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Published Sep. 13, 2021

Every pickup truck owner has been in that tough situation where we don’t have quite enough truck bed storage to haul the load we need to haul. That’s often the case if you keep a pickup truck storage box in your bed. And without an extender, the answer has always been to make an extra trip, find a bigger truck, or borrow or rent a trailer to haul the load. With a good truck bed extender, you can haul loads that you never were able to before. That not only makes your pickup truck more handy, but will make your life easier when it comes time to haul a large load. 

What A Truck Bed Extender Will Do

A truck bed extender is one of the handiest things a pickup truck owner can add to their truck — cargo space can be greatly extended many feet to the back, and even upward. Some truck bed extenders leave your bed open to haul tools, cargo, and equipment along with long, heavy objects.

Gain More Space

Truck bed extenders range from conventional flip-out extenders to extenders that mount on your truck hitch to overhead truck racks that expand your cargo space above your truck bed. The most common extender is a cage-like device that fits onto the tailgate, allowing you to make use of that horizontal space. This type of extender is very convenient because it can be flipped out when needed, then flipped back into your truck bed when not in use. When flipped in, it can even be used to hold cargo in place instead of rattling around in the back of your truck.

Best Truck Bed Extender All-Around: Lund-In-Motion Truck Bed Xtender 

Easy Solution

This bed extender gives lots of extra room, then easily folds out of the way when not needed. Lund

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This Lund-In-Motion model is the best truck bed extender overall because the assembly and installation of this flip-up design are easy. It adds up to two feet of storage, folds out of the way when not needed, and is easily removed. It’s finished in a rust-resistant black powdercoat.

Go Long with a Hitch Mount Truck Bed Extender

While some pickup owners might just need to extend their truck bed enough to haul a few extra tools or cans of paint, others need to haul long loads that require a special type of extender. Those needing to haul a kayak, long pieces of lumber, PVC pipe, or other extra-long loads will find hitch mount truck bed extenders to best meet their needs.

These types of extenders mount in the trailer hitch receiver of your truck and extend for several feet. When raised to the right level, you can put very long boards in the back of your truck, and they’ll be supported by the extender. Strap them down, and you’re ready to go. Be sure your hitch mount extender is the same size as your vehicle’s receiver before you buy so you won’t have a compatibility problem.

Best Truck Bed Extender For Extra-Long Cargo: MaxHaul Hitch Mount Bed Extender 

Sturdy Construction

This smartly designed hitch extender will let you haul extra-long cargo without having to rent a trailer or large truck. MaxxHaul

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This hitch bed extender can extend your bed 37 to 53 inches, letting you carry longer lumber, piping, or other cargo easily and efficiently. Adjustable length and width adds maximum versatility, and the side arms can be folded down to create support for a portable work area. With a load capacity of 300 pounds, it is designed to fit 2-inch hitch receivers.

Take Advantage of Overhead Space

Face it: Many truck owners just need a little extra space. However, some need a rack to hold extra equipment while keeping their truck bed open to hold the rest of their materials, gear, and tools. The answer for them is a truck rack.

Most truck racks mount on the sideboard of your bed and extend upward. Some even extend over the top of the cab, allowing the user to haul loads as long as the pickup itself. Be sure and check the weight rating on any truck racks you are considering to ensure they are strong enough to haul the load you intend to pack there. Weight is also important, as a heavy rack will be much harder to install and remove than a lighter one.

Best Overhead Truck Bed Extender: TracRac Universal Truck Rack 

High & Mighty

This truck rack lets you haul additional oversized cargo while freeing your entire bed for other gear and tools. TracRac

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With 800 pounds of capacity, this truck rack is perfect for hauling heavy, long items that won’t fit in your pickup bed. Able to fit any size of the truck, its rust-resistant aluminum construction with dual stage powder coating is sure to resist wear. It’s easy to install and easily removed for times when you don’t need it.

The Budget Truck Bed Extender

If you’re looking for a low-cost truck bed extender, a cargo net is a great solution. Modern nets are made with high-quality materials that will hold up to hard use, which wasn’t the case with earlier cargo nets.

Best Truck Bed Cargo Net: TireTek Cargo Net 

Secures gear in the bed for less than $30

It’s a strong latex net that will keep smaller items in place. TIRETEK

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This heavy duty 4×6-foot cargo net is made from extra thick 5mm latex core bungee webbing and stretches to 8-foot-by-12-foot. Pile on all the cargo you want, and with this handy net firmly attached over it you won’t have to worry about losing your load piece by piece on the way to your destination. This net also works perfectly for roof top cargo carriers and luggage racks of trucks, trailers, pickups, Jeeps, GMC, SUVs, ATV/UTV, boats, or any oversize load.

FAQs

More information around picking the best truck bed extenders.

Q: Are truck bed extenders worth it?

If you need to haul an oversize load, the perfect truck bed extender for your needs is absolutely worth the expense. Just weigh the cost against having to make another trip or having to rent a bigger truck or trailer, and the benefits far outweigh the expense. 

Q: How much does a bed extender add?

Conventional truck bed extenders add about 2 feet to your cargo area, or about the height of your tailgate. Hitch mounted extenders yield far more extra space than that when hauling long objects you couldn’t even consider hauling in your truck bed otherwise. A full-size pickup equipped with a hitch extender can haul 12- and even 16-foot boards easily and safely.

Q: What to look for in a truck bed extender?

That all depends on the cargo you are most likely to be hauling most frequently. If it’s long pieces of lumber, pipes, or other equipment, a hitch mounted extender would likely be best. If you want to retain your bed space while also being able to haul long objects, an overhead rack will likely serve your needs. But if you just need to add a couple of extra feet of bed space, the conventional flip-out truck bed extenders are typically the best choice.

A Final Tip about Truck Bed Extenders

Make sure that you consider where you’ll store the bed extender if and when you won’t be using it. If you have limited storage space, you may need to keep the extender on your truck whether you need it or not. 

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