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Title:
SUSPENDABLE PORTABLE SHELTER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/132021
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A suspendable portable shelter, suitable for use in outdoor activities such as mountain climbing, cycling, boating, or hiking, comprising an inflatable base member and a flexible outer cover configured to envelop the base member, the flexible outer cover comprising a mounting means from which the suspendable portable shelter may be suspended in use, an interior portion of the flexible outer cover being adapted to receive the inflatable base member and having a complementary shape to the inflatable base member.

Inventors:
SCHULZE, Johannes Wolfe Ole (23 Wharf Road, Te Atatu PeninsulaAuckland, 0610, 0610, NZ)
Application Number:
NZ2018/050003
Publication Date:
July 19, 2018
Filing Date:
January 12, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SCHULZE, Johannes Wolfe Ole (23 Wharf Road, Te Atatu PeninsulaAuckland, 0610, 0610, NZ)
International Classes:
E04H15/04; A45F3/26; A47C17/84
Foreign References:
US20160107095A12016-04-21
US4590956A1986-05-27
US6167898B12001-01-02
US20070169803A12007-07-26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BALDWINS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (Level 15, HSBC House1 Queen Stree, Auckland 1010, 1010, NZ)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

A suspendable portable shelter comprising:

an inflatable base member; and

a flexible outer cover configured to envelop the base member, the flexible outer cover comprising a mounting means from which the suspendable portable shelter may be suspended in use;

wherein an interior portion of the flexible outer cover is adapted to receive the inflatable base member and has a complementary shape to the inflatable base member.

A suspendable portable shelter according to claim 1 , wherein the flexible outer cover further comprises a base portion, two opposed side portions and two opposed end portions.

A suspendable portable shelter according to any preceding claim, wherein the inflatable base member has a width which is substantially equal to a width of a base portion of the flexible outer cover and the inflatable base member has a length which is substantially equal to a length of the base portion.

A suspendable portable shelter according to any preceding claim, wherein, in use, the inflatable base member holds a lower part of two opposed side portions and two opposed end portions of the flexible outer cover which are provided for adjacent the base portion in a spaced-apart relationship.

A suspendable portable shelter according to any preceding claim, wherein the inflatable base member is separable from the base portion or in that the inflatable base member is integral with or permanently connected to the base portion.

A suspendable portable shelter according to any preceding claim, wherein the flexible outer cover comprises a plurality of panels.

A suspendable portable shelter according to claim 6, wherein a first of said panels extends from the mounting means to the base portion.

A suspendable portable shelter according to claim 7, wherein the first panel forms part of the base portion.

9. A suspendable portable shelter according to any of claims 6 to 8, wherein a second panel of said panels forms part of a first side portion of the flexible outer cover, part of the base portion, part of a second side portion of the flexible outer cover, and part of one of two end portions of the flexible outer cover. 10. A suspendable portable shelter according to any of claims 6 to 9, wherein the first panel and the second panel comprise identically or at least similarly shaped sections of the base portion, the first side portion, and the second side portion.

11. A suspendable portable shelter according to claim 10, wherein the flexible outer cover includes an overlap region between the first panel and the second panel which overlap region extends from the mounting means along the first side portion, the base portion, and the second side portion back to the mounting means.

12. A suspendable portable shelter according to any preceding claim, wherein a first substantially planar part of the base portion is out of plane with a second substantially planar part of the base portion. 13. A suspendable portable shelter according to claim 12, wherein an angle by which the first substantially planar part and the second substantially planar part are out of plane ranges between 10° and 30°, more preferably around 20°.

14. A suspendable portable shelter according to any preceding claim, wherein a material of the first panel and the second panel comprises a woven fabric exhibiting a straight grain direction, a crossgrain direction, and a bias direction, wherein a stretch of the material in the bias direction is substantially greater than the stretch of the material in the straight grain and/or in the crossgrain direction.

15. A suspendable portable shelter according to claim 14, wherein the material in each of the first panel and second panel is oriented such that one of the grain direction or the crossgrain direction is substantially parallel to a direction of the respective first or second panel at an intersection line of one of the first side portion or second side portion and the base portion.

16. A suspendable portable shelter according to any preceding claim, wherein the flexible outer cover comprises a closeable opening in one of the end portions thereof, the closeable opening sized to allow a user access to an interior of the flexible outer cover (2).

