Level8 Luggage Review: The Russian Doll Suitcase with A Difference

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The Level8 Voyageur series promises durability and style. Here, we put it to the test. Read on for the full Level8 luggage review.

Closed Level8 suitcase on a bed, level8 luggage review
A suitcase can make or break your travelling experience

Level8 Luggage Review: An Introduction

When it comes to travel, the right luggage can make all the difference between a smooth journey and a stressful experience.

From bursting bags to wheels popping off, handles jamming and more, I’ve seen it all, either directly or through friends I’ve been travelling with.

So, I take this Level8 luggage review seriously, as I do all my travel gear reviews.

Sure, they approached me, but if you’ve been here at all before, you’ll know that that doesn’t let brands off the hook.

If it blows, you’ll know. Yes, OK. I need to work on that line.

Right, enough introductory chat. Let’s get on to this Level8 Luggage Review.

Who Are Level8?

Level8 derive their name from a poetic idea. The Arabic numeral 8 means infinity, which this travel gear brand have interpreted as the “possibility of endless exploration of future and the unlimited possibilities of life.”

A lofty starting point! But an idea that I can get on board with.

They have a range of suitcases but this Level8 luggage review is going to look at a pair of suitcases from their Voyageur series.

Designed to withstand the rigours of travel while embodying sleek design, these suitcases promise to be reliable companions for discerning travellers.

In this comprehensive review, we delve into the key features and performance of the Level8 luggage, exploring its durability, design elements, and travel efficiency. From its robust construction to its ergonomic design details, we aim to provide an in-depth analysis that will help you make an informed decision about your luggage investment.

In need of a total travel gear overhaul? Check out the recommendations on my Amazon page here.

Level8 Russian doll suitcases, carry on inside the check-in suitcase
The ‘Russian doll’ design makes storage easy

Hard Shell Russian Doll Suitcases with a Different Handle Design

The most striking thing about these hard-shell suitcases are the way they design their handles. For some reason, the world has always put them in the centre. Level8 Voyageur puts them at the edge. This does make it easier to pack without a central ridge – although, of course, if you’ve bought accessories or smaller bags that slot over the smaller central handles, you’ll need to bear that in mind.  

The second big highlight is that the cabin luggage size suitcase fits perfectly into the larger one. This not only makes luggage storage at home so much easier but also provides you with a mechanism for travelling with Christmas presents or heading out on an almighty shopping spree.


Let’s start with what the two suitcases have in common.

Baggage handler wheels the Level8 suitcase along the river, level8 luggage review
If your suitcase can handle baggage handlers, it can handle anything!


All the suitcases in this range are made from German-made Makrolon® polycarbonate.

In practical terms, that means it’s pretty tough. I’ll update once I’ve travelled a bit more but I’ve put the suitcases through some tough challenges:

  1. Baggage handlers at London Heathrow (where I once saw a truck run over a suitcase.)
  2. My daughter, who not only decorated the smaller suitcase but took it to the park and tried rolling it down the hill as a sport.

The end result, dear readers, was two suitcases still intact. A far better testimonial than any amount of polycarbonate talk.

Close up of a wheel on a Level8 suitcase
The wheels are one of this suitcases’s best features


I never thought I’d get excited about suitcase wheels. But, oh my, this suitcase glides like perfection. It’s so much smoother than any other I’ve tested (and I’ve tested a lot.)

If you struggle with shoulder or back issues, this is a big, big plus. It’s so easy to move it around. Be careful, though. The smooth roller design can mean it wanders off on its own accord if you accidentally leave it on a slope…

TSA approved lock, level8 luggage review
TSA approved locks allow officers to open your case without causing any damage


Both suitcases have a TSA approved lock and you can, of course, set the code as you wish. I’m not entirely convinced about these – if someone wants to get into your bag for nefarious purposes, they can still slice through the fabric. But I guess it’s a deterrent.

I’ve also heard tales about the locks breaking on other suitcases. So, I’ll keep testing and let you know! So far, with the locks, so good.

TSA Approved Locks

TSA approved locks are specially designed to allow Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers to open and inspect luggage without damaging the lock. These locks feature a unique design that enables TSA agents to unlock them using a master key or combination, providing added security and peace of mind for travellers. By using TSA approved locks, passengers can secure their belongings during travel while complying with TSA regulations.

