein said frame comprises a composite material.

6. The treestand apparatus of claim 1, wherein said frame comprises shoulder straps.

7. The treestand apparatus of claim 1, wherein said frame comprises wheels and an extendable handle.

8. The treestand apparatus of claim 1, further comprising one or more attachments for connection of a safety harness.

9. The treestand apparatus of claim 1, further comprising an extendable frame.

10. The treestand apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a second double locking cinch attached to said frame at third and fourth points wherein at least one of said third and fourth points of said frame comprises a mechanism configured to selectively adjust a length of the second double locking cinch.

11. The treestand apparatus of claim 10, wherein said mechanism comprises a pair of pawls configured to engage the individual teeth of the second double locking cinch.

12. The treestand apparatus of claim 1, wherein said toothed belt comprises a resilient material.

13. The treestand apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first end further comprises: a pair of arm components generally forming a “V” shape configured to receive the trunk of a tree; a pair of band supports rotably coupled to the angled supports; and a band coupled to the band supports placed between the band supports and the trunk of a tree.

14. The treestand apparatus of claim 13, wherein the arm components are coupled to the band supports with a support arm rotably coupled at one end to the pair of arm components and rotably coupled to the band supports at the other end.

15. A system for climbing a tree, comprising: a first main frame having a first double locking cinch attached thereto at first and second points, said first double locking cinch comprising: a first toothed belt attached to said frame at first and second points, a portion of said first toothed belt between said first and second points being configured to extend around said tree; a second toothed belt attached to said frame at first and second points; a portion of said second toothed belt between said first and second points being configured to extend around said tree opposite the first toothed belt; a second main frame having a second double locking cinch attached thereto at third and fourth points, a portion of said second double locking cinch being configured to extend around said tree; wherein each of said first and second main frames comprise a mechanism configured to selectively adjust a length of said portion of said first and second double locking cinches, respectively.

16. The system of claim 15, further comprising a third double locking cinch attached to said second main frame, a portion of said third double locking cinch being configured to extend around said tree. wherein the second main frame comprises a mechanism configured to selectively adjust a length of said portion of said third double locking cinches. Employing one or more ratchet mechanisms to positively cinch the belt around the back of the tree and the belt around the front of the tree in a tight friction engagement around the entire circumference of the tree trunk.

17. The system of claim 15, wherein at least one of said mechanisms comprises a pawl configured to engage individual teeth of said double locking cinch.

18. The system of claim 15, wherein said first main frame comprises a seat.

19. The system of claim 15, wherein said second main frame is comprises an apparatus to attach said user's feet thereto.

20. The system of claim 15, wherein at least one of said first and second main frames comprises a composite material.

21. The system of claim 15, wherein at least one of said first and second main frames comprises shoulder straps.

22. The system of claim 15, wherein at least one of said first and second main frames comprises an extendable handle and wheels.

24. A method of climbing a tree, said method comprising: providing a system as defined in claim 15; coupling said user's feet to said second frame; and ascending a tree; wherein said user uses said ratchet mechanisms to shorten the length of said double locking cinches to compensate for a diminishing tree trunk diameter.

25. A method of climbing a tree, said method comprising: providing a system as defined in claim 15; coupling said user's feet to said second frame; and ascending a tree; wherein said user alternately disengages said double locking cinches to manipulate said system around an obstacle in said tree.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a continuation-in-part and claims the priority under 35 U.S.C. §120 of prior U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/142,166, entitled “Climbing Treestand,” filed Jun. 19, 2008, which in turn claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §120 of prior U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/728,709, entitled “Climbing Treestand, filed Mar. 27, 2007, which in turn claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) from U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/,787,098, filed Mar. 28, 2006, in the name of Raymond Bedell. These prior applications are incorporated by reference in their respective entireties.

BACKGROUND

Many people prefer to observe or hunt large game animals from the vantage point provided by an elevated platform in a high tree. Such vantage points provide the opportunity to hunt and observe wildlife while avoiding detection by big-game animals roaming through the general vicinity of the platform-bearing tree.

Climbing treestands are frequently used by hunters to ascend tree trunks and provide an elevated platform on which to support their weight during hunting. A climbing treestand is both a climbing aid and, eventually, a platform supporting the climber in the tree. These treestands typically rely on a cable or strap that extends around a tree trunk to support the weight of the hunter during ascension and subsequent hunting operations. It is common for some climbing tree stands to include a top piece, upon which the hunter may sit, and a bottom piece, configured to receive one or both of the hunter's legs. The top and bottom pieces are used to ascend a tree trunk using what is known as the “sit and stand” technique.

