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How the Luno Air Mattress Adds Much-Needed Comfort to Car Camping

A vehicle with a blanket and Luno air mattress, camping stove, camping lantern, and cooler in a campsite.
Photo Credit: Success InSight Podcast Image used with permission by copyright holder

As anyone who has ever attempted to sleep in their vehicle knows, it can be easier said than done, at least if you’re looking for genuine comfort. With van life firmly established as a popular and convenient way to see the world, getting a good night’s sleep in a vehicle has become more than a matter of circumstance — there’s a science to it. Beyond van life, the pandemic has pushed many to embrace road-tripping as their preferred form of vacation, and here again, one runs up against the question of how to sleep in comfort without resorting to hotels or setting up a tent.

Oftentimes, the solution involves building some form of bed platform to fit the rear of one’s van, SUV, or hatchback, but this isn’t always practical. Maybe you only plan on living in your vehicle part-time, and therefore can’t fill it up with difficult-to-remove conversions. Or maybe you simply don’t have the tools or carpentry know-how to make it work. Whatever the case, an air mattress that can be used as needed is a common alternative.

Many air mattresses, however, simply don’t do the job quite right. They’re usually not very well fitted to the rear of a vehicle, or else they puncture way too easily. Suffice it to say that it has been an imperfect solution. There’s where Luno comes in.

Luno Founder Pete Ducato On His Innovative Air Mattress Design

A smiling bespectacled man with his hands on the back of his head is seen relaxing on a Luno air mattress in a vehicle.
Photo Credit: Oliver P./Luno (Facebook) Image used with permission by copyright holder

Since launching in 2017, Luno has been getting a lot of buzz about its air mattresses, which have been specially designed for adventure road-tripping. The Manual spoke with Luno founder Pete Ducato about the brand, and, not surprisingly, his inspiration for launching it came from firsthand experience.

“In order to avoid the costs of mountain lodging during snowboarding season, I would often find myself camping in my Subaru,” Ducato explained. “As you can imagine, sleeping in a car during the dead of winter with limited proper supplies causes some pretty cold and uncomfortable nights. This got me thinking about those — like me — who tend to car camp. How could I raise the comfort level of sleeping in a car for them?”

The result was Luno, which — unlike other air mattress brands — specifically tailored its products to the versatility and durability demanded by the outdoor adventure lifestyle. That meant using tough materials and design to decrease the potential for punctures, and the brand also took the tailoring concept a step further, allowing customers to buy mattresses that are specially made for their vehicles.

Currently, the company makes mattresses that are fitted to the cargo-hold contours of a wide range of popular vehicles such as the Subaru Crosstrek, Outback, and Forester, the Toyota 4Runner, Toyota RAV4, Tesla Models Y and 3, and more. As with any quality product, the value is in the details. As Ducato explained, Luno put a great deal of thought into every aspect of the air mattress experience.

“We’ve equipped the Luno Air Mattress 2.0 with dual chambers that are independent of each other, leaving it up to the camper to decide if they would rather sleep solo — saving space for more gear — or if they choose to invite a camping partner along for the adventure. These independent chambers also reduce the feeling of movement when your camping partner wakes up for a midnight bathroom break or is a restless sleeper.

We’ve placed a comfort valve on each side of the mattress to allow individuals the option to tailor their desired level of firmness. Lastly, our proprietary Base Extenders come with select mattress models and extend the sleeping platform by an additional 12 to 14 inches. This enables people to lay fully extended comfortably while sleeping in the back of their vehicle.”

An Air Mattresses for the Golden Era of Gear

A Luno air mattress inside a white vehicle.
Photo Credit: Luno (Facebook) Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s this attention to detail that has caught the attention of outdoor enthusiasts. We’re living in a golden era of car camping gear in which every element of a product is carefully considered to maximize its utility and value. By considering the specific needs of car campers, Luno has designed air mattresses that are significantly more functional than a mere bag of air.

Currently, the company is expanding its offerings by releasing a new line of front cab mattresses for vans like Sprinters and ProMasters. When asked if he had gleaned any non-sleep-specific car camping insights via his personal experiences, Ducato had two suggestions.

“Travel light. Bring only what is necessary. If you have more gear for a longer trip, I would suggest investing in a car topper for extra external storage. This will keep your sleeping space cleared and will make your time more enjoyable.”


“Keep your car keys close! If you’ve ever slept in your vehicle and have experienced your car alarm going off, waking fellow campers, then this one will resonate. Make sure to keep your keys within reach after locking your doors.”

It sounds like he’s learned that one the hard — and loud — way.

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Nick Hilden
Nick Hilden is a lifestyle and culture writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Afar…
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