Celebrating 5 Years of Luno!

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Hey Luno Crew,

I had to do a double-take at the calendar last week. Why? Because five years ago today, we launched Luno and kicked off the biggest adventure of my life. I’m Peter Ducato, Luno’s Founder, and while I’m proud to be at the helm of our growing team these days, back then, there were only a couple of us. We were young, hungry, and optimistic–maybe a little clueless, too–betting all our chips on an epiphany I had on a sleepless snowboard trip to Mammoth.

“There’s got to be a better way to sleep in a Subie,” I mused, tossing and turning on a damp, flimsy backpacking pad in the back of my Outback. When I got home, I used my product design background to design a mattress specifically for car camping. Together with my co-founder, Sarah Van Berkum, we sketched logo ideas on coffee shop napkins. Soon after, we brought on Product Strategist, Allie Vaughan, who helped us refine prototype after prototype. Fueled by a dream (and countless cups of coffee), we ordered our first batch of mattresses. They promptly sold out.

Optimistic as we were, I had no idea our mattresses would take off as they have, let alone spark a movement of car campers passionate about turning everyday vehicles into extraordinary adventure mobiles. We owe that success to our incredible team and partners. Most of all, we owe that success to you–each and every adventurer who has put their faith in our gear. Thank you, sincerely, for your support.

In celebration of this milestone, we want to take a moment to highlight the three pillars of our business: Gear, Community, and Impact. While we’re best known for our air mattresses like the Luno Car Air Mattress, as well as car camping accessories, there’s more to us than that. Don’t get me wrong–crafting the finest car camping gear on the planet continues to be our North Star. But as lovers of the great outdoors, we aim to support and uplift the outdoor community, too. Similarly, we seek to reduce harmful manufacturing practices and positively impact the environment. As we continue down this road for another five years and beyond, these pillars are the foundation we’ll build on.

Long story short? If you want to know where Luno’s been, what Luno’s all about, and where Luno’s headed, you’re in the right place.

Thanks again for your support, and we’ll see you on the backroads.

Sincerely,

Peter Ducato
Luno Founder

GEAR: BUILT FOR THE BACKROADS

Since day one, our commitment to crafting premium, practical, durable, and innovative car camping gear has remained constant.

Perfecting Prototypes

During the development of our flagship mattress, we went through prototype after prototype. We tested those prototypes on backyard surf trips up and down the California coast, longer adventures on the world-famous Ring Road of Iceland, and beyond. Along the way, we boosted storage capacity with the creation of our removable Base Extenders, developed our rugged TitanTUFF fabric to improve durability, and obsessed over trunk measurements and mattress sizing to ensure compatibility across a range of vehicles.

Welcoming Trucks to the Campout

Our initial product offering solely spoke to folks with SUVs and hatchbacks. A subsequent torrent of truck owners flooded our DMs, asking us when we’d have a mattress sized for truck beds. We answered that demand with two new, extremely well-received Luno Air Mattresses–one for trucks with 5-foot beds and another for trucks with 6-foot beds.

An Inflatable Guest Room for Vanlifers

Vanlifers tend to have permanent beds installed in their rigs. However, we used our air mattress expertise (and, let’s be honest, Tetris skills) to develop our innovative Front Cab Air Mattress. This one-of-a-kind mattress turns the front seats of Sprinters, ProMasters, and other popular vans into a comfy sleeping platform that’s perfect for kids, pets, and adults under 5’7”. We like to think of it as an inflatable guest room, and it’s an absolute game-changer for vanlifers, especially those with kids.

Our Latest Launch? The Luno Cargo Hammock

Our innovative accessories help car campers enjoy life on the road. Case in point, our latest launch for SUVs and hatchbacks: the Cargo Hammock. This low-profile, high-capacity mesh cargo net turns unused ceiling space into an invaluable storage zone.

What’s Next?

While we don’t want to spoil too many surprises, we’ve got a 4Runner Trunk Window Screen dropping later this summer and a cold-weather camping essential in the works for fall. Beyond that, count on our engineering team to continue thinking out of the box, staying true to our roots, and crafting next-level vehicle-based camping gear!