In the “sit and stand” technique, a user alternately rests his or her weight on one of the pieces while raising the other piece with respect to the tree trunk. Thus, when the hunter's weight is on the top piece and the bottom piece is being raised with respect to the trunk, the hunter is sitting. Conversely, when the hunter's weight is on the bottom piece and the top piece is being raised with respect to the tree trunk, the hunter is standing. Climbing tree stands are generally more versatile and less dangerous than fixed tree stands, and consequentially enjoy widespread usage by many large game hunters.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings illustrate various embodiments of the principles described herein and are a part of the specification. The illustrated embodiments are merely examples and do not limit the scope of the claims.

FIG. 1 is an illustration of an exemplary top piece of a climbing tree stand, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 2 is an illustration of a perspective view of an exemplary top piece of a climbing tree stand with the arms in extended position, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 3 is an illustration of an exemplary bottom piece of a climbing tree stand, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 4 is an illustration of a perspective view of an exemplary bottom piece of a climbing tree stand with the arms in extended position, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 4a is an illustration of a perspective view of an exemplary bottom piece of a climbing tree stand with the arms in extended position, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 5 is an illustration of an exemplary first end of a climbing tree stand, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 6 is an illustration of an exemplary front end of a climbing tree stand, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 7 is an illustration of an attachment mechanism, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 8 is an illustration of a portion of an exemplary ratchet mechanism and an exemplary toothed belt, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 9 is an illustration of a portion of an exemplary compression grip mechanism and belt or cable, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 10 is an illustration of a side view of the top piece and bottom piece with arms collapsed and the pieces attached together for portability, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 11 is an illustration of a user carrying an exemplary climbing tree stand, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 12 is an illustration of a user pulling an exemplary climbing tree stand behind him, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 13 is an illustration of an exemplary climbing tree stand in the process of ascending a tree, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 14 is an illustration of an exemplary climbing tree stand in the process of ascending a tree, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 15 is an illustration of an exemplary climbing tree stand in the process of ascending a tree, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 16 is an illustration of an exemplary climbing tree stand in the process of ascending a tree, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 17 is an illustration of an exemplary climbing tree stand in the process of ascending a tree, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 18 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary method of ascending a tree, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

FIG. 19 is a flowchart illustrating an exemplary method of ascending a tree, according to one embodiment of the principles described herein.

Throughout the drawings, identical reference numbers designate similar, but not necessarily identical, elements.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Notwithstanding the many benefits associated with climbing treestands, users of climbing treestands available in the art often encounter problematic situations. For example, tree trunks tend to taper in diameter, becoming narrower as a climber ascends. Typically climbing treestands include cables configured to extend around the trunk of a tree. These cables are difficult to adjust or may not be adjustable at all. Without adjusting the cable, the user has very little control over the pitch of the climbing treestand, which may vary substantially due to the change in tree trunk diameter upon ascension of the tree.

An additional problem often encountered by users of climbing treestands is that of encountering branches in a tree trunk upon ascension of the tree. Generally, climbing treestands have only one cable extending around the tree trunk, and therefore the maneuver of dismounting and disassembling the treestand in order to move around the branch may be unsafe. Typically treestand users faced with this problem cut the branch off of the trunk, which in turn causes damage to the tree, may cause a hazard on the forest floor, and may startle or notify game of a hunter's presence.

To address the issues mentioned above, the present specification describes a climbing treestand having a belt or cable configured to extend around the diameter of a tree trunk. The belt or cable is connected to the climbing treestand by at least one connection mechanism. The connection mechanism allows for adjusting the length of the portion of the belt or cable that extends around the tree trunk, thus providing enhanced pitch control to a user. The present specification further describes an example of a climbing treestand having a first and second belt or cable on the foot or platform section, configured to extend around a tree trunk. The plurality of belts or cables allows for a user to safely maneuver the treestand around branches and other obstacles protruding from the tree trunk. The specification also addresses portability issues by describing wheels, collapsible arms, straps to carry the apparatus as a backpack, carrying bags, extendable frames, and a telescoping handle.