17. A suspendable portable shelter according to any preceding claim, wherein the flexible outer cover comprises at least one vent means.

18. A suspendable portable shelter according to any preceding claim, wherein at least one of the first panel and second panels comprise ripstop nylon.

19. A suspendable portable shelter according to any preceding claim, wherein the inflatable base member comprises a plurality of transverse baffles.

20. A suspendable portable shelter comprising:

an inflatable base member; and

a flexible outer cover configured to envelop the base member, the flexible outer cover comprising a base portion, and a mounting means;

wherein, the flexible outer cover comprises a plurality of interconnected panels, wherein a first of the interconnected panels extends from the mounting means to the base portion, and forms part of the base portion.

21. A suspendable portable shelter according to claim 21 , wherein the flexible outer cover further comprises two opposed side portions and two opposed end portions.

22. A suspendable portable shelter according to claim 14, wherein a second of the interconnected panels forms part of a first side portion of the flexible outer cover, part of the base portion, part of a second side portion of the flexible outer cover, and part of one of two end portions.

23. A kit of parts for a suspendable portable shelter comprising:

an inflatable base member; and

a flexible outer cover configured to envelop the base member, the flexible outer cover comprising a base portion and a mounting means;

wherein the inflatable base member has a width which is substantially equal to a width of the base portion and the inflatable base member has a length which is substantially equal to a length of the base portion.

24. A kit of parts for a suspendable portable shelter according to claim 24, wherein the flexible outer cover further comprises two opposed side portions and two opposed end portions.

25. A suspendable portable shelter substantially as herein described.

26. Any novel feature or combination of features disclosed herein.

Description:
SUSPENDABLE PORTABLE SHELTER

Field

The present invention relates to a suspendable portable shelter, and in particular, but not exclusively to a suspendable portable shelter which is suitable for use in outdoor activities such as mountain climbing, cycling, boating, or hiking.

Background

Suspendable portable cots (often referred to as "portaledges") have been used for many years by outdoor enthusiasts such as mountain climbers, cyclists or hikers to provide a place to lie down and sleep during overnight or multi-day climbs.

Typically, such cots comprise a rigid rectangular perimeter frame which supports a fabric base. The frame is connected to an anchor point by multiple straps. In use, the user wears a climbing harness which is connected to the terrain by a separate strap as a backup in case the cot fails.

A separate "fly", similar to that used with a tent, may be placed over the frame and straps when necessary to provide a shelter from wind or rain.

One problem with such cots is their weight. Since the cot must be carried with the climber, the weight of the device is critical. To minimise weight, the poles from which the frame is assembled may be made from aluminium. Nevertheless, a typical portaledge may weigh 6 kg or more.

A second problem with such cots is the difficulty of assembly. In order to pack the cot down to a form factor which can be carried while climbing, the perimeter frame must be disassembled. However, since the cot will typically only be used where there is no flat, horizontal space available, assembling the frame and straps can be extremely difficult. Not only can this lead to frustration on the part of the user, but the time required to assemble the cot is time which cannot be spent climbing. Furthermore, if the climber miscalculates how much daylight remains then it may be necessary to attempt to assemble the cot in the dark, which may be difficult or impossible. If any component of the perimeter frame is lost or damaged, the cot may be unusable.

All references, including any patents or patent applications cited in this specification are hereby incorporated by reference. No admission is made that any reference constitutes prior art. The discussion of the references states what their authors assert, and the applicants reserve the right to challenge the accuracy and pertinency of the cited documents. It will be clearly understood that, although a number of prior art publications are referred to herein, this reference does not constitute an admission that any of these documents form part of the common general knowledge in the art, in New Zealand or in any other country.

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, throughout the description and the claims, the words "comprise", "comprising", and the like, are to be construed in an inclusive sense as opposed to an exclusive or exhaustive sense, that is to say, in the sense of "including, but not limited to".

Object of the invention

It is an object of the present invention to address the foregoing problems or at least to provide the public with a useful choice. Further aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the ensuing description which is given by way of example only.

Disclosure of the invention

According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a suspendable portable shelter comprising:

an inflatable base member; and

a flexible outer cover configured to envelop the base member, the flexible outer cover comprising a mounting means from which the suspendable portable shelter may be suspended in use;

wherein an interior portion of the flexible outer cover is adapted to receive the inflatable base member and has a complementary shape to the inflatable base member.

Preferably, the flexible outer cover further comprises a base portion, two opposed side portions and two opposed end portions.

