Last year alone, Americans spent over $90 million on pick up trucks. This isn't surprising. Pick up trucks are hugely popular. They're comfortable, stylish and the perfect vehicle to take on an adventure. But they're also practical and robust if you need to shift a heavy load. But what if that load just won't fit in the bed of your pick up truck?
Well, that's where a truck bed extender can help. They will help you get the most out of your truck's storage. If you're about to buy one, you need to know exactly what to look out for. In that case, you're in the right place.
Read on to find out exactly what to look for in the perfect truck bed extender.
This is a good place to start when it comes to making the most out of your truck bed storage. Not all truck extenders fit all pick up trucks. Compatibility might vary depending on the make of your truck. But it also depends on the size of your truck. For example, the ReadyRampy I-Beam specifically fits full-size pickups. It won't be any good for a smaller truck.
You can start narrowing down your search of highway products by identifying ones that are compatible with your truck. And by ruling out the ones that aren't!
The capacity of your truck bed extender will depend on what you want to use it for. An extender needs to be able to carry the weight you want to load up. But you also need to think about the dimensions you're carrying. There are several different styles of truck bed extenders. Which one works for you will depend on what you're moving. U-Shaped bed extenders are great if you only need a little more room. They offer you around two extra feet of storage. Simply lower your tailgate and attack the extender on top of it. They work like a cage to secure your load in place. But a U-shaped extender is limited in length. If you're carrying a long load then a long-arm or T-bone extender is a better bet. These extend behind your truck to support a load that sits in the bed. They're great for carrying long loads, like planks or kayaks. Some even extend to reach the same height as the driver's cab. This means you can attach your load to the roof of the cab and the extender out at the back. So you have even more storage space in the bed.
3. A Truck Bed Extender Should Be Versatile
The load you carry in your pickup will often vary. So you want an extender that can accommodate this. One extender might be perfect for a specific job. But if it's useless for any future jobs you might regret your choice. If you buy a long-arm extender then check its reach and weight limit. You should also check its possible positions. Some only stretch out behind the vehicle, while others sit at a steeper angle to match the cab's height. An extender that does both offers you more possibilities for carrying big loads. But make sure you don't scrimp on quality when looking for flexibility.
If you have more than one pick up then you need an extender that fits them all. This means you can switch it up when you need to. As we mentioned earlier, start by looking at compatibility when you're hunting. Finally, different extenders offer you varying options for storage. Some fit permanently on your truck's running boards. But others can fold away against the tailgate.
You might not want to use your bed extender all the time. In this case, look at the storage options for different extenders. Ones that fold down will take up a lot less space in the garage.
4. Good Quality Material
When it comes to trucks or anything road-related, you want the best quality materials.
A huge part of this is for the safety of yourself and others. A poor quality bed extender could be a huge danger out on the roads. So invest in good quality. And it is an investment. A good quality extender will stand the test of time. You'll be able to frequently remove and readjust it to meet your needs.
Some brands use plastic to make their extenders. This is probably one of the weakest materials for the job. This is why some companies choose to combine metal and plastic in their designers.
But if you're looking for strength, then you really can't beat aluminum. Aluminum resists corrosion or chipping while on the road or in storage. And it is a recyclable material so is environmentally friendly! What's not to like?
5. Ease of Installation
A truck extender is no use at all if you can't actually use it. So take time looking into how easily you can install it. This is even truer if you're planning to take it on and off the truck. You could save yourself bags of time by finding one that's easy to install.
Check out the instructions of the extender before you buy it. But also read reviews to get user feedback. This is often the best way to find out if something is actually easy to use.
You might be able to find videos for some truck extenders online. These are some of the most helpful ways to figure out a new system.
You also need to take into consideration whether you'll have help installing it. Some extenders will be easier to fit single-handedly than others. And make sure you always keep your truck toolbox in your driver's cab. You never know when it might come in handy out on the road.
6. Is It Easy to Load Up?
Once you've installed your truck extension you want it to be easy to load. This could come down to personal preference. If you prefer loading your truck bed up then you might prefer a U-shaped extender. But if you feel confident strapping things in place then a long-arm extension will work for you. TramBed truck extensions are very popular if you have a big load for your truck bed. These sit in your truck bed and slide out like a draw. At full extension, they have a supporting arm at one end. Then you can load up and slide the drawer back in.
Adding storage capacity to your vehicle is great for a lot of reasons. But it also increases the weight of your pick up. This can impact your vehicle control. As a result, you might find your vehicle subject to speed safety restrictions. While this is for your own safety, you probably want to avoid being slowed down. So try and keep your truck as light as possible. Getting a light extender helps minimize the weight you add to your vehicle. Aluminum is best for this. It is lightweight but strong.
The Bottom Line
A truck bed extender can provide you with a whole host of possibilities when using your truck. And now you know everything to look out for when buying one!