LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On Review: Is This A Good RIMOWA Dupe?

As someone who loves to travel, I’m always on the lookout for high-quality luggage that can keep up with my many adventures.

I’ve previously purchased LEVEL8 suitcases for friends and family members who were in the market for a new carry-on, but I had never owned one personally. That is, until my partner (who had been yearning for an aluminum carry-on for years), finally decided to take the plunge and get one for us!

After doing some research on aluminum suitcases, we decided to go with the LEVEL8 Aluminum Carry-On because of (1) its budget-friendly price point for an all-aluminum case and (2) the fact that we travel with carry-ons 90% of the time.

In this post, we’ll go over all the features of the LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On suitcase, as well as compare it to some of the other top-tier aluminum cases out there. The question that I ultimately want to help you answer is: Could this be a good enough alternative for the highly coveted RIMOWA suitcases???

We’ll cover everything from the best and worst features of this suitcase, and we’ll also discuss how this suitcase stacks up against some of the more expensive options on the market.

By the end of this post, I hope that you will be able to decide for yourself whether or not the LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On is the right luggage choice for you. So, let’s dive in and take a closer look!

This post may contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running/pumping out useful and free content. Thanks a lot!

LEVEL8: About The Brand

LEVEL8 Carry On Suitcase Review - About The Brand

Established in 2008, LEVEL8 is a New York-based luggage designer and maker that offers a wide range of products for travelers.

The Arabic number 8 in its name becomes the common symbol for infinity when placed horizontally, which represents the endless exploration of the future and the unlimited possibilities of life.

The brand is known for its well-thought-out, efficient design, sturdy materials, and expert craftsmanship. In addition to its functional and reliable luggage, LEVEL8 also maintains an eye for sleek and simple style and aesthetics.

LEVEL8 offers a wide range of products, including laptop bags, backpacks, and travel accessories in different sizes, styles, and colors.

The brand’s luggage options are its bread and butter — including the Pro Carry-On with Laptop Pocket and built-in USB port, the Voyageur Check-In made with a durable yet lightweight Makrolon® polycarbonate hard shell, and the classic yet sleek Full Aluminum Carry-On made by aerospace-grade aluminum magnesium alloy. You can compare all their luggage models here.

Overall, LEVEL8 is a brand that is dedicated to providing “always functional and always reliable” durable luggage while still maintaining an eye for “sleek and simple” style and aesthetics. 

To show appreciation for its loyal fans in the travel community, LEVEL8 recently added a boost to its membership incentive program: Level8 Club Rewards. This rewards program is free to join and gives you access to exclusive perks and points for cash back when you shop at LEVEL8.

LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On: Features

The Gibraltar Aluminum suitcase model currently only comes in one size, the carry-on size. This lightweight aluminum cabin suitcase is ideal for short weekend getaways or business trips of 2-3 days.

Dimensions of this suitcase are: 22″H x 15″L x 8.4″W

LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On Suitcase Review

Best Features Of The LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On

  • Made with Aerospace-grade Aluminum Magnesium Alloy
  • Keyless and zipperless: the dual TSA-approved locks are how the suitcase opens/closes
  • Slow-release handles with 4 adjustment settings – make no noise and are made to prevent pinching your hands
  • Ultra Quiet 360° Durable Spinner Wheels
  • Mesh Pocket Interior Divider (these are removable)
  • Suitcase comes with 4-piece packing cube set ($49.99 value), luggage tag ($29.99 value), and a suitcase dustbag
  • Designed to fit in most airplane overhead compartments

Other Important Things To Know

  • Weight: 4.6kg
  • Dimensions: 22″H x 15″L x 8.4″W
  • Colors: Dark Grey and Silver
  • Lifetime Warranty: covers functional aspects including shell, wheels, handles, and zippersyou can read more about it here
  • Red Dot Design Award Winner: an international design competition for product design, communication design and design concepts.

LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On: Pros and Cons


  • Sleek and professional looking
  • Really great, high-quality construction
  • Buttery-soft wheels making rolling it around so easy
  • TSA locks are easy to open and close
  • Includes a set of 4 packing cubes which makes the price of the suitcase a better deal
  • For people on a budget, this is a good dupe for RIMOWA aluminum suitcases (for way cheaper)
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty


  • Suitcase is on the heavier side compared to other types of carry-ons, but on par with other metal suitcases
  • The smooth outer surface can be more susceptible to scuffs/scratches if you check it in
  • Suitcase has no “stretch” because of its zipperless locking mechanism

LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On Review: My Experience

I was so excited to unbox my new LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On when it arrived in the mail! The first thing I noticed when I pulled it out of the box was how sleek and stylish it looked with its shiny aluminum exterior.

LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On Suitcase Review

As you can see, I opted for the dark grey color (just like I did with my Macbook) — but it also comes in a classic silver color as well.

Another thing I noticed was how surprisingly lightweight the case was. For an all-metal suitcase, I expected it to be a lot heavier! This was actually really positive news for me, because it meant that even when filled, I’d still be able to lift it above my head and into plane overhead compartments.

One of the things I immediately loved was the multi-directional spinner wheels on this suitcase — they roll so smoothly and easily, making it a breeze to navigate through the airport (carpets and all!).

LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On Suitcase Review

The telescoping handle is also very sturdy and feels comfortable to hold due to its rubberized handle. The aluminum trolley bar is engineered to offer 4 adjustment settings to suit people of all sizes.

Opening up the suitcase, I was quite impressed by the amount of space inside.

You’ll find two main compartments separated by mesh panels to keep your belongings in place. One of these mesh dividers has a zippered pocket to help keep smaller things organized, which is great for someone like me who likes to know where everything is!

LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On Suitcase Unboxing
My set came with a 4-piece packing cube set and luggage tag.

The dividers are removable, which is a nice touch because it allows people to customize the interior to suit their needs. I once checked in my carry-on with a fat and oddly-shaped piñata in it, so I can see from prior experience how removable dividers could come in handy!

The one thing I did notice was missing (that most other carry-on luggages have) was a compression board to smush everything down.

For those of you new to the science of modern suitcases, a compression board is a flat panel that can be placed on top of your clothes and then strapped down, effectively compressing everything in your suitcase. This panel can be helpful for those who tend to overpack or want to maximize their space.

While the LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On does have removable dividers to help keep things organized, a compression board would have been a nice addition. However, this is a minor issue and doesn’t detract from the overall quality and functionality of the suitcase.

The two built-in TSA locks are up next! I love that this is not only a great security feature, but how they also serve as the latches to keep the suitcase securely closed. The zipperless feature is great, because it means I’ll be able to access my belongings without having to fumble around with two zippers each and every time.

LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On Suitcase TSA Locks

Upon opening up the suitcase, I was surprised to find SO MANY extra goodies inside. Included with the suitcase was a set of four packing cubes and a cute little bisque-colored luggage tag. But wait I want to touch on the packing cubes a bit more!

These were so much better than your average set of cheapie packing cubes found on Amazon. They are high quality, made with a little bit of extra padding on the tops and bottoms of the cubes, and come with a really neat feature — interchangeable labels!

The labels are made with this velcro material (better than velcro actually) and can be swapped out depending on what you use the packing cubes for. This was so cool! It allows you to know what’s in each cube to make up for the fact that they aren’t transparent or made with mesh tops.

Here’s a look at how organized I was able to get with the toiletry bag!

I love that it’s smaller than many of the hanging-style toiletry bags on the web. This was the perfect size to fit practically all of my travel toiletries (with the exception of my electric toothbrush).

Prior to this, I was using an Aesop canvas bag to hold EVERYTHING — made of just one big space, no compartments. It was a big jumbled mess, to say the least. I love this system so much better!

LEVEL8 Packing Cubes

When it came to packing for trips, I found that I could actually fit a lot more in this suitcase than I originally thought. While this suitcase EASILY fits enough for 2-3 days, I found that I could get away with a lot more, especially when I’m traveling in the summer or going to hot weather destinations.

When clothes are less bulky = more space!

During two different summer trips that I packed for, here’s what it fit:

  • Trip of 4-5 days: 4 pants, 4 shirts, 2 pairs of shoes (I wore the bulkiest ones onto the plane), pouch of undergarments and swimming suit, toiletry bag, makeup bag
  • Trip of 3 days: 3 pants/shorts, 4 shirts, 1 extra pair of shoes, pouch of undergarments and swimming suit, toiletry bag, makeup bag, iPad, and all my physical therapy straps/bands

Other things I brought along with me such as a light puffy jacket, my laptop, water bottle, snacks, chargers, external power bank, etc. went into a separate backpack — something I almost always travel with.

While testing the suitcase’s functionality at the airport, I found that this suitcase passed with flying colors!

One of the things that’s most important to me when in transit is the ability to stack my backpack or duffel on top of my carry-on so that my body isn’t weighed down by extra weight (laptops and camera gear are heavy… and I’m getting OLD!).

LEVEL8 Aluminum Suitcase Handle
My backpack fits nicely on the LEVEL8 suitcase handle!

