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Flip-Step
($65-$100 from Nu-Tec Designs LLC at www.flip-step.com)

Originally designed so folks could reach the roofs of tall sport utility vehicles, Flip-Step also can make it easier to get to the bed of your pickup truck, especially the new, larger full-size trucks with their deeper beds.

Flip-Step was created by Nu-Tec Designs, a company that Marie Lincoln says will become a “mom and pop” operation as soon as the business allows time for she and partner Bill Schlicht to take their personal relationship from engagement into marriage.

Before Nu-Tec, Lincoln was a marketing consultant and executive for dot.com companies. Schlicht is an inventor and self-taught engineer who worked for high-tech companies and helped develop everything from virtual vision goggles to ultra-compact computer storage systems for submarines.

A Flip-Step is made from cast aluminum, comes in versions that can hold either 300 or 500 pounds, are available in three sizes an din black powder coat or satin chrome finishes, and have LED running and brake lights with a four-prong plug.

By the way, the Flip-Step website also shows the company’s newest product: Pup-Up, hitch-mounted steps with a ramp so you can roll gear into your truck, or so your dog (the Pup in Pup-Up) can simply walk the plank to get into the bed.

Caldera Concepts Ready Seat
($130 from Caldera Concepts at www.calderaconcepts.com)

Ready Seat is a hitch-mounted carrier that can hold a pair of fold-down seats, or can be used to carrying extra cargo if needed. An optional variation has height-adjustable seats that might double as mobile workbenches.

Each seat is 28 inches wide and 19 inches deep.

And speaking of seats, and last but not least in our tour of hitch accessories…

Uncle Booger’s Bumper Dumper
($59.95 from Steps Enterprises Inc. at www.bumperdumper.com)

The Bumper Dumper is a toilet seat mounted on a base that fits into a standard two-inch hitch receiver. It even has a toilet paper roll holder (but no magazine rack) and can be used with a plastic bag or five-gallon bucket.

Seems like a very useful accessory for off-roading or hunting trips that take you far from the nearest rest room, and Bumper Dumper’s creators have a privacy screen in development.

The company website suggests a couple alternative uses: a way to avoid those filthy gas station “facilities” or put the toilet seat cover down – we know, you don’t do it at home, why would you do it on the road? -- and use the Bumper Dumper as a seat for fishing when you back your pickup down next to a lake or river.

By the way, there really is an Uncle Booger, and his misfortune with a cactus led to the creation of the Bumper Dumper.

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