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What is a Truck Bed Extender and is it Worth It?

Trucks are versatile vehicles that allow you to pull or carry just about any load, but there are times you may need more space. A truck bed extender is ideal for moving bulky or long items such as kayaks, timber, or scaffolding. 

It’s essential to choose high-quality professional models, as a DIY truck bed extender could be dangerous and may not be legal. While your choice of bed extender depends on your specific requirements, several factors can help you make the best choice.

What is a Truck Bed Extender?

Also known as truck tailgate extenders, these useful accessories are racks or cage-like devices that increase your truck bed’s loading area, providing stability for oversized cargo. 

The size and load capacity of different tailgate extenders varies, so before purchasing, ensure your model is compatible with your pickup. If you don’t have a pickup truck but still need to haul large cargo, most of the best truck bed extender models are compatible with vans, SUVs, and crossovers. Many come with mounting hardware that enables you to attach the extender to your roof.

You must also check if the pickup bed extender you intend to purchase can work with the tailgate up and down for added flexibility. You can choose a hitch mounted truck bed extender or a model with a gooseneck hitch extender, depending on your truck make and model. 

Are Truck Bed Extenders Worth It?

The most common use for pickup truck bed extenders is the occasional transportation of unwieldy or oversized items. However, a bed extender can be useful for everyday tasks, such as grocery shopping and hauling tools and equipment to the farm or construction site, making them a versatile addition to your truck.

Many adventurers find them invaluable when heading away for a weekend camping to transport tents, water sports equipment, and other camping gear. Because they are often compatible with other vehicles, you can use your extender even if you purchase a new car or RV. 

If you are relocating to a new home, it can become expensive when moving oversized furniture because you may need to hire professionals with larger vehicles. However, with a truck bed extender, you may fit the items in your pickup’s bed, making it more affordable than hiring professional movers.

Whether you need a truck bed extender for everyday use or occasional extra loading space, the added security when using a truck bed extender reduces the risk of damage during transportation regardless of what you are hauling, making it a worthwhile investment for any truck driver. 

How Much Space Does a Bed Extender Add?

Many types of bed extenders add varying amounts of extra space to your pickup truck. You can add models such as gooseneck hitch extenders that can add up to two feet of additional carrying capacity, or choose smaller models if you don’t need as much spare space. 

Truck Bed Extension Types

The best truck bed extender for smaller items that do not extend beyond your tailgate is standard U-shaped models. These units attach to your tailgate and can provide an additional 2” of loading space. U-shaped bed extenders are made from robust plastic or aluminum and are suitable for transporting light- to medium-weight items.

Bedside extenders add more carrying capacity as they feature sturdy support arms to transport heavier items that are longer than the bed of your vehicle. 

A cargo slide unit moves smoothly in and out in a drawer-like style. This innovative engineering design makes it straightforward for loading and unloading your goods. However, unlike other extender models, you cannot use this unit with a gooseneck extension or hitch mount. You must purchase a right-mount hitch to secure the drawer for optimal cargo support when the extender is locked. 

You also need to consider the attachment style to ensure it is the right fit for your vehicle. For most pickup trucks, a hitch-mounted truck bed extender can meet your needs, which uses a steel rod mounted to the truck’s hitch receiver. 

For smaller vehicles, many people prefer to use a gooseneck extender for short bed trucks, and this design provides the ideal combination of balance and increased capacity.

Truck Bed Extender Installation

Different truck bed extenders require varying levels of installation expertise. If you are unfamiliar with extender installation, it is best to engage the services of a professional.

Some models are relatively easy to install for those who have experience with adding components to their trucks. It’s crucial to ensure your addition meets all road safety regulations and is roadworthy. Ensure your taillights and brake lights are visible to comply with DOT regulations. 

Even if you assemble the truck bed extender without help, it may be useful to ask a professional to examine the finished job to assess any weak points.

Best Truck Bed Extenders and Where to Buy Them

Darby Industries is a reputable and trusted supplier of truck bed extenders. The family-owned company’s products are made from rugged heavy-gauge steel and offer user-friendly features such as pre-drilled holes and pins for easy mounting. 

Although Ecotric is well known for its high-quality bikes, the brand also offers a fantastic range of truck bed extenders. Because the models are durable and can secure substantial loads, they are a popular choice for many pickup truck owners.

How to Protect Your Truck Bed and Extender

It’s vital to take care of your truck bed extender to get the most value for money. Durabak provides protective bedliners that are trusted by the US Navy. Using our roll-on or spray polyurethane coating, you can protect your purchase from the elements, including moisture, UV rays, and extreme cold temperatures. 

Our products are suitable for all climates and weather, and they provide a rust-proof seal from water and other contaminants. Our protective coating lasts for years, and does not chip, peel, or crack. It is easy to apply and offers superior impact protection and abrasion resistance. 

When purchasing your truck bed extender, make sure you protect it with our quality Durabak polyurethane coatings.

When searching for the best truck bed extender for your requirements, you can find many excellent models in your local store. Walmart, Lowes, and Home Depot stock a wide range of suitable bed extenders for any large or small hauling task. 

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