Preferably, the inflatable base member has a width which is substantially equal to a width of the base portion and the inflatable base member has a length which is substantially equal to a length of the base portion.

Preferably, in use, the inflatable base member holds a lower part of the side portions and end portions adjacent the base portion in a spaced-apart relationship. Preferably, the inflatable base member is separable from the base portion. Alternatively, the inflatable base member may be integral with or permanently connected to the base portion.

Preferably, the flexible outer cover comprises a plurality of panels.

Preferably, a first of said panels extends from the mounting means to the base portion.

Preferably, the first panel forms part of the base portion.

Preferably, a second of said panels forms part of a first side portion of the flexible outer cover, part of the base portion, part of a second side portion of the flexible outer cover, and part of one said end portions.

Preferably, the first panel and the second panel include identically or at least similarly shaped sections of the base portion, the first side portion, and the second side portion.

Preferably, the flexible outer cover includes an overlap region between the first panel and the second panel which overlap region extends from the mounting means along the first side portion, the base portion, and the second side portion back to the mounting means.

Preferably, a first substantially planar part of the base portion is out of plane with a second substantially planar part of the base portion.

Preferably, an angle 2a by which the first substantially planar part and the second substantially planar part are out of plane ranges between 10° and 30°, more preferably around 20°.

Preferably, a material of the first panel second panel comprises a woven fabric exhibiting a straight grain direction, a crossgrain direction, and a bias direction, wherein a stretch of the material in the bias direction is substantially greater than a stretch of the material in the straight grain and/or in the crossgrain direction.

Preferably, the material in each of the first panel and second panel is oriented such that one of the grain direction or the crossgrain direction is substantially parallel to a direction of the respective panel at an intersection line of one of the first side portion or the second side portion and the base portion.

Preferably, the flexible outer cover comprises a closeable opening in one of the end portions thereof, the closeable opening sized to allow a user access to an interior of the flexible outer cover.

Preferably, the flexible outer cover comprises at least one vent means. Preferably, at least one of the first and second panels comprises ripstop nylon.

Preferably, the inflatable base member comprises a plurality of transverse baffles.

According to a second aspect of the present invention there is provided a suspendabie portable shelter comprising:

an inflatable base member; and

a flexible outer cover configured to envelop the base member, the flexible outer cover comprising a base portion and a mounting means;

wherein the flexible outer cover comprises a plurality of interconnected panels, wherein a first of the interconnected panels extends from the mounting means to the base portion, and forms part of the base portion.

Preferably, the flexible outer cover further comprises two opposed side portions and two opposed end portions.

Preferably, a second of the interconnected panels forms part of a first side portion of the flexible outer cover, part of the base portion, part of a second side portion of the flexible outer cover, and part of one said end portions.

According to a third aspect of the present invention there is provided a kit of parts for a suspendabie portable shelter comprising:

an inflatable base member; and

a flexible outer cover configured to envelop the base member, the flexible outer cover comprising a base portion and a mounting means;

wherein the inflatable base member has a width which is substantially equal to a width of the base portion and the inflatable base member has a length which is substantially equal to a length of the base portion.

Preferably, the flexible outer cover further comprises two opposed side portions and two opposed end portions.

Brief description of drawings

Further aspects of the present invention will become apparent from the following description which is given by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which: Figure 1 is a perspective view of a suspendable portable shelter according to one embodiment of the invention;

Figure 2 is a perspective view of the suspendable portable shelter of Figure 1 with side portion and a vent cover portion removed for clarity, and

Figure 3 is a bottom view of the suspendable portable shelter of Figure 1 ;

Figure 4 is a side view of a panel of the suspendable of the portable shelter of Figure 1 ; Figure 5 is a side view of two panels of the suspendable portable shelter of Figure 1 ; Figure 6 is a side view showing a fabric orientation in panels of the suspendable portable shelter of Figure 1. Best modes for carrying out the invention

Referring first to Figures 1 and 2, a suspendable portable shelter (sometimes known as a "portaledge") is generally referenced by arrow 100.

The shelter 100 comprises an inflatable base member 1 which is enveloped by a flexible outer cover 2 in use. The flexible cover 2 has two opposed side portions 3, two opposed end portions 4, and a base portion 5. The base, side and end portions are shaped to create an enclosed volume 6 in which a user of the shelter 100 can reside when the shelter 100 is in use. The enclosed volume 6 is preferably substantially pyramidal in shape when in use.