I loved the fact that the telescopic handle was thin enough to easily slip my extra bags on top of it. Some suitcase handles are too wide, and some have handles that are bulkier than they need to be — both of which make it a lot harder to slip my Monos Metro Backpack and Metro Duffel on (these bags have a built-in trolley sleeve to secure to a suitcase handle while traveling).

On top of that, the suitcase’s center of gravity was perfect, meaning the top-heaviness of the backpack did not cause the suitcase to fall flat on the floor at any point! A+.

In terms of its size and its ability to fit in overhead bins on planes — I ran into no issues with it so far! We took it on a few Alaska Airlines flights and it fit within the overhead compartments perfectly fine.

After our trips, I did find one surface-level scratch, which we probably got either from the TSA screening process or from boarding the plane and storing the luggage in the overhead bins.

Because the surface of the suitcase is flat, I think over time, scratches and scuffs will be more visible. If this is something you’re concerned about, be sure to watch your luggage when you can. Suitcases with smooth wheels LOVE to roll away and fall over on uneven ground when you’re not looking!

At this point in my life though, I could care less about suitcase scratches! Because at the end of the day, my belongings INSIDE were so well protected and the suitcase did its job seamlessly.

LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On Review: Overall Thoughts

LEVEL8 Aluminum Carry On Review

All in all, my partner and I love our new LEVEL8 Aluminum Carry-On! It’s beautifully crafted, screams both elegant and James Bond at the same time, and has a really sturdy build quality to it.

This is the first time we’ve owned a suitcase that opens/closes with a heavy-duty pair of clamps as opposed to zippers, and we might be zipperless luggage converts now! It’s SO much easier to open and close compared to dealing with zippers!

We also really love it for its price point. It’s a huge money-saver if you’re in the market for an aluminum case (especially when compared to the prices of RIMOWA or Tumi). And not only is it reasonably priced compared to other metal suitcase brands, but this even comes with a set of packing cubes. Packing cubes that we actually LIKE!

For us, we’re extremely happy to add this to our suitcase collection. It just fits our lifestyle. But if you’re on the fence, there are some things you might want to keep in mind.

If you are someone who is concerned about scratches and scuff, you’re definitely going to want to avoid checking in this suitcase whenever possible. Or possibly even skip this one, and opt for a softshell suitcase instead.

As you probably already know from experience, checked bags are treated horribly. They’re stacked on top one another, tossed from one place to the next, and just plain-ol’ manhandled with no care at all. Keep this in mind if you find yourself in a pickle needing to check in this bag, because you WILL get scuffs (as with most other hardshell carry-on suitcases)!

Having said that, some people actually LIKE the scratches, dents, and scuffs because it give their suitcase character and personality. Scratches and dents show that you actual travel — and are more concerned about getting your belongings around safely as opposed to maintaining the “new” look of their protective shell.

You can find these travelers’ suitcases decorated with stickers and everything. If you fall into this category of traveler, then you can check in your Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On and trust that it’ll survive the flight (and the manhandling) amazingly and in one piece.

Last note addressing the aluminum carry-on’s weight. It’s going to be heavier than your average softshell or polycarbonate shell suitcase.

If you struggle with lifting carry-on suitcases into overhead bins (not strong enough, shoulder or back issues, etc.), then you may want to skip this one and go with a lighter suitcase — that is, unless you always have someone around you to help you with your luggage!

With all that said, I would still give the LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On my seal of approval!

Aluminum suitcases aren’t for everyone, but if it’s for YOU, then the LEVEL8 Gibraltar is truly a great quality option.

LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On Review: Is This A Good RIMOWA Dupe?

RIMOWA Suitcase Dupe - LEVEL8 Aluminum Carry-On
RIMOWA Check-In vs. LEVEL8 Carry-On

For people in search of a budget-friendly aluminum suitcase, the LEVEL8 aluminum carry-on suitcase is the perfect blend of durability, sleekness, and price.

This particular luggage, the aluminum carry-on, is designed well with features similar to RIMOWA’s aluminum carry-on.

Both are high-quality luggage options that are made from durable aluminum materials. They both feature built-in TSA locks, telescoping handles, and multi-directional spinner wheels for easy maneuverability. Additionally, they both offer a sleek and stylish design that is perfect for modern travelers.

Despite the similarities in these aluminum cases, there are some differences to call out.

For starters, RIMOWA’s suitcases come with height-adjustable Flex Dividers, which can be used to compress down your belongings. LEVEL8’s dividers don’t have that height-adjustable/compression feature.

One of the main differences I noted was the fact that the RIMOWA’s cases have raised ridges to help reduce contact points when the case is laid on its front/back, but this one doesn’t have that feature. (There are anti-wear stands on one side of the suitcase though.)

