Whether you use your pickup for work or for recreation, carrying a lot of equipment, tools, and gear means you're potentially prepared for a range of situations. But if you can't find exactly what you need and extract it from your truck's cargo area in a timely manner, you're really not as prepared as you think. Consider the last time you couldn't find something in your truck. Maybe a search through the entire vehicle was necessary in order to be sure the item wasn't in the truck before beginning a search somewhere else. How much time did that take? And how was your stress level afterward? Or maybe, perish the thought, you had to buy a new tool to replace one you couldn't find but knew wasn't actually lost for good.
Plus, if you're on the job, you're on the clock. So time wasted searching for tools or equipment means you're losing money. And if you have to dig through layers of other items and move them out of the way in order to extract something buried underneath layers of things, then those other items become risk becoming dislodged as well - adding to the overall disarray that hampers you in the first place. Some joke that "organized people are just too lazy to search for stuff", but we beg to disagree. The fact is, a true professional is organized - plain and simple. In this article, we'll look at some clever products that can be found in the Truck Bed Accessories section of our website. They'll help you maximize the usefulness of your bed, no matter if your truck is large or small. They'll help you carry more, access cargo easier, and stay organized.
It's Important To Know Your Pickup's Bed & Cab Sizes
As you look through our selection, you'll see individual products will be noted as "vehicle-specific" or "universal fit". Vehicle-specific products will prompt you to enter make, model, and year (even trim level in some cases) because they're tailor-made to match the dimensions of your specific truck. Universal fit products in these sections are designed to fit anywhere, or adapt themselves to fit. It's also essential to know your pickup's cab configuration and bed length when selecting many of the products in this section. We invite you to read our related article Pickup Truck Cab And Bed Sizes Are Important When Selecting Accessories that will help clarify these details you'll need to know.
Pickup Bed Extenders
Bed Extenders take the standard length of your pickup bed and add to it by creating a corralled area that extends outward over the surface of a lowered tailgate. Bed extenders are designed to fold up-and-over into the bed area when they're not needed - or they can be removed entirely.
We've got three flip-over style bed extenders by Amp Research, all created with aluminum tubing finished in your choice of black or silver powder coat. First, the HD Sport Bed Extender features a more angled, 5-sided shape to its "fence" which extends the useful area of your bed by 2 extra feet at its widest center point. Their HD Max Bed Extender also offers 2 extra feet of bed storage, but features a U-shaped design that provides a wider center for the greatest amount of useful space. And if you transport motorcycles in your pickup bed, the HD Moto Bed Extender features the same fence shape as the HD Sport Bed Extender, but with a longer overhang at the top section where a motorcycle wheel sticks out farthest. In Product Options for any Amp Research kit, you'll see bracket kits that are a must-purchase item along with tonneau spacer kits and latch kits that may or may not apply to your specific vehicle.
For those who prefer a bed extender that provides more complete enclosure when the tailgate's down, Dee Zee's Truck Bed Extender comes with a folding aluminum floor plate and two powder-coated steel side plates which give 20" additional inches of bed. Once you've removed your factory tailgate initially and installed quick-release latches, the tailgate can then be popped on and off with ease. To use the extender kit, pop your tailgate off, snap the folding extender assembly in place, then snap the tailgate on to the end of the bed extender. To see a video of how the DeeZee Truck Bed Extender works, click here.
And if you've got extra-long items that won't fit inside the bed extenders referenced above, we've got two products that use your truck's trailer hitch as a mounting point to create a load-carrying "goalpost" support bar that sits 3 to 5 feet behind your vehicle. First, the Truck Covers USA American Tail-Mate has a 51-inch wide goalpost that can hold 1,000 pounds. Lund's Hitchrack Truck Bed Extender features an adjustable-width goalpost bar (27"-49"), and a 4-way adjustable carrying bar that allows the goalpost to be set up anywhere from 38"-68" behind the truck. The goalpost can even be raised up to the level of your bed rails or roof. Both of these products actually keep the weight of what you're carrying completely off the tailgate, so no undue stress or damage will result.
Pickup Bed Organizers
Whether you only need a small portion of your truck's bed to contain items your carrying, or you need the whole floor, we've got products that will help you stay organized. For starters, we've got the Truxedo Truck Luggage Expedition Cargo Sling that's a weatherproof nylon carrying pouch which hangs from two poles mounted between bed rails. It sits low enough to clear tonneau covers, but high enough to be off the bed floor. Should you prefer cargo baskets that can be removed, the Bully Cargo Revolver System features two metal baskets that keep what you're carrying secure in the pickup bed, then slide outward when you open your tailgate.