In the following description, for purposes of explanation, numerous specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present systems and methods. It will be apparent, however, to one skilled in the art that the present systems and methods may be practiced without these specific details. Reference in the specification to “an embodiment,” “an example” or similar language means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment or example is included in at least that one embodiment, but not necessarily in other embodiments. The various instances of the phrase “in one embodiment” or similar phrases in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment.

The principles disclosed herein will now be discussed with respect to exemplary climbing treestand apparatus and systems for climbing trees.

Exemplary Apparatus

Referring now to FIG. 1, an exemplary top portion of a climbing treestand apparatus (100) is shown. The climbing treestand apparatus (100) includes a main frame (140) having a first end (110) and a second end (115). The first end (110) is configured to engage a tree, and includes components generally forming a “V” shape permitting the first end (110) to engage tree trunks having a wide range of diameters. A sort of padding (112) made of substantially resilient material, such as polyurethane, may be placed on the first end (110) situated so that it will be between the main frame (140) and the tree for better grip and protection of the tree trunk. The second end (115) is configured to support the weight of a user. In this case, the main frame is configured to support the user's weight by providing a seat (145) for the user to sit on during and after climbing operations. The second end (115) may also provide attachments for a safety harness for safety in the case of a fall. According to one example, the attachment may include a ring (150) attached to the seat (145) that is configured to support the user's weight. A safety harness may be attached to the ring (150) securing a user to the tree stand. According to another example, the ring (150) may be attached to the underside of the seat (145). According to another example, the ring (150) may be attached at any secure point to connect to any safety harness worn by a user. Said ring can be attached at any secure point to connect to any safety restraint harness worn by operator.

The main frame (140) may be partially or substantially made out of a lightweight, strong composite material. In other embodiments, the main frame (140) may be made out of metal.

The main frame (140) has attached to it first and second arms (120, 125) to which a double locking cinch system (170) may be attached. In this embodiment, the double locking cinch system (170) includes a first toothed belt (105), made of resilient material, which is removably attached with a first set of ratchet mechanisms (130, 135). The first set of ratchet mechanisms (130, 135) are configured to allow the user to selectively alter the length of a portion of the first toothed belt (105) that runs between the first and second arms (130, 135) for example, while ascending or descending a tree. This portion of the first toothed belt (105) is configured to extend around the back side of the tree, opposite the side engaged by the first end (110) of the main frame (340). Specifically, the first set of ratchet assemblies of this example permit the movement of the first toothed belt (105) through the ratchet mechanism (130, 135) in a direction that shortens the length of at least a portion of the first toothed belt (105) configured to extend around a tree. The portion of the first toothed belts (105) configured to extend around the tree may be lengthened by depressing a ratchet pawl, as will be shown in more detail in subsequent figures. In this example, the first toothed belt (105) is positioned on a side of the tree opposite the main frame (140).

Similarly, the double locking cinch system (170) may include a second toothed belt (155), made of resilient material, that is removably attached to the main frame (140) with a second set of ratchet mechanisms (160, 165) configured to secure the climbing tree stand to the tree. The second toothed belt (155) and second set of ratchet mechanisms (160, 165) are configured to shorten a portion of the length of the second toothed belt between the ratchet mechanisms (160, 165). In this example, the second toothed belt (155) is positioned on front side of the tree, that is the same side engaged by the first end (110) of the main frame (340). In this fashion the first toothed belt (105) and the second toothed belt (155) together encompass the circumference of the trunk of the tree. According to this example, after the first toothed belt (105) has been adjusted to achieve the desired pitch, the second tooth belt (155) may be adjusted to tighten around the trunk of the tree. Doing so increases friction between the tree and the climbing tree stand to more rigidly secure the device (100) to the tree and to prevent slippage of the device when the operator has reached the position desired. This increases the safety of the device (100) and further reduces the environmental impact of the device on the tree.

According to one example, the second toothed belt (155) and the second set of ratchet mechanisms (160, 165) may be attached to the first toothed belt (105) after the stand has been placed on the tree. According to another example, the second set of ratchet mechanisms (160, 165) may be attached to the first toothed belt (105). In this example a portion of the second toothed belt (155) is inserted into the ratchet mechanisms and tightened after the stand has been placed on the tree and the desired position reached.

