Road tripping isn’t just a job or a hobby here at Luno—it’s a way of life. Our team works hard to engineer the world’s best car camping gear during the week, and when it’s time to unplug for the weekend, you can often find Luno crew members out on the road putting that gear to the test.
To help you plan your next adventure–and get to know the folks behind our car camping gear–we asked a handful of Luno team members for the details of their favorite road trips they’ve ever taken. Below, you’ll find the following:
- A Big Sur weekend road trip
- A mountain bike strike mission to Downieville
- Misadventures in New Zealand
- A three-month surf trip from Canada to Mexico
- And more!
Read on for road trip inspo, can’t-miss pit stops, and lessons learned the hard way—and get to know our rad team while you’re at it.
1. Pete Ducato, Founder
Favorite Road Trip Ever: A Salt Lake City to Moab fly fishing, rafting, and biking trip with my cousin, Joey.
Rig: A rented RAV4 decked out with Luno Air Mattress, Fitted Sheet, Seatback Organizer, and Window Screens.
Mileage: 500+ miles
Time on the Road: One week
Favorite Spots, Memories, or Moments from the Trip: This was a favorite road trip of mine because it was one of the first trips where I took the Luno Air Mattress as a carry-on—it was so cool to fly into Salt Lake, pick up a rental car, and turn it into our adventure mobile for the week.
We fished all around Salt Lake City, from alpine streams to the winding rivers in the valleys below, then went rafting and mountain biking down in Moab to finish off the adventure.
I loved camping near rivers and listening to the water while falling asleep. Camping in the Moab desert was awesome, too—it’s so quiet out there, and the Milky Way was so bright!
Can't-Miss Pit Stops: Moab’s Chile Pepper Bike Shop for mountain bike rentals and gear, and Desert Highlights for guided raft trips and rentals. Both shops have great people and service.
Lessons Learned from the Trip:
- If you’re bringing your Luno mattress and renting a car, it’s a bit of a gamble! Car rental companies never want to promise you a specific vehicle, so you may have to sweet talk the person booking your rental reservation to ensure you get a vehicle similar to the one you have at home.
- Go to bed before your cousin does so you don’t have to hear them snoring.
2. Sarah Van Berkum, Co-Founder & CMO
Favorite Road Trip Ever: Seattle to LA, hugging the coast as much as possible.
Rig: 2015 Chevy Equinox LT
Mileage: 1,600 miles
Time on the Road: 9 days
Favorite Spots, Memories, or Moments from the Trip: I grew up and went to college in a land-locked state—Iowa—but I had always dreamed of the West Coast. Driving the Pacific Coast Highway was high on my bucket list. Finally, over Christmas break towards the end of college, a good friend and I road-tripped from Seattle down to LA, hugging the coast and cruising the PCH.
Graduation was upon us, and we wanted to scope our potential new homes: Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, LA, etc. We were young, and neither of us had visited the West Coast before. We planned out which cities we wanted to stop in and where we would sleep, but the rest of the road trip was loose—we wanted to go with the flow.
We went where the wind blew us, which led to my favorite parts of the trip. We took a hard right because a sign said "vista point," stopped at the seafood joint with a "best seafood in Seattle" sign, and re-routed last minute to take a windy road through the forest with no service from Portland to the PCH. The trip must’ve worked—I moved to Santa Monica after college, and I’ve been here ever since.
Can't-Miss Pit Stop: We booked an oceanfront Airbnb in Brookings, Oregon, with a private hot tub. Best decision of the trip, by far! Since it was just a guest room within a home, we got to meet the Airbnb hosts (John & Nancy), and they made us breakfast in the morning! It was such a cute town and a perfect midway stop on our trip.
Lessons Learned from the Trip: Drive the Pacific Coast Highway southbound so you're on the same side as the water.
3. David Platner, Mechanical Engineer
Favorite Road Trip Ever: A mountain bike mission from San Francisco to Downieville
Rig: Subaru Crosstrek with a Luno Air Mattress
Time on the Road: One weekend
Favorite Spots, Memories, or Moments from the Trip:
One of the first trips I took when I moved to San Francisco from the flatlands of the Midwest was a mountain biking mission to Downieville. Two of my riding buddies and I camped on a river between Downieville and Sierra City. We took shuttles up into the Sierra, rode up to the Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout to score immaculate views, and then coasted down the legendary Downieville downhill course. It was complete Type 1 Fun bliss: shredding hero dirt, losing 6000 vertical feet over 20 miles, and giggling the entire way down. We finished our rides in Downieville with burgers and beers at Two Rivers Cafe, listened to live music, and cooled off in the river before hitting the sleeping bag.
With endless weekend road trip possibilities from San Francisco, it's hard to do the same thing twice, but I'm stoked to get back to Downieville this fall with a larger group.
