One of my regrets in trading my one ton dually truck in on a half-ton was going from an 8′ bed to a 5’5″ bed, thus loosing carry ability. One solution is simply to lower the tailgate and let the load “extend” beyond the bed. This works OK with lumber and some other things that create a long load, but is not especially secure. After researching various “tools” to overcome this situation, I decided on a bed extender made by Darby Industries in Falls PA (www.ExtendATruck.com).
The extender is made of tubular steel and fits in the receiver hitch on my truck, then pins securely just as a trailer hitch does. The longer of the two pieces is in the shape of an “L”, and stretches out 4′ behind the truck bed. The second piece is a “T” with a 4′ “bar” that is adjustable to reach the height of the tailgate in the down position. This allows longer loads to be supported, and tied down securely using the tie ring weld to the ends of the “T” bar. If the position of the “L” is reversed to place the longer leg going up, it can be used with a roof rack to form a “ladder rack” to carry even longer loads at roof height.
This is a strong device, with a stated carrying capacity of 350#, but light enough to be easily removed and stored in the truck cab or bed.
Another use for this system the manufacturers did not recommend that I can see is to install it in the roof carry position and use the “T” bar to hold a rope or cable hoist to lift game animals for transport out of the woods to the cleaning area. I think it will work in this manner on my Kawasaki Mule, making it much easier for me to move a deer or hog by myself.
The extender works with any vehicle that has a receiver hitch, even UTV’s like a Mule. I often use my Mule or my golf cart to haul feeders, ladders (to fill feeders), and other fairly large things “back in the woods”, and this will be helpful.
Using the Extender as a game hoist frame will keep me from going back to camp for the tractor to haul a deer or hog in for butchering.
My only two “complaints” about this accessory come from having to drill out one hole in the long end of the “L” piece that was too small to allow the pin to pass through. No real big deal, but it did have to be enlarged to use the extender.
The other thing I did not think about until I tried to back up with the extended in place, is that the back up camera on my truck is located in the tailgate! With he tail gate in down position, the camera only sees the extender bar – and the road beneath it – and both are closer than the truck wants them to be! This means the camera is useless with the tailgate down, but since the proximity alarm for behind the truck only goes off in reverse, it effectively becomes a “Backup” alarm. A small problem, but one that needs to be noted.