Prior art has described multiple belt attachments located at the proximal portion near the front of the stand platform without a ratchet mechanism. Thus it is not intuitively obvious to one skilled in the art as the attachment at the front of the platform would require the operator to face away from the tree to bend over placing full weight on the front of the stand making it dangerous and impossible to release the belt attachments. In this art the operator remains in contact with and facing the tree placing his weight on the back portion of the stand platform and in contact with the hand portion of the device allowing weight to be taken off the stand portion of the platform thus allowing the release and operation of the ratchet mechanism. This mechanism describes art not heretofore described in prior patent art In addition this device describes a third belt attached to the upper belt which has a second double ratchet mechanism which can be cinched closing the space from the front of the tree as well as the back of the tree allowing the belts to be securely attached to the tree in order to prevent slippage of the device when the operator has reached the position desired. This tightening mechanism has not been described in prior art nor has the tightening opposite direction ratchet dual belt mechanism. This ratchet mechanism is not solidly attached to the tree stand or hand climber mechanism, but instead is attached to the belts after the stand has been placed on the tree. These mechanisms are also applicable in tree stands which are not self climbing by design but rather those referred to as strap on stands.

As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, there are variations on the type of belt or cable that may be used in the double locking cinch system (170) to hold the treestand apparatus (100) and user against the trunk of the tree. For example, as an alternate to the toothed belts (105, 155) and ratchet mechanisms (130, 135, 160, 165), the first and second arms may receive a synthetic or metal cable with spring activated compression grips. The cable or belt used will be able to bear the weight of the treestand and user. The cable or belt may also be made of resilient material that will withstand the wear and tear of use in outdoor environments, scraping against tree trunks, and frequent belt or cable length adjustment.

The arms (120, 125) may be collapsible angular extensions of the main frame (140). The arms (120, 125) may be attached to the main frame by hinges or pins (127, 128) that allow the angular rotation of the arms. A support weldment (121) forming a “V” shape may be attached to the arms (120, 125) to support them in their extended positions. The support weldment (121) may be attached to the arms (120,125) by hinge like connectors or pins (123, 124) to allow the rotation of the weldment (121) from collapsed to extended positions. These hinges or pins (127, 128, 123, 124) may be sufficiently strong to support the weight of an individual and his/her gear. The weldment (121) may be removably attachable to the main frame (140) by a connector (126) that receives a hole (122) in the weldment and holds the arms (120, 125) in extended position. The connector (126) may be, for example, a bolt and wing-nut combination for quick removal and attachment.

The embodiment further comprises bolts (141) to attach to a bottom portion of the treestand. The bolts (141) may be placed on the main frame (140) with the threaded portion facing down or away from the face where the arms (120, 125) are attached. As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, the bolts (141) may be replaced by other suitable connectors, such as pins or hooks. The attachment of the treestands will be discussed later in further detail.

Referring now to FIG. 2, a perspective view of the exemplary top portion (100) of the climbing treestand apparatus is shown. The double locking cinch system (170) been left out for simplicity and the arms (120, 125) are shown in extended position. In extended position, the weldment support (121) is attached to the main frame via the bolt (126) as previously discussed. The hinges or pins (123, 124, 127, 128) that attach the arms to the weldment and main frame create a triangle of support with the bolt attachment (126) for rigidity in the extended position. The support weldment (121) can be detached and rotated forward or backwards to allow the arms (120, 125) to be collapsed. The arms (120, 125) are meant to be in extended position when engaging a tree and collapsed position for transport.

Referring now to FIG. 3, an exemplary bottom portion of a climbing treestand apparatus (300) is shown. The climbing treestand apparatus (300) includes a main frame (340) having a first end (310) and a second end (315). The first end (310) is configured to engage a tree, and includes a “V” shape and padding (312), similar to that of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1. Furthermore, the second end (315) of the main frame (340) is configured to support a user's weight by providing foot straps (365) to attach the user's feet to the main frame (340) and allow the user to stand on the main frame (340).

The main frame (340) may be made of some sort of metal or substantially or partially fabricated from a lightweight, strong composite material to provide versatility in transporting the climbing treestand apparatus (300).

The exemplary bottom portion of the climbing treestand apparatus includes a pair of belts or cables. Specifically in FIG. 3, the apparatus (300) includes first and second toothed belts (305, 307) made of resilient material, both of which are removably attached to first and second arms (330, 335) of the main frame (340), with ratchet mechanisms similar to those discussed in relation to FIG. 1. The ratchet mechanisms, or equivalent attachment mechanisms, allow the user to selectively alter the length of the portion of the first and second toothed belts (305, 307) between the first and second arms (330, 335) of the main frame (340). These portions of the toothed belts (305, 307) are configured to extend around the tree engaged by the first end (310) of the main frame (340).

