Good ideas brought to reality ultimately come from creative, hard-working people, and the Canadian-designed and made Big Bed is a case in point. It’s the handiest DIY accessory I’ve used for extending the length of lumber, pipe, ladders and building materials you can safely carry with a pick-up truck, and it’s the work of three country boys.
Seg-Ins’ 3 Partners
Mike Segeren, Don Segeren and Jason Hawkins are the trio behind the Big Bed (877-354-2323), and their story is the kind of character-building tale I’m happy to tell my kids about. All three are married, and between them they have children, farms, off-farm work, contracting jobs and all the other responsibilities of active, productive guys who live by entrepreneurial wits alone.
What is the Big Bed?
Big Bed is a collapsible metal frame that plugs into any standard 2” trailer hitch receiver. Hinged wings open and lock, forming a 49” wide arm that supports long objects about two feet back from the edge of the open tailgate. The arms are rated to support 400 lbs. and I know from my own testing that everything works flawlessly – opening, closing and locking reliably in all positions. Like many good ideas, this one evolved from simple beginnings and lots of tenacity.
Back in 2006, Jason was building decks and tackling renovation work in his rural Ontario community, so he welded up a crude, T-shaped metal support bracket in his workshop to hold long lumber that extended beyond the back of his truck. After refining the design into a neater, folding version, his idea got enough attention from clients that it ultimately led to a three-man business partnership.
Last March Mike tracked me down at a Toronto trade show where he had a display, and the moment I saw the unit it was obvious how good an idea it was. But before actually trying it for myself, I needed to add an accessory to my truck.
Installing the Big Bed
Although some new vehicles have a square trailer hitch receiver at the back, mine didn’t. It’s a metal recess just below the rear bumper with a hollow 2-inch by 2-inch square hole made to accept various hitches and attachments, including the Big Bed. Although installing a square hitch receiver looked daunting, the work turned out to be an easy, 30-minute DIY driveway job. As I discovered, receivers are custom-made for various vehicles, and simply bolt to the underside of the frame. Clamp the receiver to the frame, then use the factory-drilled bolt holes to guide the location of holes you need to drill. My receiver required 1/2-inch diameter holes which proved easy to bore with a good bit and an 18-volt cordless drill, even through the 1/4”-thick steel of my truck frame. Steel’s not as hard as you’d think.
After living with the Big Bed for one building season, I have yet to find fault with it. It takes less than 30 seconds to slip the end of the unit into the square receiver and unfold the wings. The outfit provides rock-solid support for anything that extends beyond the tailgate, eliminating the need for a trailer or the kind of weights typically used to counterbalance long loads. Removal is just as fast when you’re done hauling. The unit folds into a 5-inch wide, 52-inch long, 38 lbs. example of the kind of homegrown Canadian innovation we can all be proud of.