These locks are widely available and come in various styles, including padlocks, cable locks, and combination locks, offering flexibility to suit different types of luggage. Whether traveling domestically or internationally, opting for TSA approved locks can help streamline the security screening process and protect luggage from tampering or theft.


You’ll find. A sturdy handle at the top and side of the main suitcase, which makes it easy for lifting and for labelling luggage. So many suitcase companies overlook this that it’s a relief to see it done well.

Then there is the big one: the broad handle the width of the case, instead of telescoping only into the centre.

Here’s a photo to show you what I mean:

Child wheels a decorated Level8 suitcase, Level8 luggage review
The large handle makes transportation easy

It’s easy to write this off as a gimmick but it does make packing easier, with no central rumpus to contend with.

It’s made from Aluminium alloy and has a good, sturdy, clean feel. This is important to me, after a few suitcase handles have died by getting stuck halfway down and no longer fitting into anything.


The carry-on suitcase is the baby of the range, designed to slot inside the larger ones for easy storage at home and some ridiculously mammoth shopping or gift exchange trips abroad.

As you’d expect, the wheels and shell are much the same but there are some notable differences.

Zipped compartments inside an open Level8 suitcase
Zipped inside pockets allow you to organise your belongings as you pack

Internal Organisation

All is well here. Just enough organisation features to help, not too many to restrict.

In the larger suitcases, you’ll find an elasticated set of straps which click together on one side to keep your clothes in place (aka the internal compression system.)

In the other, find zipped compartments, one wet, one dry, both which let you see what’s inside.

The cabin luggage suitcase keeps the zipped compartments but lacks the internal compression system. It also has a “secret compartment” between the suitcase lining and hard shell.

The Russian Doll Suitcases

Situations where it can be handy to have one suitcase fit inside the other:

  • Storage at home
  • Shopping trips
  • Visiting family, particularly over Christmas when you may need to bring gifts back (or alternatively take them over but come back with far less luggage.)

The Downsides

As I said at the start, this is an honest review, as is everything on this site.

So, what were the downsides?

Pretty small ones, really.

One of the wheel covers popped off the main suitcase on its first journey to Budapest. (Though, it’s important to stress that this was just a wheel cover, not the wheel itself.)

The yellow cover, while lovely and distinctive on the luggage carousel, was also pretty scuffed and marked after just one flight.

Does that matter? It depends on your point of view.

Finally, but this is more of a guess, everyone who saw me with the cabin size suitcase was convinced that it wouldn’t fit. While it doesn’t fit the ultra budget airlines in Europe (think Ryanair) it is well within the standard cabin luggage dimensions.

I think it creates an optical illusion of being deeper than it is. Will this cause a problem when you fly? It shouldn’t, as it will fit within those baggage cages. But it might mean you’re more likely to be singled out for a test.

Finally, as I mentioned above, for certain high-risk destinations, someone can slash through the zip with a knife. If you really need a fail-safe  hard shell suitcase, then look for one with plastic clasps instead of a zip, even with a lock.

However, this is unlikely to be an issue for most of the world and certainly for travel in Europe, the US and Canada.

Guilty of overpacking? Our ultimate holiday packing list is here to help!

Clothes packed inside a Level8 suitcase, Level8 luggage review
Packed and ready for my next adventure

The Specifics

Lifetime Warranty

All Level8 suitcases are covered by a lifetime warranty. You can check out the small print for the warranty here.

Available Sizes

  • 20” Carry-On Overall: 21.3”H x 15.1”W x 9.8”D | 8.1 lbs | 43 L
  • 26” Checked Overall: 27.3”H x 16.6”W x 13.3”D | 11.8 lbs | 93 L
  • 28” Checked Overall: 29.1”H x 16.6”W x 13.3”D | 12.4 lbs | 99 L
  • 30” Checked Overall: 32.1”H x 16.7”W x 13.3”D | 13.9 lbs | 105 L

Where To Buy

Yes, you can buy your Level8 luggage online. If you live in the USA or Canada, you can enjoy free shipping. If not, work out your costs here.