Can't-Miss Pit Stop: Downieville Outfitters runs shuttles to save you a strenuous climb, La Cocina de Oro Taqueria has mouthwatering pre-ride tacos, and Boomtown Lounge is a great spot to hang out and enjoy a beer, charcuterie, and live music.
Lessons Learned from the Trip: A weekend with good friends—and bad cell reception—can reignite your inner stoke.
4. Kaleb Wika, 3D Visual Designer
Favorite Road Trip Ever: Santa Barbara to Big Sur
Rig: Subaru Outback with a Luno Air Mattress
Mileage: 400+ miles
Time on the Road: A long weekend
Favorite Spots, Memories, or Moments from the Trip: There’s a ridge up Los Burros Road, right off the PCH, that leads up to camping spots where you can park your car overnight. We made our way up the ridge and camped above the classic cloud layer that blankets the coast of central California, and that was a super cool experience.
Can't-Miss Pit Stop: McWay Cove is a must-visit overlook, with famous views of a waterfall dropping into the Pacific. Partington Cove is a rad pit stop, too, because you can hike down to the water. The Henry Miller Memorial Library is also well worth a visit.
Lessons Learned from the Trip: Bring your car into the shop before any big expedition, especially if roads are rough.
As we were making our way up Los Burros Road, we came across a couple whose car had broken down. They had friends who were helping them out, but they were stranded until a tow truck could get to them. Definitely not a good way to start the weekend, particularly in Big Sur where there's no cell service. It never hurts to bring your rig into the shop before a trip, even if there’s no suspicious noise coming from under the hood.
5. Karolina Skupien, Customer Support
Favorite Road Trip Ever: Exploring New Zealand’s South Island
Rig: Initially, our rig was a Volkswagen Passat my boyfriend bought for about $500 USD while studying abroad in New Zealand. After the Passat broke down, we rented a Toyota Hiace.
Mileage: Roughly 1,500 miles
Time on the Road: Around two weeks
Favorite Spots, Memories, or Moments from the Trip: The Passat broke down about two hours into our road trip—classic—in the lovely oceanside town of Kaikoura. We were stranded in Kaikoura for four days while waiting for the only mechanic in town to open or for a bus that could take us back to Christchurch–whichever came first.
We made the most of it, taking in everything that Kaikoura had to offer (given that Kaikoura only has one or two real streets in it, we were able to accomplish this by day two). We sampled every restaurant and cafe in town, played card games on every bench on the beach, and walked 10 miles round trip to visit the local seal colony. We became regulars at the town pub, The Strawberry Tree, where we befriended the bartender (who happened to be from Utah!) and watched their nightly screamo cover band shows. We even met a sheep herder who let me name their youngest lamb–I named her Miss Piggy.
Can't-Miss Pit Stop: The Pancake Rocks are neat rock formations in Punakaiki that look like stacks of pancakes. There's even a pancake restaurant across the street, so you can chow down on some pancakes while you’re there, too.
Lessons Learned from the Trip: Always carry a deck of cards with you.
6. Kasia Wojnar, Operations Manager
Favorite Road Trip Ever: A slow journey from Salt Lake City to Lake Tahoe to get back home after a summer travel guiding season.
Rig: Subaru Outback
Time on the Road: Two weeks
Favorite Spots, Memories, or Moments from the Trip: After not seeing my partner for five months, we went on a slow journey from Salt Lake City back home to Lake Tahoe. We drove through Moab first, where we went hiking and explored Arches National Park. We got permits to hike through the Fiery Furnace and had the greatest time getting lost, exploring, and feeling small.
The day after, it started pouring rain and hailing, and the bad weather was going to continue for the next several days. Our plans in Utah were derailed, so we spontaneously drove up to Telluride to visit some friends. We experienced the first snow of the season (in October!), yellow aspen trees, and great food! Once the rain and snow subsided, we had a big day of driving before arriving in Arizona.
We hit the Grand Canyon, where we watched the sunrise and had an epic day of hiking and bird-watching. Next, we stopped at the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest just outside of Bishop, CA, where we didn’t see a soul. Finally, we capped off the trip with a quick backpacking overnight in Yosemite up to Cloud's Rest. We spend the night just beneath Cloud's Rest, and lucked out— again, we were the only ones there! It was magical seeing the clouds roll in during sunset, and sunrise was spectacular, too.
We hiked out and headed back home. After five months of not spending any time together, this was a beautiful trip my partner and I could reconnect on—even after our plans got derailed due to weather!
Can't-Miss Pit Stop: Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in Bishop, CA. I highly recommend stopping here. It’s incredible to be surrounded by the oldest trees in the world!
Lessons Learned from the Trip: Roll with the punches—there's no need to be married to an itinerary. On that note, always stop when you see something of interest!
