People who prefer pickup trucks over sedans and station wagons value functionality and performance, which is what trucks often represent. This vehicle is more than just a means of getting around. It can haul cargo, survive a punishing drive on rough terrain, and generally help you get things done, whether it’s moving day or just a weekend adventure with family and friends.

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Pickup trucks are popular because of their performance and functionality. Flickr Photo by photofarmer link credit

Most pickup truck owners love to accessorize their trucks, whether to improve performance, put on cosmetic enhancements, or increase the truck’s overall utility. There is a wide range of pickup truck accessories, interior enhancements and performance parts that are available in the market. But, one of the most popular enhancements that a lot of truck owners often find quite useful is a truck bed extender or tailgate bed extender. A truck bed extender helps increase your truck bed’s load hauling area, allowing for more space when you’re hauling larger cargo like ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, or even large lawnmowers.

If you’re a truck owner in the construction business, pick up truck bed extenders are especially useful for hauling ladders, large sheets of plywood, two by fours, and other tools of your trade. You can safely haul large, heavy equipment with ease and efficiency, especially with the addition of a good quality loading ramp.

But, even if you’re not in the construction business, there are still quite a few uses for a truck bed extender. Take this scenario, for example. You are planning to move to a new house, and we all know how hectic and overwhelming moving day can be. So, when the time finally comes to transport all your belongings to your new apartment, you find out that not all of your stuff will fit in the moving van. You decide to use your pickup truck to haul the rest of your things, but the truck bed does not have enough space to hold the remainder of the moving boxes. This is where a nifty tailgate bed extender can really be of value.

As the name suggests, a bed extender is a type of enhancement accessory that is attached to the bed of the truck to give it extra room, normally a foot or two of added space. One of the most common pickup bed accessories, bed extenders come in a variety of forms and ingenious designs, all serving to increase the length and volume of your pickup truck’s bed, allowing you to haul more or larger items in a safe and orderly manner.

The Basic Types of Bed Extenders

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Tailgating is more fun with a pickup and bed extender. Flickr Photo by Joe Shlabotnik Photo Credit

There are three basic types of bed extenders: the conventional U-shaped bed extender that utilizes the tailgate to provide an extra two feet of cargo space, the bed load extender, otherwise known as a hitch mount, which is mounted to the truck’s rear receiver hitch to allow more load capacity that goes beyond the width of the tailgate, and the truck bed cargo slide, which serves a dual purpose—extra bed space and easy access to the cargo.

The U-shaped design offers maximum load capacity with the tailgate down. What this design actually does is provide a strong barrier for the cargo, since the tailgate is in an open position. This type of bed extender is great for hauling large equipment that does not exceed the overall length of the truck bed, including the downed tailgate. When not in use, the U-shaped bed extender can also serve as a cargo gate to keep the cargo in place while they are being transported.

However, if you are hauling extra long payloads such as lumber, pipes, and roof moldings, the bed load extender, or hitch mount, is better suited for these types of cargo. A bed load extender features an extendable arm that increases the overall length of the truck bed, allowing you to transport your extra-long payloads in a safe and orderly fashion.

The truck bed cargo slide is primarily designed to provide easy access to your cargo. It essentially turns your entire truck bed into a sliding drawer. But because of this sliding feature, they can also be used as a bed extender. All you need is the right hitch mount to provide adequate support, lock the slide in place, and you have yourself a bed extender.

Choosing the Right Truck Bed Extender

When choosing a truck bed extender, there are a couple of things you have to consider: style and compatibility. These are the two key elements that first-time buyers have to take into account. You have to figure out the reasons why you need a bed extender for your pickup truck and what type of payloads you often transport. This will help you determine the type or style of bed extender for your truck.

Once you have the style figured out, you need to think of compatibility. Does the style you have in mind match your pickup truck in terms of design characteristics? In other words, will the bed extender you’ve chosen for your truck actually fit? Vehicle compatibility information is a major part of the decision-making process, especially since not all bed extender designs will work on every make and model of pickup trucks.

When selecting the right bed extender for your truck, it is important to pay close attention to product details, like size specifications and installation procedures. More often than not, the information provided about a particular product can tell you whether or not it’s the perfect fit for your truck. If you’re still not sure, you can always try to find a universal truck bed extender, which has the ability to fit various makes and models.

On the other hand, if you want a factory bed extender model, you can always look for Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) truck bed extenders. You can find OEM products at authorized dealerships. Aftermarket accessory manufacturers also offer a wide range of truck bed extenders that fit most pickup truck models.

A truck bed extender is truly a worthwhile investment for any pickup truck owner. Whatever type of cargo you are hauling, the wide variety of choices available in the market almost guarantees that there is a design that matches your preferences and hauling needs. Check out the Shark Kage video below to know more.

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