Allow 1-2 days for processing and then the US & Canada orders will arrive in 3-6 business days. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Buying a Hard Shell Suitcase

1. What is a hard shell suitcase, and how does it differ from a soft shell suitcase?

A hard shell suitcase is typically made of durable materials like polycarbonate or ABS plastic, providing rigid protection for your belongings. In contrast, a soft shell suitcase is made of flexible materials like fabric, offering more versatility in packing but less protection against impacts.

2. What are the advantages of choosing a hard shell suitcase?

Hard shell suitcases are known for their durability and resistance to damage, making them ideal for protecting fragile items. They also often come with features like built-in locks and waterproofing, enhancing security and usability during travel.

3. Are hard shell suitcases lightweight?

Many hard shell suitcases are lightweight, especially those made from advanced materials like polycarbonate. However, some models may be heavier due to additional features or thicker construction.

4. How do I choose the right size hard shell suitcase for my needs?

Consider factors such as the duration of your trips, airline baggage restrictions, and your packing habits. For shorter trips or carry-on use, a smaller-sized suitcase may suffice, while longer trips or family vacations may require a larger size.

5. Can hard shell suitcases expand for extra packing space?

Some hard shell suitcases come with expandable features, allowing for additional packing space when needed. However, not all models offer this feature, so it’s essential to check the product specifications before purchasing.

6. Are hard shell suitcases suitable for all types of travel?

Hard shell suitcases are versatile and suitable for various types of travel, including air travel, road trips, cruises, and more. However, they may not be as flexible or compressible as soft shell suitcases, so consider your specific travel needs before deciding.

7. How do I maintain and clean a hard shell suitcase?

To maintain your hard shell suitcase, wipe it down regularly with a damp cloth to remove dirt and debris. For stubborn stains, mild soap and water can be used. Avoid abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals, as they may damage the surface of the suitcase.

8. What should I look for in terms of warranty and customer support when buying a hard shell suitcase?

When purchasing a hard shell suitcase, look for brands that offer a warranty against manufacturing defects and provide reliable customer support. Additionally, read reviews and consider the reputation of the brand for quality and service.

9. Can hard shell suitcases be repaired if damaged during travel?

Minor damages to hard shell suitcases, such as scratches or scuffs, can often be repaired using specialised products or techniques. However, extensive damage may require professional repair or replacement, depending on the severity.

10. What is the average lifespan of a hard shell suitcase?

The lifespan of a hard shell suitcase depends on various factors, including the quality of construction, frequency of use, and level of care. With proper maintenance and usage, a high-quality hard shell suitcase can last for many years, providing reliable performance and protection for your travels.

Children's toys inside the zipped compartment of a Level8 suitcase
All the essentials…

Hard Shell vs Soft Shell Suitcases

Here’s a comparison of hard shell and soft shell suitcases for travel:

Hard Shell Suitcases:

1. Durability: Hard shell suitcases are typically more durable and resistant to scratches, dents, and other external damages due to their rigid construction.

2. Protection: They offer better protection for fragile items and valuables because of their sturdy outer shell.

3. Waterproofing: Many hard shell suitcases come with waterproof or water-resistant features, making them ideal for travel in wet conditions.

4. Security: Hard shell suitcases often feature built-in locks or combination locks, providing added security for your belongings.

5. Cleanliness: They are easier to clean and maintain compared to soft shell suitcases, as dirt and stains can be wiped off easily from the hard surface.

Soft Shell Suitcases:

1. Flexibility: Soft shell suitcases are more flexible and can expand to accommodate extra items, making them suitable for overpacking or bringing souvenirs back from a trip.

2. Lightweight: They are generally lighter in weight compared to hard shell suitcases, which can be advantageous for air travel with weight restrictions.

3. Storage: Soft shell suitcases can be collapsed or compressed for easier storage when not in use, taking up less space in closets or under beds.

4. Accessibility: They often have external pockets and compartments for easy access to essentials like documents, water bottles, or snacks during travel.

5. Manoeuvrability: Soft shell suitcases tend to have more forgiving exteriors, making them easier to squeeze into tight spaces or fit into overhead compartments on planes or trains.

Ultimately, the choice between hard shell and soft shell suitcases depends on personal preferences, travel needs, and priorities such as durability, flexibility, and convenience.

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