Big Bed Truck Bed Extender - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Transport long loads safely and easily

big_bed

Big Bed Truck Bed Extender



The most popular pickup truck bed size in Canada is the short bed, measuring 6' long. With the tail gate down the usable bed length increases to 7'7". Larger trucks with full-sized beds get you a couple of extra feet, while on a sport utility truck you're apt to loose a foot or two. Carrying loads too long for the truck bed is dangerous, particularly where the end of the load cants precariously low.
 
The Big Bed truck bed extender provides an inexpensive, convenient and considerably safer way to carry long loads. The Big Bed effectively extends the length of your truck bed by four and a half feet. On my Ford Ranger that gives me a 12' bed, which means I can safely carry 12' sheets of drywall or 16' I-joists without any problem.
 

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The Big Bed folded for storage
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The frame mounts into the hitch receiver
The Big Bed consists of two parts: a frame, and a pair of folding arms. The frame connects to the truck's hitch receiver, holding the Big Bed in place, and the arms, when opened up, provide the load support.

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Rigid 2" square metal tubing for the frame
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Support bracket with reflective safety strip
The frame is made of 3/16" thick 2" square steel tubing, and measures about 52" long. You insert one end of the frame into a 2" x 2" trailer hitch, and lock it in place with the supplied bolt and cotter pin. Fortunately, 2' square hitch receivers are fairly ubiquitous on pickup trucks. There are two 'D' shaped tie-downs welded onto the sides of the frame, enabling you to secure your load safely. A 7" support bracket is welded onto the opposite end of the frame; the folding arms are attached to this bracket. A red safety reflector is attached to the back of the support.

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Big Bed installed on truck hitch
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Folding arms opened
The folding arms are made of 1" square steel tubing, and measure 24-1/2" long. They're bolted onto the bracket at the end of the frame. When not in use the arms are folded onto the top of the frame, and locked in place with a bolt and cotter pin.
 
To use the arms, remove the bolt and pin, and then pull the arms up and outward into a 'T' position, locking the arms in the upright position with the bolt and pin inserted into the support bracket. On the end of each arm are 3/8" x 1" pins that support stock resting on the arms. These pins are welded onto the arms and highly unlikely ever to come off. There are two 'D' shaped tie-downs welded onto the arms, that also serve as carrying handles when the Big Bed is folded up for storage.
 
The 1" support arms used to be longer on earlier versions of the Big Bed. However the company received several reports that people were scraping their knuckles on the long pins when loading and unloading the Big Bed. The longer pegs also made the product less streamlined when folded and poked through the packaging. After some testing the company found that the shorter pins, coupled with proper strapping, would hold the load just as securely as the longer pins.


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Support pins on the ends of the arms
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Bolt and cotter pin secures folding arms
Installing the Big Bed onto the hitch and opening the arms takes about 60 seconds. Once secured with strapping the load is safe and stable. When the job is over, the Big Bed folds into a neat 5" x 7" by 52" package that stores easily in the back of the truck, or, in my case, in the rear cab.
 
With a distributed load limit of 400 pounds you can load a lot of stock on the Beg Bed. On the Ford Ranger, the top of the folding arms (on which stock rests) sits about 7" above the bed of the truck. This means that your stock is inclined toward the truck, eliminating the need to counterbalance your load with any supplementary weight. This appears to be unique to the Ford Ranger - on virtually all other trucks the Big Bed sits about 1" above the bed.


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Ample tie-downs
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Load is inclined toward the truck bed
The original manufacturer of the Big Bed, Seg-Ins Inc, did make a Cab Over Kit that enables you to convert the Big Bed from a horizontal support to a vertical support, with the folding arms in line with the top of the cab roof. This arrangement is ideal for carrying ladders, scaffolding, and the like.
 
The Big Bed is a well constructed, robust product that will give years of reliable service, and enable you to carry long loads safely and easily. Highly recommended for contractors, carpenters, and avid DIYers. Sport enthusiasts will also appreciate it's ability to carry canoes, kayaks and other long sporting equipment safely.

 

seg_bigbed_logo
 
KEY FEATURES:


  • 5" x 7-1/4" x 52-1/2" (folded for storage)
  • 48-1/2" wide support arms when opened
  • 38 pounds weight
  • Extends 54" from vehicle receiver
  • Extends 7" above truck bed
  • 400 pound load limit
  • 1 year warranty

MANUFACTURER:Erickson Mfg
AVAILABLE FROM:Dealer Request
RETAIL PRICE:$249 US
MODEL #:none
MADE IN:China
Carl Duguay, August 2010
Updated July 2012

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