The toothed belts (305, 307) may be independently adjustable. One of the toothed belts (305, 307) may be disengaged from the main frame (340) while another of the toothed belts (305, 307) maintains its position extending around the tree trunk and attached to the main frame (340) allowing the treestand to remain secured to the tree while one of the belts is not attached.

Again, as discussed in relation to FIG. 1, alternate belts or cables along with alternate attachment mechanisms may also be used in place of the depicted toothed belts (305, 307) and ratchet mechanisms.

The exemplary treestand apparatus (300) further includes wheels (345, 350) that may be used to conveniently transport the treestand apparatus (300) on the ground. In one embodiment, the wheels (345, 350) may be used in conjunction with a pop-up handle, similar to those used with many suitcases. A pop-up handle may be mounted, for example, on the underside of the main frame (340).

In this embodiment, the arms are collapsible in a similar manner to that shown in FIG. 1. The apparatus includes a support weldment (331) with a hole (332) that can be received by a connector (336) when the arms (330, 335) are in extended position.

The embodiment further comprises threaded holes (341) to receive the bolts (141, FIG. 1) from the top portion of the treestand. The top (100, FIG. 1) and bottom (300, FIG. 3) portions of the treestand may be attached for portability as will be displayed in a later drawing. Once again, a variation on the threaded holes (341) may be used depending on the connecting mechanism used to attach the tree stands. For example, if hooks or pins were used on the top portion (100, FIG. 1), corresponding hooks or holes may be used on the bottom portion (300).

Referring now to FIG. 4, a perspective view is shown of the bottom portion of the treestand apparatus (300) of FIG. 3. The toothed belts (305, 307, FIG. 3), or comparable cables or belts, are left out for simplicity. The arms (330, 335) are shown in extended position with the support weldment (331) attached to the main frame via the connector (336). The arms (330, 335) are attached to the main frame (340) and support weldment (331) by hinges or pins (405, 406, 407). The last hinge or pin connecting the support to one of the arms (330) is not in view.

The first and second arms (330, 335) are shown to include housings (410, 415, 420, 425) for the ratchet assemblies by which the toothed belts (305, 307, FIG. 3) are attached to the first and second arms (330, 335). If alternate belts or cables are used, assemblies used for the attachment of the said belts or cables may be placed in a similar location, with attachments located ideally proximal to the tree.

With reference to toothed belts and ratchet assemblies, and as will be similar to other cable or belt configurations, the ratchet assemblies permit the free movement of the toothed belts (305, 307 of FIG. 3) through the ratchet housings (410, 415, 420, 425) in one direction and prevent movement of the toothed belts (305, 307, FIG. 3) in a second, opposite direction. Movement by the toothed belts (305, 307, FIG. 3) in the second, opposite direction may be accomplished by pressing the lever, cam, or pawl of the ratchet assembly concurrent to the movement.

Specifically, the ratchet assemblies of this embodiment permit the movement of the toothed belts (305, 307, FIG. 3) through the ratchet housings (410, 415, 420, 425) in a direction that shortens the length of at least one of the portions of the toothed belts (305, 307, FIG. 3) configured to extend around a tree. The portions of the toothed belts (305, 307, FIG. 3) configured to extend around the tree may be lengthened only by depressing a ratchet pawl, as will be shown in more detail in subsequent figures.

Referring now to FIG. 4a, a perspective view is shown of an exemplary bottom portion of the climbing tree stand (300) of FIG. 3. The toothed belts (305, 307, FIG. 3), or comparable cables or belts, are left out for simplicity. In this example, a portion of the second end (315) is extendable beyond the main frame (340). This enables the frame to be collapsed for transportation and extended when mounted on a tree. According to this example, the frame of the second end (315) inserts into the main frame at a joint (430, 432). The second end (315) includes a number of adjustment holes (440) with corresponding adjustment holes (442) in the main frame. The adjustment holes (440, 442) allow for the selection of the length that the second end (315) extends beyond the main frame (340). A locking connector (450) secures the second end (315) to the main frame (340) when the adjustment holes (440, 442) are aligned. As will be apparent to one skilled in the art, there are variations on the type of locking connector (450) that may be used to secure the second end (315) to the main frame (340). Examples of locking connectors include, but are not limited to, a nut and bolt, bolt and cotter pin, and a spring-loaded pin.