Covercraft's Truck Stop Adjustable Cargo Bar is a steel bar that can be positioned anywhere across your pickup bed or SUV's cargo area to serve as a barrier for larger objects. It's adjustable from 48"-75" and uses pressure to hold itself in place with tension instead of drilling and hardware. And if you don't really use the area behind your pickup's wheel well humps, you can put that space to good use with Truxedo's enclosed weather-resistant Truck Luggage Saddle Bag which mounts on tonneau cover rails. Also consider the Access metal Truck Bed Pockets (available in aluminum or galvanized steel) that sit on the floor of the bed to create walled-off storage pockets.
For a higher level of pickup organization, the Decked polyethylene Truck Bed Storage System is custom-sized to span the full bed area of your specific make and model. It creates a raised bed level that can support 2,000 pounds, and features two sliding drawers that pull out from the rear (each of which can hold 200 pounds of cargo). There are four additional cubbyhole pockets at the corners accessible from the top. The drawers themselves do not lock, but will be secure from theft if your tailgate itself has a built-in lock. Westin's Brute HD Bed Safe Drawer is a storage box with one sliding drawer (dividers inside are moveable) that does lock, and it's available in multiple heights, lengths, and widths. Diamond tread aluminum construction can support a 500 pound load on top, and the drawer can hold 350 pounds of cargo.
Spare Tire Carriers
If you've got oversized tires on your pickup, then you've no doubt discovered it's impossible to fit larger-diameter rubber in the factory spare tire nook underneath the rear. We've got you covered with big-size spare tire carriers that mount and dismount easily on your pickup bed floor. N-Fab's Spare Tire Rack with Strap can handle up to 40" tires and can be selected in single-tire form at the front of the bed, or dual-tire form at the rear of the bed. If you don't see your specific make and model listed there, N-Fab also makes a universal-fit Tire Carrier as well.
Warrior's Removable Spare Tire Carrier can handle a single tire up to 44 inches in diameter, and resembles the shape of a steel jack assembly. A quick-release base allows the entire unit to be removed in seconds. For late-model Ford F-150 owners, ADD's F-Series Bed Cage provides an all-in-one spare tire carrier that can hold two spare tires plus assorted sizes of fuel cans, CO2 inflator tanks, race jacks, and a variety of other items you need if you're going to the races or the on the trails. A lockable toolbox sits between the two spare tires as well.
Slide-Out Floors For Your Pickup Bed
Maybe you've got a cap or a tonneau cover on your truck bed that makes it harder to get to what you need. Or maybe you've got cargo arranged in such a way that it's difficult to climb up and over things. Bed slides provide a solution to this problem by being designed with a metal frame that bolts to your truck bed, and what's essentially a "sliding drawer" top piece that rolls out easily on ball-bearing casters. Once you've pulled it out as far as you wish, it locks in place at a number of detent settings along the way. We've got several brands of bed slide manufacturers that we sell.
The Bed Slide brand offers a steel frame with a rubberized deck surface for most of their slides. Bed Slide offers multiple sizes of sliders rated for 1,000 pounds, 1,500 pounds, and 2,000 pounds. If you've got a 2002-on Chevy Avalanche or Cadillac Escalade EXT pickup, you already know that their extra-short bed length means your choice of bed accessories is very limited. However, Bed Slide makes the 800 EXT specifically for these models, with an 800-pound weight capacity.
The Cargo Ease brand offers construction with a wood deck plank sandwiched between layers of polyethylene, rated for 1,200 pounds, 1,500-2,000 pounds, and even in "Titan" form at 2,500-3,000 pounds. If you need a bed slide with built-in adjustable-length ramps for wheeled vehicles, take a look at their Cargo Ramp Series Bed Slide that comes with two. For best value, Cargo Ease offers the Heritage Series Bed Slide. Rated for 1,200 pounds, it offers a plywood deck surface covered with synthetic carpeting and aluminum side rails. Should you prefer the weight savings from a bed slide made of corrosion-resistant aluminum, the Cargo Ease Pullout Aluminum Series Bed Slide features a low-profile design that can handle up to 600 pounds. Want a bed slide with two separate sections? Check out the Dual Slide Series Bed Slide. And if you need a bed slide that pulls out all the way 100% (most slides extend only 70-75%), the Cargo Ease Full Extension Series Bed Slide is rated for 2,000 pounds.
Our third brand, CargoGlide, offers value pricing with construction using cost-effective plywood decks on steel frames with laminated aluminum surfaces. These offer lower side guards and come in your choice of 1000, 1200, 1500, 1800, or 2200 pound ratings. CargoGlide also offers two bed slides that pull out 100%: the 1500XL and the 2200XL.
If you think you've been making maximum use of your pickup truck's bed area, perhaps we have convinced you that you can do even more to maximize its efficiency. Any of these products not only allow you to carry more (be sure to pay attention to your truck's GVWR), they also keep you organized. As we stated at the beginning of this article, being able to readily access your 'stuff' is extremely important, and the more 'stuff' you have, the more we encourage you to investigate these innovative pickup bed organizers.