Before we get too ahead of ourselves here, it must be said that this Luno Life air mattress is custom-designed to fit many, but not all cars on the market. Read the review, and, if you’re intrigued, head to their site to check their database to see if it fits your car. Would hate to get you excited and then let you down upon discovering it won’t work for your ride, because this is a fantastic addition for the camper who likes to sleep in their car.
What is the Luno Life? Simple. A 4-inch thick air mattress designed to fully expand into the space behind the front seats of your car. In my case, that car is a 2016 Subaru Outback.
The Outback’s back seats fold flat, a wonderful and increasingly common, it seems, bit of geometric wizardry that greatly expands the car’s camping potential. I am 6’2″ and I can lie completely flat in the back with the rear hatch closed. But, that’s only the case if something fills the gaps between the rear of the front seats and where the back seats fold.
The Luno Life gets around this by including two inflatable cubes that sit in the footwell and fill that space. This means the mattress is supported entirely along its length, something that is impossible without either those cubes, or something else stuffed into the footwells to support the head of the mattress.
Plus, since the mattress is custom-fit depending on the model of the car, it fills all available space behind the front seats.
The end result is a soft, supportive mattress that allows for two tall adults to sleep comfortably in the back of, in this case, a Subaru Outback. My wife is about two inches taller than I am, and can’t quite stretch out completely without her head gently rubbing the back of the front seat, but very few people will have that issue.
Remember, it’s designed for specific car models, so your mileage may vary.
If you’re camping solo, you can inflate just one side of the mattress; the two halves are attached, but each has its own air chamber.
The mattress comes with a pump that you can plug in to your car’s 12 volt outlet. The Outback has one in the rear compartment, which is a huge bonus for a mattress like this. Takes about one minute per side to inflate, and I’d guess about 30 seconds to inflate the base extender cubes.
Plus, each side has a separate valve to control firmness, so if sleeping partners have different ideas about firmness and comfort, they can add or release air as necessary.
The mattress is covered with a thick Oxford fabric, which they claim resists abrasions, and so far, after owning one for over six months, I’ve had no issues with anything puncturing the mattress or even marring the fabric surface. It feels plenty durable.
Finally, you can—blessedly—roll the mattress and extenders up and stuff them quite easily into the shoulder-carrying tote they ship in. No getting frustrated and just folding it up and storing it awkwardly somewhere because you can’t get it back in the stuff tote. It’s a piece of cake to put it away.
Gripes? Well, let’s see. Not really with the actual mattress so much, but what sleeping on it means for your car camping. You have to commit to using the rear of your car as a sleeping area with this thing. That means either having a cargo box on the roof to store your gear, or taking everything out of the back and leaving it outside while you sleep. That’s not a huge deal if you’re planning to stick in the same camp for a few days, and it’s not so onerous to set up that you’ll dread breaking and making camp repeatedly on a road trip, but it’s something to consider.
Then of course there’s the chance they don’t offer a mattress for your car. Luno Life claims their mattress fits in over 800 different makes, models, and years, and I can attest the fit is perfect for my ride, but I also assume they make lots of these for Subarus and have this design down pat, so I can’t vouch for the fit in other vehicles.
But if I’m sleeping in my car, I’m sleeping on this mattress. In fact, If I was camping by myself and didn’t want to use my rooftop tent (more on that later), I wouldn’t bring a tent anymore. It’s that good.
• BUY $225
These aren’t custom fit, but great car camping options too
The Sea to Summit Comfort Deluxe is a beauty of an air mattress. Comes in single or double. These are only going to fit in vans, truck beds, or really big tents, but boy oh boy, they’re comfy. Single size on sale now for $150.
Pricey but widely trusted by hardcore overlanders for its comfort and durability, the Exped Megamat Duo is a buy it once, for life kinda mattress. $350.
We also like the NEMO Roamer. 4 inches of plush, easy to inflate. $210