FIG. 5 is an illustration of an exemplary first end (510) of FIG. 1, used to secure the climbing tree stand to the tree. Certain elements, including the support weldment (121) have been left out for simplicity. The first end (510) includes arm components (512, 514) generally forming a “V” shape permitting the first end (510) to engage generally circular tree trunks having a wide range of diameters. Attached to the arm components (512, 514) are a pair of band supports (516, 518) which may rotate. The band supports (516, 518) permit the first end (510) to engage tree trunks having a wide range of diameters. The band supports (516, 518) may be attached to the arm components (512, 514) by hinges or pins (520, 522) that allow angular rotation of the band supports. A band (524) made of substantially resilient material, such as polyurethane, may be coupled to the band supports (516, 518) so that it will be between the band supports and the tree for better grip and protection of the tree trunk. The first end (510) may be used to secure the top portion (FIG. 1, 100), and the bottom portion (FIG. 3, 300) to the tree.

FIG. 6 is an illustration of an exemplary first end (610) used to secure the climbing tree stand to the tree. Certain elements, including the support weldment (121) have been left out for simplicity. The first end (610) includes arm components (512, 514). Attached to the arm components (512, 514) are a pair of support braces (612, 614) which may rotate. The support braces (612, 614) may be attached to the arm components (512, 514) by hinges or pins (616, 618) that allow angular rotation of the support braces. Connected to the support braces (612, 614) are a pair of band supports (516, 518) which may rotate. Similarly the band supports (516, 518) may be attached to the support braces (612, 614) by hinges or pins (620, 622) that allow angular rotation of the band supports. The support braces (612, 614) and the band supports (516, 518) permit the first end (610) to engage tree trunks having a wide range of diameters. The first end (610) also includes the band (524). The first end (610) may be used to secure the top portion (FIG. 1, 100), and the bottom portion (FIG. 3, 300) of the climbing tree stand to the tree.

Referring now to FIG. 7, an exemplary attachment mechanism (700) that is used to attach a belt or cable to the treestand arms (335, 330 FIGS. 3 and 120, 125 FIG. 1) is shown. The attachment mechanism (700) may also be used in the double locking cinch system (170, FIG. 1) to attach the top portion (100) to a tree, and to stabilize the tree stand to a tree through the second toothed belt (155, FIG. 1). As described above, the double locking cinch system (170, FIG. 1) includes first and second toothed belts (105, 155, FIG. 1) that when fed through a first and second set of ratchet mechanisms (130, 135, 160, 165, FIG. 1) respectively allow the second toothed belt around the front of the tree to remain slack while climbing, while the second toothed belt encircling the back side of the tree may freely move up and down the trunk of the tree. Once a desired position has been reached, the second toothed belt may be tightened against the front side of the tree. This mechanism is not simply a circular belt but instead two different belts each fed through the double belt ratchet mechanism allowing the forward belt around the front of the tree closest to the operator to remain slack while climbing, while the belt encircling the back side of the tree away from the operator to move freely up and down the tree using the sit and stand climbing technique to place weight on or off the stand in a wedging fashion. The forward belt will have the slack removed by the ratchet mechanism by manual engagement by the operator when secure attachment to the tree is desirable. The attachment mechanism (700) includes a housing (710), a pawl (705), a pivot pin (715), a spring (725), and a spring pin (720). The spring (725) has one end in contact with the ratchet housing (710) and another end that engages the pawl (705). The following figures will give specific details regarding attachment mechanisms for different belt or cable types.

A belt or cable may be fed through the housing (710) where it is engaged by the spring-loaded pawl (705) and restricted. An outer end of the pawl (705) provides a lever which may be depressed by the user to disengage the pawl (705) from the toothed belt (305, FIG. 3) and permit the toothed belt (305, FIG. 3) unrestrained movement in either direction through the housing (710). As used in the double locking cinch system, two attachment mechanisms (700) are employed, each facing a different direction. In this fashion, one attachment mechanism may be used to attach the climbing tree stand to a tree. The second attachment mechanism may then be tightened against the tree, offering a more secure attachment of the climbing tree stand to the tree.

The ratchet mechanism (700) depicted in this embodiment has internal and external portions which allow easy inspection and replacement of the parts of the ratchet mechanism.