This means that the LEVEL8 aluminum case may be more susceptible to scuffs/scratches with continued use.

Having said that, not everyone cares about maintaining that ‘new’ look, so let’s move on to the next thing — its construction!

I wanted to briefly mention the handles of the suitcases. First off, I actually liked LEVEL8’s rubberized handles better than the handles on RIMOWA. They just feel grippier, but not in a sticky way at all. Also, the side handles on the LEVEL8 have this mechanism that slows down the snapback once you let go of it. It’s great to prevent any pinching of the skin.

The wheels also don’t feel too different when rolling them along smooth ground.

Obviously, the LEVEL8 doesn’t feel AS durable as its much-more-expensive Tumi and RIMOWA counterparts, but for almost 1/4 the price, you can’t expect them to be completely identical in construction quality.

Even with its differences, I can’t deny the fact that the Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On is quite well-made and durable as heck. For the average traveler, it’s more than enough protection for your stuff. Plus, you’ll always have that lifetime warranty to rely on should anything go wrong with your suitcase!

If you were to ask me, this suitcase is a great dupe for someone who’s been longing for a RIMOWA aluminum suitcase but just can’t justify the price of a RIMOWA (they are almost $2k USD each… kind of crazy).

LEVEL8 Aluminum Carry-On Alternatives

LEVEL8 Luminous Textured Carry-On

LEVEL8 Luminous Textured Carry-On

The LEVEL8 Luminous Textured Carry-On is a great alternative to the brand’s aluminum suitcases for those who are looking for a more affordable option within the LEVEL8 product offerings.

This suitcase is made from high-quality polycarbonate material, which makes it lightweight and durable. It’s also designed with a lightly textured surface that gives it a unique and stylish look that makes it almost less prone to scratches.

One of my favorite features of the Luminous Textured Carry-On is the range of colors it comes in. You can opt for cute and trendy colors, including pink and sage, or a more classic vibe with the black, grey, or blue.

This makes it a great option for both those who want to stand out from the crowd and those who want to maintain a professional look.

Overall, the LEVEL8 Luminous Carry-On is a practical alternative to the brand’s aluminum suitcases — perfect for those who are looking for a more affordable option. With a price point of under $175 USD, it’s a great value for those who want a simple yet high-quality suitcase without breaking the bank!

Monos Hybrid Carry-On

Monos Hybrid Carry On

The Monos Hybrid Carry-On is a good alternative to the LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On for those who are looking for the aesthetic of an aluminum suitcase BUT are willing to sacrifice on the full aluminum case experience.

The Monos Hybrid Carry-On features a polycarbonate shell with an aluminum frame, giving it a similar look and feel to an aluminum suitcase while still being lightweight and durable.

It also includes features such as a built-in TSA lock, a compression system, and a removable laundry bag. While it’s not fully an aluminum suitcase, it’s a great option for those who want the look of one without the added weight and expense.

For reference, the LEVEL8 aluminum case is about 10 pounds, whereas the Monos Hybrid Carry-On is 8.81 lb.

Ultimately, Monos is a great option if you’re in need of something larger than a carry-on, as the Monos Hybrid line includes three sizes: carry-on, check-in, and large check-in. Monos Hybrid cases would also be the way to go if you were looking for an aluminum suitcase in different colors such as champagne or black (as LEVEL8 does not offer these colors).

RIMOWA Original or RIMOWA Classic

RIMOWA Original Suitcase

For those who are looking for a more expensive and higher-end alternative to the LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On, the RIMOWA aluminum suitcases are probably the best top-shelf option out there.

RIMOWA offers two lines of aluminum suitcases: the Original line and the Classic line. Both lines are made from high-quality aluminum and feature a range of features such as TSA locks, multi-wheel systems, and telescoping handles.

If you’re searching for an aluminum case and the carry-on size just doesn’t do it for you, you’ll be glad to know that RIMOWA’s aluminum cases come in other sizes besides carry-on (Check-In M, Check-In L, and XL Trunk).

However, it’s hard to ignore the fact that RIMOWA suitcases are significantly more expensive than the LEVEL8 Gibraltar Aluminum Carry-On! But if you’ve got the budget to splurge and are willing to invest in a high-end piece of luggage, RIMOWA is going to be a better fit for you.

Looking for more suitcase / packing tips? You may also like:

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9 Best Compression Packing Cubes For Travel

8 Smarter Tips For Packing Shoes For Travel

7 Best Walking Shoes For Travel (That Are Actually Cute)

8 Best Women’s Travel Vests For Style, Safety And Smarter Travel

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