Best Truck Bed Extenders For Kayaks

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Transporting a kayak in the pickup truck’s bed can seem to be near impossible to accomplish at first, mainly if it has a short bed, and that’s why hitch bed extenders exist.

It’s a great alternative to a trailer or ladder rack primarily because of the cost. The hitch extenders can also be used for far more than just kayaks, like any other long stuff, ladders and things of that kind.

In this article i review four of them, and provide my honest opinion on what you should choose.

MaxxHaul 70231

Amazon link

Features

The extender is 53.5 inches long from the hitch point – longer is normally better, as it will be able to hold bigger kayaks.

The maximum load capacity is 350 pounds, although the weight limit isn’t as important if you’re just going to be hauling the things this article is about.

Things change when you want to do more with it, like carry any other heavier materials, in that case you should probably get a more sturdy extender than this.

The actual top part on which a kayak would rest adjusts from 28.25 inches way up to 43.75, which means the extender will support even the largest of them, if not multiple at once.

Here’s a tip – whenever loading a kayak into the pickup’s bed, first extend the arms out fully and then clamp them to fit; that’ll make the process a lot quicker.

The T-bar can also move up and down from 4 to 10 inches, helping find just the right amount of height to make your cargo more stable in the truck’s bed.

The hitch extender can also be used for roof towing, that is, you can just flip it around and place in the upright position.

Hauling a kayak using a roof rack in conjunction with the bed extender is normally better – not only will you have more space inside the actual pickup’s bed, you also won’t have as much of a hard time when driving around, as there’s not going to be anything sticking out of the tailgate.

The caveat to this solution is that now you’ll have to reach higher in order to load the kayak in the first place, so sticking to the default configuration might be a better idea.

The construction is held mainly by 4 clevis pins, making the installation or removal process quicker.

To provide more visibility during the darker periods of the day, it has some reflective tape applied.

The least expensive option.

Things to consider before buying

Well, the only real disadvantage of this product is that it doesn’t come with a hitch pin, and that means you’ll have to invest into one separately.

In conclusion

The reason why i think this is the number one choice when it comes to truck bed extenders for kayaks is because it simply does what it’s supposed to do great.

The product doesn’t even cost that much either, but that doesn’t mean it’s made from cheaper materials.

The extender can be found on Amazon (link)

Darby Industries 944

View the item on Amazon

Features

Darby 944 bed extender measures 53 inches long – that makes it just a bit shorter than the MaxxHaul.

The top bar is fixed to 49 inches in width, which is actually quite a bit more than the former choice.

The bed extender can also be put in the vertical position to be used with a roof rack – in this position, it’s 55 inches tall. The T-bar, on which a kayak would rest, can also be extended up to 7.5 inches more, bringing the unit to the total of 62.5 inches.

Comes with a red flag; in some states, it’s required to have it dangling from the load that’s sticking out of the vehicle past certain length.

For better securement of the load, the top bar also features some loops you can run tie-downs through.

Can withstand weight of up to 350 pounds.

The hitch bed extender can also be purchased in combination with a roof rack, if wanted.

Things to consider before buying

The product is pretty much a one piece. This can actually be helpful, as less joined parts means it will sit more sturdy inside the hitch, but the problem with that is when the time comes to take it off and store it somewhere, it won’t be as compact.

Because the part on which a load would rest on doesn’t adjust, it can prove to be harder to secure something on as there is no side to side support.

Doesn’t come with any sort of reflective taping.

More expensive.

In conclusion

If you want to get a simple, easy to assemble bed extender, i think the Darby 944 (affiliate link to Amazon) is a great option to go for, just remember that because of all that you will have to spend more money.

Lund 601021

Buy off Amazon

Features

What makes this hitch extender unique is that it can actually adjust horizontally, i.e., be lengthened or shortened any way you wish.

Having the ability to do so means you’ll be able to find just the right weight bearing distance for your kayak, as some are obviously lengthier than others.

The side arms on this particular extender can accommodate loads that are 27 to 49 inches wide.

The thing weighs around 46.2 pounds, and that is a bit heavy for such an accessory; granted, this could be the reason why it can support up to 750 pounds.

The kit comes with a flag and some reflective taping.

Things to consider before buying

Now because it’s heavy, you might find it rather hard to use, so getting a lighter option could make more sense, like the first on this article; this can be important if you’re going to be taking the product on and off all the time.

Expensive. It all depends on the current sale really, but without any, expect to pay about twice as much as the MaxxHaul.

In conclusion

This bed extender is a bit of an overkill for hauling a kayak or so, even considering the fact that you can shorten or lengthen it accordingly, in my opinion, but in case you think of using it for far more heavy stuff than that, it’s a very good quality choice.

Erickson 07600

Get on Amazon

Features

The extender reaches just about 52 inches in length and 48 inches in width, but that’s not what makes it interesting – the accessory, instead of needing to be disassembled part by part when needed, simply folds compactly.

This is great for owners who would be constantly taking the thing out of the hitch to stow when not needed.

The top part can move up and down from 16 inches to 19.

It also has a wide variety of tie down points. More welded loops means you can secure the load better, and that’s obviously always great.

400 pound weight support.

Things to consider before buying

The bed extender cannot be used for roof top towing as it is, unless you buy a separate conversion kit.

The T-bar can only be raised by 3 inches more; because of it, you may have a hard time finding a position that would sit flush with your particular pickup’s tailgate.

In conclusion

The Erickson 07600 is the solution for those who hate equipment that needs a lot of parts assembled to work; all you really have to do is unfold it and stick in the hitch.

Tips

Many of the bed extenders i mentioned on this blog post already come with some sort of safety reflectors, but going an extra mile and getting a pair of towing lights will only be better.

The constant rubbing of a kayak against a bed extender can not only wear out its paint, but also damage the kayak itself. Placing something underneath, like a towel will help with that.

A bed extender left just as it is in the hitch can be easily stolen – getting a hitch pin lock will make it harder to do so. The kayak too can become a victim of crime here, so locking her up with some cable locks will at least prolong the theft process, giving you time to act.

Some people might get worried about the rattling a bed extender makes when driving – to be honest, any one of them will do so more or less as the thing has to fit inside the hitch somehow. If you’re really annoyed by the sound, purchase a hitch tightener.

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