Referring now to FIG. 8, a side view of an attachment assembly (800) that is configured to engage toothed belts is shown. The attachment assembly (800) for toothed belts will also be referred to as a ratchet assembly. The ratchet assembly (800) is shown in conjunction with a toothed belt (305). The housing (710, FIG. 7) and spring elements (720, 725, FIG. 7) have been removed to better illustrate the interaction between the ratchet pawl (805) and a toothed belt (305).

The pawl (805) has a recess (810) designed to engage individual teeth (815) of the toothed belt (305). The geometries of the teeth (815) and the pawl (805) are such that movement of the toothed belt (305) to the right is possible. The spring-loaded pawl (805) locks the toothed belt (305) into position by preventing it from moving to the left as long as the pawl (805) has engaged one of the teeth (815). When a leftward motion of the toothed belt is desired, the pawl (705) must be disengaged by rotating it counterclockwise about the pivot pin (715). This rotation may be accomplished by depressing the top of pawl (805).

Referring now to FIG. 9, a side view of an attachment assembly (900) that is configured to engage a non-toothed belt or cable is shown. The attachment assembly (900) for a non-toothed belt or cable will also be referred to as a compression grip assembly. The compression grip assembly (900) is shown in conjunction with a non-toothed belt or cable (910). The housing (710, FIG. 7) and spring elements (720, 725, FIG. 7) have been removed to better illustrate the interaction between the compression grip pawl (905) and a non-toothed belt or cable (910).

The geometry of the pawl (905) is such that movement of the belt or cable (900) to the right is possible. That is, if the belt or cable (910) is pulled to the right, the friction between the pawl (905) and the belt or cable (910) will reduce the compression of the belt or cable (910) and allow the right-ward movement. However, the geometry of the pawl (905) inhibits the movement of the cable or belt (910) to the left. The spring-loaded pawl (905) along with friction between the pawl (905) and belt or cable (910) locks the belt or cable (910) into position by preventing it from moving to the left as long as the pawl (905) sufficiently compresses the belt or cable (910). When a leftward motion of the belt or cable (910) is desired, the pawl (905) must be disengaged by rotating it counterclockwise about the pivot pin (715). This rotation may be accomplished by depressing the top of pawl (905).

Referring now to FIG. 10, the treestand (1000) consists of the top (100) and bottom (300) portions of the treestand. Both portions (100, 300) of the treestand are collapsed and attached for portability. The dotted lines are used to distinguish each portion of the tree stand (100, 300). The bottom portion of the treestand in this view comprises the mainframe (340), an arm (330), the support weldment (331), and a wheel (345). The top portion (100) in this view comprises the main frame (140), the arm (120), the support weldment (121), and attachment bolts (141). Using the attachment bolts (141) and the receiving bolt holes (341, FIG. 3), the portions are attached firmly together. The collapsibility and attachment of the frames allows for easy portability of the treestand.

Referring now to FIG. 11, an exemplary climbing treestand apparatus (300) is shown mounted on the back of a user (1105) with shoulder straps (1110, 1115).

Referring now to FIG. 12, the exemplary climbing treestand (1000) is shown pulled by a user (1205). The attached climbing treestand apparatus (1000) may be rolled on wheels (350) behind a user (1005) holding onto the main frame (340, FIG. 3) of the bottom portion (300) of the treestand. Although not shown in this figure, an extendable handle similar to that used on luggage may also be included. Luggage bags (not shown) may also be attached to the stand (1000) in which the stand may be placed and carried or checked as a piece of airline luggage. Additional bags may also be incorporated onto the stand such as a detachable fanny pack, or pouches for holding needed items while ascending, descending, or waiting for game in the stand.

Exemplary System

FIGS. 13-17 illustrate an exemplary system (1300) for climbing a tree (1305) in various stages of ascending a tree. The system (1300) includes first and second climbing treestand apparatus (100, 300). Each climbing treestand apparatus (100, 300) has a main frame and extending arms.