COMMUNITY: FOR CAMPERS OF ALL CREEDS

Community means everything to us. After all, camping isn’t just special because of the places you go, but also the people you share them with.

Big News: We’re Moving To Bend!

Oregon is calling, and we must go. Luno’s currently in the midst of a major move, as we shift our operations from Santa Barbara, CA, to the crown jewel of the Cascades: Bend, OR. While Santa Barbara will always have a special place in our hearts, we’re excited to make a new home in the outdoor industry hub of Bend. It’s the perfect base camp for skiing, surfing, mountain biking, climbing, you name it. Our goal is to be a net positive for the outdoor community in Bend, and we’ve already donated a portion of our annual profits to local organizations like Oregon Adaptive Sports and the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council.

You’re Invited to Luno Adventure Camp!

If all that Oregon talk is getting you stoked, don’t worry, you’re invited to the Beaver State, too! In partnership with the Oregon Coast Visitor Association, we’re hosting our first official Luno Adventure Camp on the Southern Oregon Coast this August 25th–27th. This gathering of car campers, truck campers, and vanlifers is going to be good vibes, guaranteed. We’ll have a ton of guided activities on site, including ocean kayaking, SUPing, hiking, nature photography, surf lessons, fly fishing, and fat biking. We may even host a disc golf tournament, so make sure you hit the links to prep. While the exact location is TBD, we’re locked on dates, so put it on your calendar!

Join Luno Adventure Camp Waitlist

Catch Us On Tour

In-person events have been critical for us to introduce campers to Luno gear. And on a deeper level, they’ve helped us validate the risk we took by starting the company in the first place.

“Our very first event was the Sea Otter Classic, the premiere biking event in Monterey, California, five years ago,” remembers Luno co-founder and CMO Sarah Van Berkum. “We showed up, not knowing what we were getting ourselves into. Pete and I had never been to a trade show before, but immediately our worries were put at ease. Seeing people’s reactions to the mattress inside the vehicle was such an affirmation of everything we were doing. That gave us a lot of motivation to keep going.”

In-person marketing efforts were largely put on hold due to the pandemic, but now we’re back in action, touring the country with outdoor community gatherings like Overland Expo, Adventure Van Expo, Subaru WinterFest, and more. We’re stoked to showcase our products to potential Luno campers, as well as to connect with folks who are already familiar with our brand. If you see our booth, don’t be a stranger!

Ambassadors Like Family

Luno’s ambassador team has been mission-critical in both helping us get the word out about Luno and testing our products in the field. Just ask Landon Burnley, our Associate Brand Manager.

“I was actually one of, if not, the first ambassador,” chuckles Landon. “I was one of the first people to reach out to Luno and ask if there was an ambassador program. I loved the idea of camping in my car and bought the first edition of the Luno mattress. My now-wife and I would go on road trips and send Luno photos of our adventures to share.”

A whiz with the camera, passionate car camper, and all-around A+ human, Landon has since joined the team full-time. These days, he handles everything from product testing and content creation to wrangling our team of ambassadors.

“Being an ambassador myself and then taking on the role of leading the charge of the ambassador team, we’ve just always viewed ambassadors as our biggest fans and the most valuable spokespeople when it comes to spreading the word about Luno in the outdoor community. They’re our boots on the ground, and help us connect with the community in an authentic, genuine way,” says Landon.

“Additionally, ambassadors have had the opportunity to test out prototypes and get their hands on products before they're released to the public, which is awesome. We look to them to get initial impressions on gear during R&D stages. The ambassador program has gone through a few changes over the years, but our biggest and best version of it is soon to be announced which is something we are extremely excited about.”

IMPACT: SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES

We strive to make our impact on both people and planet a positive one.