The flexible outer cover 2 comprises a plurality of interconnected panels. The term "panel" is used herein to denote a single piece of material.

A first panel 7 extends from a mounting means 8 (for example a webbing loop) to the base portion 5. The first panel 7 preferably forms part of the base portion 5, as best seen in Figure 3. A similar panel 9 to the first panel 7 is provided opposite the first panel 7.

A second panel 0 forms part of a first side portion 3a of the flexible outer cover 2, part of the base portion 5, part of a second side portion 3b of the flexible outer cover, and part of a first end portion 4a. A similar panel 1 1 to the second panel 10 forms another part of the first side portion 3a of the flexible outer cover 2, another part of the base portion 5, another part of the second side portion 3b, and part of a second end portion 4b. In preferred embodiments, the entire base portion 5 is formed from panels 7, 9, 10, 11 which also comprise part of the side portions and/or end portions.

In another preferred embodiment, which will now be described with reference to Figures 4 and 5, a first panel P1 and a second panel P2 are used to form a substantial part of the flexible outer cover. Panels P1 and P2 are at least similar in a sense that they encompass identically or at least similarly shaped sections of the base portion 5, the first side portion 3a, and the second side portion 3b, as indicated in Figure 4. This figure shows the first panel P1 in a state before it is combined with other panels (including P2) to assemble the outer cover 2, which is composed of several panels.

Figure 4 shows only the first panel P1 which in this example corresponds in shape to the second panel P2. While the first panel P1 and the second panel P2 are shown as having an identical shape in the embodiment shown in Figure 5, the skilled person will understand that variations in shape between the first panel P1 and the second panel P2 might result from additional pockets, openings, flaps, reinforcement panels, and the like, which could be only present on one of the first and second panels P1 , P2, rendering the shape of the first and second panel PI , P2 similar rather than identical. Also, P1 and P2 may be shaped to include regions that comprise end portions 4 of the assembled cover 2.

The first panel P1 shown in Figure 4 is axially symmetrical with regard to axis A-B. Lines L1 and L2 indicate which areas of the panel P1 will form a part of the base portion 5 once the outer cover 2 is fully assembled, and which areas will form part of the first side portion 3a and the second side portion 3b, respectively. Reference numeral 8 indicates the area of the first panel P1 forming part of, or being adjacent to, the mounting means 8.

Figure 5 shows a next step in the making of the outer cover 2, in which step the first panel P1 and the second panel P2 are each folded at their respective axis of symmetry, which is axis A-B in case of the first panel P1. It is immediately apparent from the figure that both the first panel P1 and the second panel P2 include parts of the base portion 5 and the first side portion 3b. The skilled person will also understand from the figure that the areas shown mask the areas of the first and second panels P1 , P2 which form part of the second side portion 3b.

As indicated by the two mutually opposing arrows in Figure 5, the first panel P1 and second panel P2 are joined such that the lines A-C and D-E indicated in Figure 5 of the respective panels come to lie on top of each other. Similarly, lines A-H and D-G come to lie on top of each other. During the assembly of the outer cover 2, a suitable joint will be established in or at the boundaries of an overlap region R1 , R2, hatched in the figure, which extends also on the side of the first and second panels P1 , P2 which is not shown in the figure. This way, a continuous surface is created serving to delimit the enclosed volume 6. Although parts of the first and second panels P1 , P2 forming the two opposing end portions 4a, 4b are not depicted in Figures 4-6, the skilled person will appreciate that these parts can easily be included in the first and second panels P1 , P2 or joined with these panels as additional panels.

As will be understood, the overlap region R1 , R2 extends in the assembled state of the outer cover 2 from the mounting means 8 along the first side portion 3a, the base portion 5, and the second side portion 3b back to the mounting means 8. Due to the double layer of material in the overlap region R1 , R2, which includes the areas of the first and second panels P1 , P2 forming part of or being adjacent to the mounting means 8, the overlap region R1 , R2 is particularly strong and robust. This is beneficial as the overlap area R1 , R2 serves as a load introduction area during use of the shelter 100.

Figure 6 shows a side view of the outer cover 2. In the embodiment shown, the outer cover 2 includes the first panel P1 and the second panel P2 as set out above. As will be explained in more detail below, the figure shows the outer cover 2 with the ends of the base portion 5 being slightly higher than the centre of the base portion 5, represented by point AD, when the shelter 100 has been assembled and suspended, but is not bearing the weight of the user. As a consequence, the base portion exhibits an angle ω at its centre. An axis of symmetry of the outer cover 2 is given by line AD- .