The first climbing treestand apparatus (100) is configured to support a user's weight with the user sitting thereon, and has a double locking cinch system (170). Included in the double locking cinch system is a first toothed belt (105) attached to the extending arms at two points with ratchet mechanisms. A portion of the toothed belt (105) extends around the back side of the tree (1105) thereby securing the apparatus (100) to the tree. The second tooth belt (155) attached to the extending arms at two points with other ratchet mechanism. A portion of the second toothed belt (155) extends around the front side of the tree opposite the portion surrounded by the first toothed belt. With the first toothed belt (105) adjusted as desired, the second toothed belt (155) tightens against the tree to further secure the climbing treestand apparatus (100) to the tree. In this arrangement the first toothed belt (105) may be released to pass around the back of the tree and over any limbs which are encountered during the ascent or descent of the tree. In this arrangement the second of the two belts can be released to pass around the back of a tree and over any limbs which are encountered during the ascent or descent of the tree. After the second belt is passed around the tree and over an obstacle such as a limb, the first belt is released until the operator has cleared the obstacle. The second belt is then reattached and secured to allow a double belt system to continue the climb and thus be ready for the repeat of the process when another obstacle is encountered. This system has not been described in prior art. It is not intuitively obvious to one skilled in the art as no prior art has described the necessity of a double belt and ratchet mechanism to overcome the above described obstacles encountered during the related activities. In addition this device has a belt attachment at the base of the stand platform which engages contact with the tree. The double swivel belt attachment allows a more secure grip to the tree without damaging the tree. Other prior art has described metal teeth and solidly attached rubber posts. These damage the trees and do not allow the cradling action of the belt to securely adhere to the tree without damage to the tree.

The second climbing treestand apparatus (300) is configured to support the user's weight with the user standing thereon. The second apparatus (300) has two toothed belts (305, 307), which, similar to the first apparatus (100), are each attached to the arms of the second apparatus at two points with ratchet mechanisms. A portion of each of the toothed belts (305, 307) extends around the tree (1305).

The exemplary system (1300) is configured to allow a user to climb the tree (1305) using the “sit and stand” technique, in which the first and second apparatus (100, 300) serve to alternately ascend or descend the tree trunk and provide support for the weight of the user. This and other similar techniques are known in the art. The user is not shown in the figures for clarity.

Referring now to FIG. 13, the system (1300) is shown ascending the tree (1305) with a branch (1310) as a potential obstacle to the system (1300). To continue ascending the tree (1305), the first or upper climbing treestand apparatus (100) must be manipulated around the branch (1310). To do so, the toothed belt (105) may be disengaged from the main frame using the ratchet mechanism. While the second apparatus (300) supports the user's weight, the first apparatus (100) may then be secured to the tree above the branch (1310) and the toothed belt (105) reattached to the main frame with the ratchet mechanism.

Referring now to FIG. 14, the system (1300) is shown with the first apparatus (100) above the branch (1310), and one of the toothed belts (307) of the second apparatus (300) disengaged. The toothed belt (307) may be disengaged from the arm using the ratchet mechanism. Once disengaged, the loose toothed belt (307) may be manipulated over the branch (1310) and reengaged into the main frame, while maintaining a constant anchor to the tree (1305) from the other toothed belt (305) of the second apparatus (300).

Referring now to FIG. 15, the system (1300) is shown with the first climbing treestand apparatus (100) and one of the toothed belts (307) of the second climbing treestand above the branch (1310). The second belt (305) is still engaged and attached below the branch.

Referring now to FIG. 16, the system (1300) is shown with the toothed belt (305) that was beneath the branch (1310) disengaged from the main frame, while the second climbing treestand apparatus (300) is being supported by the engaged toothed belt (307) above the branch (1310).

Referring now to FIG. 17, the system (1300) is shown with all of the toothed belts (105, 155, 305, 307) connected to their corresponding treestand climbing apparatus (100, 300) above the branch (1310). Using ratchet mechanisms in conjunction with toothed belts (105, 305, 307) the treestand apparatus (100, 300) may be successfully and safely manipulated around obstacles such as branches (1310).

Exemplary Methods

Referring now to FIG. 18, an exemplary method (1800) of climbing a tree is shown. The method (1800) includes the step of providing (step 1805) a tree-climbing system, as described in relation to FIG. 13. A user's feet are then coupled (step 1810) to the tree-climbing system. The user then ascends (step 1815) the tree, compensating (step 1820) for a diminishing tree trunk diameter by using two attachment mechanisms to shorten the length of the belts or cables extending around the tree.

Referring now to FIG. 19, another method (1900) of climbing a tree is shown. The method includes the step of providing (step 1905) a tree-climbing system as described in relation to FIG. 13. A user's feet are coupled (step 1910) to the system, and the user then ascends (step 1915) the tree, alternately disengaging (step 1920) the belts or cables to manipulate the system around an obstacle in the tree.

The preceding description has been presented only to illustrate and describe embodiments and examples of the principles described. This description is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit these principles to any precise form disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching.





 
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