This article is sponsored by LEVEL8 which provided the Pro Carry-On with Laptop Pocket 20” to test. However, all opinions expressed in this LEVEL8 luggage review are my own.
Finding a piece of luggage that is durable, comfortable and keeps your stuff dry and safe is one of the holy grails of travel. But as it can also be a significant financial outlay, choosing the right suitcase is no mean feat.
Take it from me. In more than three decades of travelling, I’ve invested in an array of backpacks and suitcases. Whilst some of these were great buys, others were poor choices, sacrificing quality in favour of economy.
The bottom line is that it can pay to invest in a decent piece of luggage. But which brand of luggage should you choose?
LEVEL8 is a premium US-based suitcase brand, which has recently started free shipping to the UK. Find out if this could be the right choice for you in my LEVEL8 suitcase review of the Pro Carry-On with Laptop Pocket 20”.
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Who is LEVEL8?
LEVEL8 is a New York City-based company that produces stylish and functional suitcases made from durable, quality materials. It offers premium luggage to accommodate most types of travellers, specialising in hard-shell suitcases in a range of sizes.
We all love a good deal. If you order your luggage here and use the exclusive discount code theflashpacker10, you’ll get 10% off any purchase.
What are the Benefits of a Hard-Shell Suitcase?
Hard-shell luggage is the best choice for protecting your more fragile belongings from damage.
Its rigid frame will keep your breakables safe, whether it’s that cheeky bottle of Barolo from Italy or the exquisite ceramic bowl from Kyoto.
Also, hard-case luggage is more water-resistant than soft-sided luggage. If you’ve ever had to dry out clothes from a backpack that has been exposed to the elements, you’ll know what I mean.
Furthermore, hard-shell luggage is easier to keep clean to clean, simply by wiping the surface.
Why Should You Choose a Carry-On Suitcase?
Nine times out of ten I travel with carry-on luggage, even on two-week trips.
This not only eliminates the need to queue to check in your bag, but you can also speed through the airport like a travel ninja. Gone is the anxiety about your luggage not being there to greet you on the other side, or being pummelled by baggage handlers.
LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On with Laptop Pocket 20”: Specifications
The LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On 20” is a hard-shell suitcase that complies with the size requirements for cabin baggage for most major airlines.
You can quickly look at the requirements for carry-on luggage here. However, I always recommended double-checking with your airline before you fly.
Let’s start by taking a look at a few facts and figures.
LEVEL8 PRO CARRY-ON AT A GLANCE
- Capacity: 35 L
- Weight: 9.3 lbs
- Dimensions: 14.5”L x 9.3”W x 21.6”H
- Available colours: Black, grey and navy
How I Tested the LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On with Laptop Pocket
LEVEL8 Luggage Review
The LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On with Laptop Pocket 20” was delivered in a sturdy box, wrapped in a white dust bag, which is a welcome high-end touch.
Attached to one of the handles was a card providing instructions on how to set the TSA lock.
It is certainly a sleek and stylish piece of luggage, in keeping with my travel style.
The build quality of the LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On is exceptional.
It is crafted from aerospace-grade Bayer Makrolon®, a hard shell material that is light, durable and water-resistant. No flimsiness here; it feels very robust and high-end.
The adjustable-height telescopic handle is made from a lightweight aluminium alloy.
The 360-degree spinner wheels are very impressive. They allow the suitcase to glide smoothly and quietly along pavements and even coped with those Belgian cobblestone streets.
But watch out. These wheels are so smooth that the merest touch will propel the case forward. On more than one occasion I had to reign my luggage back in as it took on a life of its own across the train carriage.
Something that distinguishes this suitcase from others in LEVEL8’s luggage range is its outside laptop pocket.
For me, this is an essential design feature of a piece of luggage. Not so much for stowing a laptop – although that can be useful – but to allow easy access to essential travel documents.
The laptop pocket of the LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On is secured with a robust Velcro strap and has two smaller pockets.
Built-in TSA-approved lock
This is another awesome feature of this piece of luggage.
No more fumbling around with external locks. Set this TSA-approved lock with your personal code – super easy to do thanks to the included instructions – and it locks both the main suitcase compartment and the laptop pocket.
Device charging port
Although I didn’t have a chance to test this feature, there’s a built-in USB port that allows you to quickly connect your electronic devices to your power bank in the interior compartment.
Inside the LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On 20”
Inside, the suitcase is lined with high-quality grey fabric. The design of the suitcase’s main compartment makes the most of its 35-litre capacity.
You secure your belongings with compression traps on one side.
The other side of the luggage is a compartment that is fully enclosed by a zip-around cover, which has smaller pockets on its face. This is so useful for keeping your belongings organised.
LEVEL8 Luggage Warranty
LEVEL8 offers a lifetime warranty on the Pro Carry-On 20” that covers manufacturing defects. As you would expect, this warranty does not cover repairs resulting from carrier damage, misuse or neglect of the product or wear and tear.
Pros of the LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On
Here’s what I loved about this piece of luggage.
- Lightweight for a hard-shell suitcase
- Carry-on dimensions
- Generous capacity
- Stylish looking
- Easy access to documents via laptop pocket
- In-built TSA lock
- Easy to wipe clean
Cons of the LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On
In all honesty, there’s not much that I would change about this suitcase, but here are a few things to consider.
- As the Pro Carry-On has a matte finish, scuffs may show with repeated use. If this is a concern, consider a LEVEL8 case with a textured finish, such as the Textured Carry-On 20” or Road Runner Carry-on with Laptop Pocket 20”
- The three colours available may not be to everybody’s tastes. If you prefer more vibrant colours, take a look at the Matte Carry-On 20” or Textured Carry-On 20”
Should You Buy LEVEL8 Luggage?
Based on my rigorous testing, I would recommend buying the LEVEL8 Pro Carry-On if you are looking for high-quality, hard-shell cabin luggage. It is well designed and built, glides along like a dream and looks super stylish.
My initial concern that it wouldn’t equal the capacity and functionality of my beloved Osprey Fairview Wheels 36 was completely unfounded. There was plenty of packing room for a week’s trip, with spare capacity to bring back lots of delicious chocolates from Bruges.
Yes; it’s not cheap. But, there again, good things often come at a price.
I hope that this LEVEL8 luggage review has helped you decide if this is the right hard-shell suitcase for you. Remember that if you order your luggage here and use the exclusive promo code theflashpacker10 at checkout, you’ll get 10% off any purchase.