Car[e] Program

Our new Car[e] Program pledges that each year, we’ll donate three percent of profits to three worthwhile causes:

  • Biodiversity Conservation: We allocate one percent of profits to a corporate-advised Biodiversity Conservation Fund. Following the guidance of the Yale Center for Biodiversity and Global Change, we’ll eventually use that capital to acquire land and conserve at-risk wilderness and wildlife.
  • Luno Grants: Each year, we donate one percent of profits to hand-selected 501c3 organizations that champion environmental or social causes. This year, we supported Oregon Adaptive Sports, the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, and the American Alpine Club. An emphasis is placed on local organizations in our new home base of Oregon.
  • In-Kind Donations: The cost of gear can be one of the most challenging barriers to entry for first-time campers. As such, we donate one percent of profits as In-Kind Donations to non-profit organizations that help folks from marginalized communities experience the outdoors.

Andrew Bradshaw, our Corporate Responsibility Strategist, points out exactly how the Car[e] Program is in line with Luno’s ethos. “Our mission statement is to make camping more comfortable and accessible,” he explains. “Luno mattresses and gear make camping more accessible–it’s an affordable and easy way to get into the great outdoors–but accessibility is also something we wanted to target with our philanthropy.”

Partners like Oregon Adaptive Sports, Andrew says, fit the bill perfectly. “They do incredible work, working with underserved populations, whether it's folks with physical or intellectual disabilities, in a really compassionate and progressive way. We’re helping them fundraise for expensive equipment that makes it possible for people with physical disabilities to either get back to the sports that they once loved or start a new outdoor sport.”

Offsetting Carbon Emissions

Rather than ignoring carbon emissions, we help Luno customers and community members offset emissions both at checkout and on the road.

  • EcoCart: We integrated EcoCart into our online checkout, a nifty tool that calculates the carbon emissions of each order. The EcoCart algorithm takes into account everything from manufacturing techniques to shipping method and distance, then gives customers the opportunity to offset the emissions of their order with a quick click.
  • Road Trip Carbon Credits: Our new Carbon Credits program encourages car campers, truck owners, and vanlifers to offset the carbon emitted on road trips. Each credit covers a 650-mile road trip, and multiple credits can be purchased to offset longer adventures.

Accessible Educational Content

If you didn’t grow up camping, the very idea can be intimidating. Our content team works hard to make camping easy, producing free educational content (what we call “Car Camping 101”) that empowers newcomers to embrace the great outdoors. Check out their latest work on our YouTube and the Luno Journal.

Upcycling Program: From Mattresses To Floor Mats

“Extending product life cycle is the epitome of responsible business practices,” says Andrew, who couldn’t be more excited about Luno’s new upcycling program. From here on out, defective mattresses will be returned to Bend, where we’ll work with a local upcycler to produce… drum roll please… Floor Mats! Perfect for changing while car camping, our new Upcycled Floor Mats turn what was once a cradle-to-grave life cycle into a circular cradle-to-cradle life cycle. “The process will divert 100% of materials from the landfill,” comments Andrew.

Local Rental Program

More big news! We’ll be launching a Rental Program in Bend this year. Car campers can bring in a driver’s license to our headquarters and rent a mattress for a certain amount of days. The program will offer free rentals to Bend locals, which aligns with our mission to make car camping more affordable and accessible to all. If you don’t have a local driver’s license, no worries–the program will be open to all for a nominal fee. Additionally, this program will utilize like-new returned mattresses, further keeping Luno gear out of the landfill.

Goals for 2030

Looking down the road, we aim to continue producing the best car camping gear on the market. But beyond that, we hope to expand our upcycling programs, amplify our support of social justice, and continue making sustainability strides. To keep ourselves accountable, we do have two lofty goals for 2030:

  • Become Carbon Positive by 2030
  • Become a B Corp by 2030

We’re Looking Forward to the Next Five!

On this auspicious anniversary, it’s been fun to take a moment, check our rearview mirror, and reflect on the road we’ve traveled to get where we are today. In the same vein, it’s been a treat to share our plans for the future and tease a few projects we have in the works. The last five years have been the adventure of a lifetime, and we couldn’t be more pumped to see what’s in store for the next five.

Thanks for reading this far, and again, thank you for the support–we wouldn’t be here without you.

Onward,

Peter & The Luno Crew