7. Andrew Bradshaw, Corporate Responsibility Strategist
Favorite Road Trip Ever: Driving out to college from Chicago to Santa Barbara
Rig: Subaru Outback
Time on the Road: One week
Favorite Spots, Memories, or Moments from the Trip: We made it a point to hit as many national parks as we could along the way, and my favorite was Arches right outside of Moab, Utah. We timed a sunset hike perfectly: I got to scramble my way up some of the arches and get an amazing view of the sun dipping behind Delicate Arch. Our hike in Zion National Park was spectacular, too. It was a great trip, and I was happy to enjoy time with family in the beautiful outdoors before starting school.
Can't-Miss Pit Stop: We stopped for the night in Kansas City after a long first day on the road and had the best BBQ at Jack Stack Barbecue.
Lessons Learned from the Trip: I was so excited and antsy to start school, but that road trip definitely made me appreciate the awesome family I have, and be grateful for another adventure with them.
8. Drew Zieff, Copywriter & Content Creator
Rig: 2006 Chevy Express with 30" Fiberglass Topper
Favorite Road Trip: A surf trip from Vancouver Island to Northern Baja
Mileage: 2000+ miles
Time on the Road: Three months
Favorite Spots, Memories, or Moments from the Trip: I didn't realize how much we'd love Vancouver Island. My partner and I finished our van build late—in October instead of August, as we'd planned—but we still wanted to start our trip in Canada. We planned on staying on Vancouver Island for a week, but we scored a rare sunny window combined with a solid run of swell. We ended up hanging on Vancouver Island for nearly a month, spending most of our time between Tofino and Ucluelet, but also wrapping around the island and exploring some less crowded, trickier-to-time waves that paid off big time.
My other favorite moments from that road trip were on the other end—down in Northern Baja. We camped at a few waves on the coast for multiple days at a time, and it was a dream. There was this one wave that had a shipwreck in the lineup, and you'd catch a wave and cruise by this rusted boat—that was pretty surreal. We'd surf until we couldn't lift our arms, then gorge ourselves on cheap tacos and cold cerveza, or buy fish off the local fishermen and grill them over the fire. Life was easy, simple, and slow on that section of the trip—I've been scheming on going back ever since.
Can't-Miss Pit Stop: El Trailero Tacos in Ensenada. Between the fresh fish and shrimp tacos as well as the asada and el pastor, you can't go wrong.
Lessons Learned from the Trip: Take it slow. If you can, hang in one spot until you feel like you really want to move on. Our decision to stay longer in Canada was right on the money, although it did mean we had to book it faster than we wanted through the PNW and California. If I could do this trip over again, I'd do it in six months instead of three—maybe more!
9. Matthew Grace, Sr. Graphic Designer
Favorite Road Trip Ever: National Park hopping from Sacramento to Flagstaff
Rig: A rented Nissan Kicks
Time on the Road: 10 Days
Favorite Spots, Memories, or Moments from the Trip:
Man, there are too many memories to count. Here are a few:
- Seeing Yosemite Valley for the first time
- Waking up to incredible views of Half Dome right outside our tent
- Driving from 10,000 feet of elevation at Tioga Pass to -200 ft in Death Valley in a day
- Hiking Angel’s Landing in Zion
- Kayaking in Lake Powell
Looking back, we covered so much ground in such a short time and soaked in as much as we possibly could. Life is so simple and magical in those moments on the road.
Can't-Miss Pit Stops: In-and-Out Burger
Lessons Learned from the Trip: Always carry bear spray.
10. Ricky Lupp, Director of Product
Favorite Road Trip Ever: The Icefields Parkway in Alberta
Rig: Toyota 4Runner
Mileage: 232km on the Icefields Parkway, approximately 1,000km total
Time on the Road: 8 Days
Favorite Spots, Memories, or Moments from the Trip: The Columbia Icefields and Athabasca Falls were beautiful. It was also really rad seeing a family of bears on the side of the road.
Can't-Miss Pit Stops: You can stop 1,000 times during the 3h 30m drive between Banff and Jasper National Parks, but Athabasca Falls was my favorite. There are amazing hikes and epic views of the falls. The vibrant colors of the rock, trees, and water will leave you in awe–they just don’t seem real.
If you aren't scared of heights, the Glacier Skywalk is wild. It gives you aerial views of the glacier and the mountains–don’t forget your camera.
Lessons Learned from the Trip: Canada rocks!
See You On the Road!
There you have it: ten of the Luno crew’s favorite road trips of all time. We hope these adventures help inspire you to start planning, hit the road, and make your own memories. And if you do embark on the trip of a lifetime with Luno gear in tow, be sure to tag us or send us photos from your adventures–nothing gets us stoked like helping fellow road trippers feel at home on the road. Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you out there.