Truck Bed Extenders
Truck Bed Extenders
A Moving Anecdote
I remember it like it was yesterday, but it was 8 or 9 years ago at least. And we were moving… again. Not far, just the next town over, but still. So I loaded up the ‘84 Chevy pickup with all she could carry and then some over and over again.
I had made several trips solo, cause, you know, I’m a man and I can’t ask for help. But my girlfriend (who I was moving too, of course) was off work for this particular run, so she hopped in the cab with me.
I remember all the tips my dad had told me about loading up my truck bed. I played the Tetris game to maximize space used and used every last one of my tie downs. It should have been enough. Should’ve.
There’s a stretch of backroad highway, just a state route two-lane, nothing major, between where we used to live and where we were moving. It’s a straight shot down route 16. Quick and painless. Or so I thought.
In hindsight, I should have maybe left off the dresser. But I was thinking: maximize load to minimize the number of trips. So I shoved the big antique looking dresser up front at the bulkhead. It didn’t completely blow my view out the back window, but almost. And we had the side mirrors, so it wasn’t like I wouldn’t be able to backup or see behind me.
Then I filled out the rest of the truck’s bed with a few odds and ends, and of course a bed frame, a queen size mattress and the box springs to boot.
Here’s where I went wrong, and hindsight and all that, but you can go ahead and tell me. I know. I screwed up, major. I put the mattress down first and then I threw the box springs on top. Rookie mistake, I know. I think maybe I was feeling overconfident. I mean, I’d made several runs solo, with no issues whatsoever. And I had all those tie-downs and bungee cords. We were golden.
I was wrong.
Furthermore, if I’d just left the dresser off, I would have been able to close my truck’s tailgate just fine, and none of what did happen would have. But then, I didn’t do that, did I? Or I wouldn’t have this tale to tell.
So as we were cruising down route 16, doing a steady 55 mph, guess what? One of those tie downs must have blown loose or something. And then what happened? Something totally expectable and unsurprising.
A massive semi who must have been doing at least 70, flew by me heading the other way, and a semi sized gust of wind caught those box springs and whisked them straight out the back of my truck bed.
I remember my girlfriend say my name and tugging on my shirt sleeve. And then I saw it in the side mirror: my box springs flinging up into the air, and luckily landing out of harm's way on the side of the road.
No harm; no foul. But I’d jacked up, and I knew it. We pulled over and reloaded the box springs, and since we were so close already to town, I just lit up a cigarette, hopped in the truck bed, and sprawled across those box springs, while my girlfriend drove us up the hill and into town.
Since then, I’ve learned a lot. I know better how to load up box springs and mattress for one. For another, I purchased a truck bed extender. And finally, I quit smoking, cause that sh!t will kill ya.
Oh, to be young again but have the knowledge I have now.
I never gave much thought to a bed extender. And maybe that’s because I thought my standard bed was long enough for most jobs. But when the need arose, I wasn’t prepared, until now.
Why do I need a truck bed extender?
What is a truck bed extender?
A truck bed extender is a device which attaches to your d-panel just in front of the tailgate and flips out over your lower tailgate, adding on up to 2 feet of extra hauling space in your truck’s bed. Some of these devices can also be flipped over, so you can easily close your tailgate, and then safely store items near your tailgate without fear of them sliding up to your bulkhead when you slam on the brakes.
I think I hadn’t given one much thought because for most of my life, we had work trucks, many of which were long beds--8 footers. That truck bed is already pretty darn extended, ain’t it? But my Chevy was a standard 6 foot and some change bed. And these days, there are more and more short beds floating about. So the need of a good truck bed extender is only growing.
The most obvious use of a truck bed extender is to take a short bed truck, say a 5 and a half foot bed, and add on 2 feet to make it so that your truck bed can haul something that is at least 6 if not 7 foot long.
Temporarily Extend your Bed by up to 2 Feet
On the daily, if you bought a short bed truck, or even a standard bed, for that matter, chances are you have exactly the amount of space you require. You’re smart. You considered this before you made the purchase. But every once in a while, the occasion arises.
The other day, I was helping out my father with a side gig that involved my brother’s basement and building a bar. Good times. We loaded up my dad’s old Ford F-150 XLT with all the gear. He had the camper shell on her cause it was supposed to rain that day. Just our luck. And we headed on over to the lumber yard to pick up supplies, namely some studs to frame out the new bar. Just so happens, it was going to be an 8 foot long bar. So we needed some 8 foot long 2 by 4’s.
And guess what. That F-150, it’s got a 6 and half foot bed.
So we ended up having to leave the ends of four studs hanging out the back end. Now, we didn’t have far to go, and all four studs made it to my brother’s house intact. No big deal. But the point is we could have done this much safer and easier if my father had just picked up a truck bed extender.
Now on the daily, he doesn’t load up 8 foot studs. That’s not something he needs regularly, just when he’s doing odd jobs that require longer boards. His day job involves sitting at a computer like mine.
But every once in awhile these situations arise. And when they do, I’d rather feel safe about my load than worried that I might lose something. And that’s where the truck bed extender comes into play. For everyday use, you’ll probably have it folded up conveniently and hidden beneath a tonneau cover, for instance. But when you need it, you flip it out, effectively extending your bed, and preventing anything from flying out of your backend.
That’s not to say a truck bed extender isn’t useful on a daily basis either. But it is useful in another way.
So I have a tonneau cover, because--duh, right? And I often go grocery shopping or just pickup a few things on the way home from work. And sometimes I like to just drop my tailgate and toss my shopping bags or tools or what have you into my truck bed.