The flexible outer cover 2 is manufactured from a material which is sufficiently strong to support the weight of at least one person when the shelter 100 is in use. The material is preferably also waterproof. Ripstop nylon is one example of a suitable material.

In a preferred embodiment, the material of the first panel P1 and the second panel P2 comprises a woven fabric exhibiting a straight grain direction, a crossgrain direction, and a bias direction, wherein a stretch of the material in the bias direction is substantially greater than the stretch of the material in the straight grain and/or in the crossgrain direction. The abovementioned Ripstop nylon exhibits also these features.

Furthermore, in a preferred embodiment, the material in each of the first panel P1 and the second panel P2 is oriented such that one of the grain direction or the crossgrain direction is substantially parallel to a direction of the respective panel P1 , P2 at an intersection line of one of the first side portion 3a or second side portion 3b and the base portion 5. The following geometrical explanations are made with reference to the first panel P1 but are equally applicable to the second panel P2.

In Figure 6, the fabric orientation is illustrated by double arrows F1 and F2, respectively, representing orthogonal directions of the fabric's fibres. In the figure, arrow F1 , which extends parallel to the intersection line L2 of the first side portion 3a and the base portion 5, indicates the grain direction, while F2 indicates the crossgrain direction, but the skilled person will appreciate that a design in which F1 indicates the crossgrain direction, while F2 indicates the grain direction, is also feasible.

Similarly, in the second panel P2, the grain direction F1 or crossgrain direction, F2, respectively, is oriented parallel to intersection line L3. As is known in the art, the bias direction of a fabric is at an angle β with regard to the directions F1 and F2. In Figure 6, the bias direction, represented by arrow S1 , includes an exemplary angle of β = 45° with the crossgrain direction F2 in panel P1. The bias direction in the second panel P2 is mirrored at the symmetry axis AD-M as indicated at point P in the figure.

In the overlap region R1 , R2, where the material is doubled, the bias directions S1 , S2 span an angle δ as exemplarily shown at point P. Depending on the size of the angle ω at point AD and on the orientation of the fabric in the first and second panels P1 , P2, this angle δ is a measure of how rigid the first and second panels P1 , P2 are in the overlap region R1 , R2, when compared to other regions.

Basic geometric calculus gives

1

a = - (180 - ω)

and

δ = 2 β - α) As a rule, an angle of 5=90° represents maximum amount of rigidity in the overlap area, i.e. the biggest difference in stretch between the overlap area R1 , R2 and the other areas of the first and second panels P1 , P2, whereas an angle of δ=0° represents minimum amount of rigidity in the overlap area, i.e. the lowest difference in stretch between the overlap area R1 , R2 and the other areas of the first and second panels P1 , P2. In a preferred embodiment, for an angle of ω = 160°, a bias direction deviating at β = 45° from the grain direction F2, and a fabric orientation as described above, i.e. parallel to the intersection lines L2 and L3, respectively, the angle δ equals δ=70°.

Accordingly, in the present embodiment, the first and second panels P1 , P2 will substantially deform only in the areas outside the overlap areas R1 , R2, and predominantly in the directions S1 and S2, respectively. As a result, when the base portion 5 is loaded by the weight of a user, its ends will deform approximately as indicated by arrows Δ and the respective dashed lines in the bottom part of Figure 6. For purposes of illustration, in the figure, B represents a corner of the base portion 5 in its unloaded state, while B' represents the same corner of the base portion 5 when the base portion 5 is loaded with the weight of a user.

Hence, the present invention allows to adjust the deformation behaviour of the shelter 100 according to e.g. variations in user weight or choice of fabric, without departing from the concept to use large, continuous panels of the same material, which is beneficial in view of the avoidance of seams and thus the overall robustness of the shelter 100.

The mounting means 8 is connected to or integral with the flexible outer cover 2. The mounting means 8 is suitable for connecting the portable shelter 100, in use, to suitable hardware (for example a piton, camming unit or similar) which is in turn connected to a terrain feature such as a crack in a rock face.

