Level8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On suitcase review | Durable, bold, and stylish

by W. Andrew Powell
Level8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On suitcase

Unpacking the Level8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On suitcase was a very nice surprise. Even though I knew what the suitcase would look like before it arrived, it’s an impressive piece of luggage once you see it in person.

The aluminum magnesium alloy body, made from Aerospace-grade materials, looks so sharp, and I love the gleaming, pearl finish.

Covered by a limited lifetime warranty, and made to last with features that feel modern and refined, it’s a luxury piece of luggage, cleverly designed, and made to fit on your travels.

So what stands out about the 20 inch suitcase, should you buy it, and is an aluminum alloy suitcase right for you? Read on for my full review after my first trip with the luggage, and how it stood up.

Gibraltar carry-on outside and features

The Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On is 15 inches across, by 8.4 inches deep, 21.8 inches tall, and weighs 10 lbs or 4.6 kg with a capacity of 36 Litres. It fits right into the upper-sizing for most airline’s carry-on baggage rules for overhead compartments, but be sure to check those details against your favourite airline.

The suitcase material is one of the best features. It’s incredibly durable and strong, so you can be sure that whatever you pack inside is going to be safe on your travels. And the reinforced corners protect the suitcase, even if it gets thrown around, so your essentials are protected and the suitcase will keep going for a long time.

While it’s hard for me to say how the paint will stand up, it looks great and basic tests seem to suggest it will last well against scuffing.

The two latches on the suitcase are secure and easy to set to any code you prefer, and they’re TSA-approved to make security easy. The latches click open and closed with a solid, satisfying sound that is probably best described as dependable. It reminds me a bit of old model briefcases, but a little larger.

Looking at the top handle, it adjusts to four heights, so it’s perfect for most people, whether you’re on the tall or shorter side.

On the top and side of the luggage, the Gibraltar also features two smooth, slow-release handles that are well constructed and easily support the weight of the suitcase. They feel great, and are well made.

And finally, the spinner wheels are fluid and move effortlessly on carpet and hard surfaces. Even making quick turns and direction changes on carpet, I found the wheels turned smoothly, without slowing down.

Features inside the suitcase, plus extras

Open up the suitcase and the first surprise is the way that the edges fit together. The Gibraltar has a tongue and groove design so the halves fit together snugly, with a rubberized edge to make a tighter seal. While I didn’t doubt that it’s waterproof, it certainly will keep moisture and rain from easily getting inside.

Mesh pocket dividers make it easy to compartmentalize and pack the suitcase with excellent efficiency. The mesh dividers can also be removed, so you can use them both, take them both out, or use just one of them, making it very helpful when you need to adjust for different trips, sizes, and shapes of everything that you’re packing.

The suitcase liner unzips easily, and the handles don’t take up a lot of space inside, so you have the same amount of space as most 20 inch carry-on suitcases.

Included with the Gibraltar is also a 4-piece packing cube travel set, and a luggage tag. Everything is very well made, and I love the packing cubes, including the fact that they feature icons on the outside that can be changed so you know what’s inside.

When the cubes are filled they perfectly fit inside the suitcase with a little room to spare, and they can be stored inside the largest packing cube when they’re not in use otherwise. It’s a great little add-on, especially since they’re made for this suitcase specifically, which helps a lot for packing.

Level8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On final thoughts

The Gibraltar suitcase is beautiful, well-made, sleek, modern, and it stands out from the crowd of average suitcases. I love the look and feel of the luggage, the attention to detail, and how sturdy everything feels. I can imagine using this suitcase for the next decade, at the very least, and it’s what I would call a professional looking suitcase as well.

Little touches, like the removable mesh dividers, and the slow-release handles, add to that professional look and style, and the build quality is nearly perfect, from the handles and stitching, to the suitcase walls.

The only question I’ll have is how well the paint stands up during my travels over the next few months. Naturally, the paint will scuff and gather some marks over time, but that’s to be expected. From what I’ve seen, I don’t believe it will dent or crack, and I’m not concerned with a few marks over time. Those will end up being the badges of a well used and well loved suitcase.

So is an aluminum alloy suitcase the right choice for you? That depends on how much you travel, for one thing, how much you want to spend on a carry-on, and if you would rather have a suitcase that will last for a long time. If you have the budget and want a luxury-style suitcase, it’s worth it.

At the time of this review the Level8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On suitcase was priced at $429.99 USD, and $697.99 CAD. That’s more expensive than some suitcases, but considering the materials, build, and design, I think it’s worth the price for luggage you’ll use for many years. Compared to some other brands with aluminum suitcases, Level8 is also cheaper than the alternatives.

Watch for an update later this year after I use the suitcase for a few trips and I see how it holds up. Have a question about the suitcase? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you.

Photos by W. Andrew Powell/The GATE.

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