A (completely honest) Level8 luggage review - Globe Guide

A (completely honest) Level8 luggage review

As someone who travels 100+ days each year, I know a thing or two about how to pack properly. And after visiting 95 countries (most of the time only with a carry-on), I also have a LOT of insight into picking the right type of luggage for your trip.

That’s why when LEVEL8 reached out and asked if I’d be interested in sharing an honest review about a couple of their suitcases, I was happy to oblige. I’m frequently asked which luggage brands and pieces are really worth investing in, because let’s be real—quality pieces aren’t cheap so you definitely want to know which bag is best before pulling out your wallet.

Here’s a rundown of what I look for in a good piece of luggage, what to expect with LEVEL8, how it performed when I took it out on the road, and how their suitcases compare with other well-known brands.

LEVEL8 luggage review from the Voyageur collection
The LEVEL8 Voyageur Carry-On

LEVEL8 luggage review

First, a quick overview if you’re not familiar with LEVEL8. The brand was founded in 2008 and is based in New York, and focuses on streamlined, simple styling in their functional range of carry-on, check-in and soft-sided luggage.

Their best sellers are:

You’ll also find totes, packing cubes (my fave!), luggage covers, laptop backpacks and accessories like socks and leather tags on their site.

LEVEL8 luggage

Level8 suitcases include a lifetime warranty that covers the shell, wheels, handles and zippers.

They’re not cheap: the set I got is priced at $750 for a carry-on and check-in pair. Free shipping is offered in the USA and Canada, though there are duties if receiving in Canada (which came out to about $45 for my set).

Use the code globeguide10 at checkout, and you’ll save an extra 10 per cent off anything on the LEVEL8 site!

LEVEL8 suitcase
The 20″ and 26″ suitcases from the Voyageur collection

What to look for when buying luggage

When you live out of a suitcase for a third of the year like yours-truly, you realize pretty quickly that there are some non-negotiables when it comes to picking the right luggage.

  • While soft-sided luggage has its benefits, I opt for hard-sided cases so the contents are more protected in transit.
  • 360° spinner wheels are a must, trust me.
  • While you want a suitcase without a lot going on inside so the packing options are more flexible, it’s nice to have at least a couple of zippered pockets to organize small items or laundry.
  • Don’t skimp on quality: you definitely don’t want a zipper or wheel giving out midway through your vacation.
  • Look for a smooth, telescopic handle with multiple height adjustments.


Features of the LEVEL8 luggage Voyageur Collection

I opted to test out the Voyageur Collection which is one of LEVEL8’s top-selling lines. Four sizes are available, as well as sets which save 20 per cent off the price of buying pieces individually.

Notable features include a durable German-made Makrolon® polycarbonate hard shell, ultra-quiet 360° spinner wheels, and an extra wide aluminum alloy telescopic handle (more on that later–spoiler alert: not my fave).

There’s also a built-in TSA-approved lock to keep your gear secure, and interior compartments with a compression system.

LEVEL8 suitcase with TSA approved lock


The first thing I noticed after unwrapping each piece (I went with the 20” carry-on and 26” check-in set) is how durable they feel.

While the cases’ masculine, squared-off lines look sleek and ideal for a business traveller, you can tell they’d also hold up well during more rugged use like being thrown into the back of a bush plane in Africa.


One of my absolute favourite features of the Voyageur suitcase is how well it handles–it truly felt like my packed carry-on was effortlessly gliding through the concourse as I made my way through the airport.

It’s incredibly easy to maneuveur, the wheels are smooth-like-butter, and it stays in a straight line while pushing it which I hadn’t even noticed was an issue with my usual carry-on bag until testing the Level 8 version.

The wheels on a LEVEL8 suitcase

The interior

Other than the obvious sizing differences between the carry-on and checked options, the interiors are pretty similar. Both have a zippered mesh topper on each side to keep belongings contained, and the one on the left also has a couple of pockets.

The interior

The larger Voyageurs have a cloth divider in the right side of the case.

The cloth divider in the larger Voyageur suitcases
The cloth divider in the larger Voyageur suitcases


What I didn’t like about LEVEL8 carry-on luggage

I’m happy to report I only found a couple flaws with the Voyageur Carry-On: the first is that a bit of the interior near the top is taken up by the handle which makes it a bit awkward to pack things around that area.