In a preferred embodiment shown in Figure 2, the mounting means 8 is also connected to or integral with an anchor 12 provided inside the flexible outer cover 2. In use the user may wear a harness (not shown) which is connected to the anchor 12 in order to provide a backup means of connection to the terrain if the flexible outer cover 2 is damaged or fails.

In an alternative embodiment, the outer cover 2 includes a passage near the mounting means 8 through which a safety rope can be guided from the harness of the user to an anchor external to the portable shelter 100.

The flexible outer cover 2 is preferably shaped to receive and accommodate the inflatable base member 1 snugly. The inflatable base member 1 preferably has a width which is substantially equal to the width of the base portion and a length which is substantially equal to the length of the base portion, such that an interior portion of the flexible outer cover 2 adjacent the base portion 5 has a complementary shape to the inflatable base member Un a preferred embodiment, the inflatable base member 1 may be an inflatable mattress. In preferred embodiments, the inflatable base member 1 is provided with a plurality of transverse baffles 13 shown in Figure 2.

In use, the flexible outer cover 2 is secured to a suitable terrain feature and the inflatable base member 1 is inflated to a suitable internal pressure (in preferred embodiments the normal inflation pressure for an inflatable mattress will suffice) and is subsequently inserted into the flexible outer cover 2 to lie adjacent the base portion 5. The inflatable base member 1 provides sufficient resistance to compression that those parts of the side portions 3a, 3b and end portions 4a, 4b adjacent the base portion 5 are held apart in a predetermined spaced-apart relationship without the need for rigid compression members such as the frame members used by the portaledges of the prior art. In preferred embodiments, the portable shelter 100 is absent any tubular compression member or at least is absent a rigid perimeter frame. Because no such perimeter frame is required, the portable suspendable shelter of the present invention may weigh much less than the portable cots of the prior art, for example around 1.5kg.

The flexible outer cover 2 is provided with at least one closable opening 14 through which the user can enter the shelter 100. The opening 14 may be provided with any suitable releasable fastening means (not shown), for example a zip or a hook and loop fastener. The opening 14 is preferably provided at one end of the flexible outer cover 2.

As can be seen in Figure 2, the flexible outer cover 2 is preferably also provided with at least one vent means 15. The vent means 15 is preferably provided with a cover portion 16 to prevent water ingress, as shown in Figure 1. In preferred embodiments, a vent means 15 is provided in each end portion 4a, 4b.

As has already been mentioned with regard to Figure 6, in preferred embodiments of the invention, the flexible outer cover 2 is shaped such that when the portable shelter 100 has been assembled and suspended, but is not bearing the weight of a user, a first substantially planar part 17 of the base portion is out-of-plane with a second substantially planar part 18 of the base portion (exaggerated for clarity in the Figures). In some embodiments, the second part 18 of the base portion forms an angle 2a of between 10° and 30° with the first part 17 of the base portion, more preferably around 20°, such that the ends of the base portion 5 are slightly higher than the centre of the base portion 5 when the shelter 100 has been assembled and suspended, but is not bearing the weight of the user. Forming the base portion 5 in this way prevents the ends of the base portion 5 from drooping below the centre of the base portion under the weight of the user. In some embodiments, an adjustable strap 19 may be provided at one end of the shelter 100 so that the user can adjust the length of the end portion.

The portable shelter 100 may be supplied as a kit comprising an inflatable base member 1 and a separate flexible outer cover 2. However, some embodiments the inflatable base member 1 may be integral with or permanently connected to the flexible outer cover 2.

Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention provides a portable shelter 100 which is substantially lighter than the portable cots of the prior art, and which is substantially faster and easier to assemble.

The entire disclosures of all applications, patents and publications cited above and below, if any, are herein incorporated by reference.

Reference to any prior art in this specification is not, and should not be taken as, an acknowledgement or any form of suggestion that that prior art forms part of the common general knowledge in the field of endeavour in any country in the world.

The invention may also be said broadly to consist in the parts, elements and features referred to or indicated in the specification of the application, individually or collectively, in any or all combinations of two or more of said parts, elements or features. Where in the foregoing description reference has been made to integers or components having known equivalents thereof, those integers are herein incorporated as if individually set forth.

It should be noted that various changes and modifications to the presently preferred embodiments described herein will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Such changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention and without diminishing its attendant advantages. It is therefore intended that such changes and modifications be included within the present invention.

Aspects of the present invention have been described by way of example only and it should be appreciated that modifications and additions may be made thereto without departing from the scope thereof.