But even with a decent liner, sometimes I find my groceries and even some tools end up all over the place in my truck’s bed by the time I get home. I swear I don’t drive like a lunatic… all the time. It almost always seems to be my coffee creamer. Nearly all the rest of my groceries will be nearly where I set them at the tailgate, but that damn creamer will have rolled all the way up to my bulkhead or be lodged behind a wheel well. And worse of all--hope this never happens to you--it’ll have leaked creamer just about everywhere. Nothing like sticky creamer all over your BedRug. Good times.
Now I’ve got a Bed Extender, specifically the AMP Research BedXtender HD Max. It forms a secure area at the back of my truck’s bed. I just fold up the first section of my tri-fold tonneau cover, set all my groceries in. I can even loop some of the bag’s handles over the little support pillars. And now when I get home, my stuff hasn’t gone anywhere. It is all secure at the tailgate.
Spacer Kit and Tonneau Compatibility
I should quickly note that not all bed extenders are compatible with tonneau covers. AMP Research sells a Spacer Kit that makes all their BedXtenders compatible with various tonneau covers. The possible issue you might run into is not with height. The BedXtender will fit just fine under the tonneau cover when folded in. The issue is at the bed rails.
Most tonneau covers mount in such a way that their new rails that sit on your bed rails actually extend into the bed a bit, perhaps by as much as 2 inches. This spacer kit offsets up to that amount so that when you’re folding your BedXtender up into the truck bed, it doesn’t hit the tonneau cover rails and get stuck.
So if you have a truck bed cover, make sure you add the Spacer Kit on to your order, and be cautious when buying other truck bed extenders. While I know AMP’s BedXtenders are compatible with most tonneau covers when you use the Spacer Kit, I can’t say the same about other products you might find out on the Interwebs.
So that was my first concern when I was looking to pick up a BedXtender--will it work with my truck bed cover? Yes, it will, but I needed to add the Spacer Kit to my order. No biggie.
My second concern was how hard is this thing to install and /or remove.
The install is pretty simple. On some Ford F-150’s you can even get a no-drill install kit for a bit extra. But for most applications, you’re gonna have to drill three holes into your D-panel, right back by your tailgate, on each side of it--6 total holes.
Then you screw in the latch and install the BedXtender. Pretty easy.
But I was also concerned about removal.
The things is, on the daily, I love having my bed extender installed. Groceries, hauling small tool boxes, etc. at the tailgate is super convenient. And when I need to haul something too long for my bed, I love being able to just fold it out and go.
But what if I want to haul something under my tonneau cover that is 6 foot long with the tailgate shut and the tonneau closed? Won’t the bed extender get in the way? Yup, most likely.
And this is why you should add on the Quick Latch system. For a little bit extra, you can have the ability to quickly and easily remove your AMP Research BedXtender. You just undo the straps, tilt the Xtender up until it is vertical and then you can lift it out of the Quick Latch.
When you need to use it again, or when you’re done hauling that 6 foot long item or an item that will fit in your truck bed with the tailgate up, you just lift the BedXtender back up and slide it back into the Quick Latch.
This is so easy to do that a single man can handle it no probably. The lightweight aluminum construction makes it ideal for solo lifting, while durable enough to handle most jobs.
AMP Research BedXtender
The original bed extender has been updated and refined by AMP over the years. Today their BedXtender comes in three varieties, each with two color options.
The color options are:
Personally, I’m a sucker for black and powder coating the product just makes it that much more durable.
They are all made of 6063 T6 Aluminum alloy tubes. They are light enough to easily flip up and over to extend your bed, and durable enough to handle tool boxes or motorbikes.
The three types of BedXtenders currently on the market are:
BedXtender HD Sport
BedXtender HD Max
BedXtender HD Moto
Each has their own uses and functions, but they all have similar features. The main change is in the shape of the actual BedXtender.
AMP Research BedXtender HD Sport
The Sport version has a rounded end, sort of like a flattened out “V.” This allows you to haul longer items centered in your truck bed. A dirt bike would be a great example of something you might haul using the Sport Xtender. It actually extends a bit further than the Max.
AMP Research BedXtender HD Max
The Max is a rounded rectangular shape, kinda of like a stretched out “U.” While it doesn’t quite extend as far as the Sport, it still adds 2 feet worth of length to your truck bed. It is designed to haul more larger items than just one that will be centered. This is great for more construction gear like lumber and landers and even plywood or sheetrock / drywall.
If you’ve got a short bed truck and are planning on hauling anything 6 foot or a standard bed and need to haul 8 foot sheets of drywall around, you should definitely consider getting a BedXtender Max.
AMP Research BedXtender HD Moto
If the Sport isn’t quite big enough or long enough to fit your dirt bike or motorcycle, then you should check out the Moto. Shaped like a less flattened out “V,” this BedXtender adds the maximum amount of length at the center of your truck’s bed to allow you to haul something like a motorcycle in the center. Of course you will still want to secure the front end of the bike and use some tie-downs and bungies and such. But this should allow you to fit the bike in your truck’s bed with the tailgate down.
That pretty much wraps up our guide to bed extenders. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Give us a call, shoot us an email, or hit us up via Live Chat.
When you’re ready to order your new BedXtender, we hope you’ll get it from us here at Midwest Aftermarket. Our collection of truck accessories, pickup bed covers, truck running boards, and much more includes all the leading styles and brands. Midwest Aftermarket is the #1 online retailer for aftermarket truck and Jeep accessories, selling products at the lowest prices and providing the best customer service in the industry. With the goal to provide the highest quality product with the fastest shipping at affordable prices, look no further for your vehicle’s aftermarket accessories. From UTV’s to Jeep-fanatics to F150’s or Chevy Silverado’s, Midwest Aftermarket will give you the customer support you deserve.