The more egregious issue and truly the only thing that bugs me about this bag is the ultra-wide handle. Seems like a strange choice and I’m not sure what the point of it is, but it basically means you can’t slide a smaller, soft-sided bag over the handle. So, the straps of my small leather backpack were awkwardly twisted around it in an attempt to secure it instead, and fell off a couple of times during transit.

Awkwardly balancing my backpack at the airport

The only LEVEL8 bags with this ‘feature’ are the Voyageur and Captain Pro Aluminum while the rest have a more universally spaced handle, so I’d recommend considering a bag with a narrower one instead.

The wide handle on the Voyageur suitcase

It would also be nice if they offered a wider range of more exciting colours: currently the Voyageur only comes in black, navy and sunshine yellow.

However, there are sometimes limited-edition hues: the ‘celadon’ colour is a gorgeous soft sage/aqua green that wasn’t showing as an option when I ordered mine–bummer!––so be sure to check back frequently if none of the OG shades are doing it for you..

LEVEL 8 vs Monos vs Samsonite

For about 14 years I exclusively used a trio of soft-sided, boring-black Samsonite luggage that I picked up at Costco for $150. Man, did those ever see some miles.

However, when the wheels finally gave out on my trusty carry-on at the end of 2022, I swapped to a chic, hard-sided set of luggage from the Canadian brand Monos which you’ve probably seen all over Instagram (similar to the Away bags which are more popular stateside).

A Monos carry-on bag

While I appreciate how hard-sided suitcases protect my belongings better, they’re heavier and scratch easily even without checking them due to activities associated with travel like piling them onto buses or into taxis.

I also had to adjust my packing methods: my old Samsonite case had one compartment, which meant you could put everything inside Tetris-style then simply close the cover. However, most hard-sided cases have compartments on both sides, which means you need to balance how many items you put in each side so they’ll properly zip up.

This configuration is also a bit annoying in hotel rooms since it takes up more space to completely open both sides of the suitcase instead of just the top flap. Again this is not unique to LEVEL8, just mentioning for anyone who might be making the switch from soft to hard luggage about what to expect.

Hard-sided luggage takes up more space when it’s open

One pain point I’ve had with my Monos Carry-On Pro Plus is that it technically doesn’t fit into the standard baggage sizers at the airport due to the external laptop pocket, which is kind of annoying since it’s hard to squeeze anything into it when the rest of the suitcase is full. It’s worth noting that their regular Carry-On and Carry-On Plus do fit in the sizer, though the smaller Carry-On doesn’t fit much.

So on that note, I was excited to test out LEVEL8’s 20” Voyageur since it doesn’t have an external pocket like the Monos Carry-On Pro Plus, meaning I don’t have to stress if agents start measuring bags at the boarding gate.

I did a side-by-side comparison, and here’s how the external measurements look:

The Monos (left) and LEVEL8 (right) carry-on suitcases

I also packed the EXACT same items in each bag as a test, and found both had the same storage capacity. While the LEVEL8 bag didn’t feel quite as organized due to the interior handle issue mentioned above, it was way easier to zip up for some reason which I definitely appreciated.

Packing the LEVEL8 bag
Packing the Monos bag

In terms of aesthetics, Monos is hard to beat with their pleasing curved lines and huge range of soft hues. However, LEVEL8 has a separate women’s section with a few feminine options like blush pink, baby blue and one called white glitter if any of those are calling your name.

As pretty as the Monos bags are, the exterior of the LEVEL8 one feels more durable, doesn’t mark and scratch as easily and made it back from my cross-country trip absolutely spotless.

If you’re torn between the two, I’d say the Monos bags win when it comes to looks and options while LEVEL8 is better for actual performance and longevity.

LEVEL8 suitcase review

Overall, I was highly impressed with the LEVEL8 Voyageur bags, and honestly loved them more than I thought I would–especially the smooth gliding wheels, interior zippered pockets and how easy it is to zip up.

I’ll still bring my Monos on certain trips (like a girl’s getaway to Napa for example), but will likely reach for the LEVEL8 for longer, more adventurous trips since I know it can handle getting put through the wringer and make it home without looking battered.

Globe Guide received compensation and products for review. As always, opinions are my own.



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