28″ LEVEL8 Luminous Trunk Review: This May Just Be the Perfect Checked Luggage

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The Lowdown

The 28″ Level8 Luminous Trunk is generously sized, well organized, easy to maneuver, and I love the 60/40 compartments that make it perfect for propping against a wall and using as a dresser when on longer trips.

Overall
5

Pros

  • Generously sized 99-liter checked luggage that can fit everything needed for longer journeys with room to spare
  • Covestro Makrolon polycarbonate material provides a tough yet lightweight hard shell that is resistant to scratches
  • TSA-approved combination lock
  • YKK zippers
  • 360º spinner wheels
  • Fully lined interior with straps, dividers, and two zippered pockets for small items
  • Available with or without a handle in the center of its front surface
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

28" LEVEL8 Luminous Trunk Review: This May Just Be the Perfect Checked Luggage Listen to this article

Heading to the airport after the Snapdragon Summit in December, a friend noticed that my 6-years-old (and very well-traveled) Rimowa trunk had a massive new crack just below the handle on its front side. Thankfully, the luggage and its contents made it home without self-destructing, but it will need to be sent in for repairs (assuming they are even possible). With many upcoming trips planned, I was thankful for the opportunity to review the  28″ LEVEL8 Luminous Trunk. How does it stack up against the more than twice as expensive Rimowa trunk? Read on to find out.

Level8 28" Luminous Trunk front with trolley handle extended

Unlike the 20″ LEVEL8 Gibraltar Full Aluminum Carry-On that I recently reviewed, the 28″ LEVEL8 Luminous Trunk is made of Covestro (formerly Bayer MaterialSciences) Makrolon polycarbonate material which provides a tough yet lightweight hard shell that is resistant to scratches.

This 99-liter trunk features a TSA-approved combination lock, YKK zippers, 360º spinner wheels, and a fully lined interior with straps, dividers, and two zippered pockets for small items. The 28″ trunk is available with or without a handle in the center of its front surface, and there is also a slightly smaller 26″ trunk available without a center front handle.

Suspecting that baggage handlers grabbing that particular handle over the years had put unnecessary stress on my Rimowa trunk’s front surface, I opted to get a trunk without a handle in that spot; I’d soon find out that I wouldn’t even miss it.

I appreciate that the trunk shipped with a reusable storage bag inside an easily recyclable large cardboard box.

The 28″ LEVEL8 Luminous Trunk measures 29.3″ tall by 16.7″ wide by 13.4″ deep, and it weighs 11.5 pounds when empty, which is a few ounces less than my Rimowa weighed.

Rather than having a smooth surface that will show every scratch and mar picked up along the way, the LEVEL8 trunk’s hard exterior has a lightly textured shell that almost feels like fabric when touched. It’s hard to explain, but the result is a very sharp-looking finish that has managed not to show any wear after multiple flights since late December.

There is a discreet LEVEL8 logo in the upper center front of the trunk and on the exterior of each of the 360º wheels.

Front of Level8 28" Luminous Trunk

You can opt to get a handle in the center of this front panel, as I mentioned. Having a grip there is convenient as it offers one more place to grab the trunk when it’s getting lifted or moved around. But after my Rimowa experience, I worry that it’s the wrong place for an unreinforced, load-bearing handle on what can be a quite heavy trunk when it’s fully packed.

The top handle on the trunk is an approximately 1″ wide thick rubbery affair that slides in and out along tracks built into the luggage; I like this design because it means there’s no handle flopping around when it isn’t needed.

Top of the Level8 28" Luminous Trunk

The 28″ LEVEL8 Luminous Trunk has another heavy rubber handle as well as a TSA lock on its left side.

Right side of the Level8 28" Luminous Trunk

The trolley handle is recessed into the trunk’s back panel; the grip is hard plastic affixed to aluminum rails. Unlike the Rimowa, there are no rubber feet on the back of the trunk. Since this is the side that the trunk is usually laid on when opened at the travel destination, I was worried that the lack of feet might mean more wear, but it hasn’t mattered so far.

Back of the Level8 28" Luminous Trunk

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

There is another heavy rubber handle and four rubber feet on the right/hinge side of the trunk, which is similar to how Rimowa placed feet on their trunk’s hinge side.

Left side of the Level8 28" Luminous Trunk

The trolley handle extends approximately 12″ from the top of the trunk when fully extended; there are four stops in total at ~5″, 6″, 9″, and 12″, so it should be easy enough for people of various heights to find a setting that works well for them. I tend to extend the trolly handle fully when wheeling the trunk to and from the airport because the extended handle can conveniently hold my generally overpacked WaterField Pro Executive Backpack.

Level8 28" Luminous Trunk front with handle extended

The four 360º spinner wheels are set into 0.75″ wheel wells; these wheels are easy to navigate over just about any surface. These seem very similar to the wheels on the Rimowa, and they never gave me any issues.

Botoom of Level8 28" Luminous Trunk

The TSA lock catches the ends of the two YKK zippers on the trunk’s exterior, similar to how the Rimowa trunk was secured. The lock is easily set by following the instructions in the included pamphlet.

Setting the TSA lock on the Level8 28" Luminous Trunk

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Opening the two zippers reveals the 28″ LEVEL8 Luminous Trunk’s interior, divided into what I call 60/40 compartments; I can easily pack enough clothing for up to two weeks in the bottom half, with shoes and other items in the slightly smaller top half.

The Rimowa had a similar set-up with a zippered compartment (without straps) on the “40” size, but instead of a zipper on the “60” side, it used a compression board with heavy wire sides and velcro.

I like the LEVEL8 set-up better because when I did manage to overstuff the Rimowa trunk, the compression board would warp a bit and become unruly. That won’t happen with this style compartment closure.

Open interior of the Level8 28" Luminous Trunk

What I really appreciate about trunk-style luggage versus traditional clamshell luggage with two equal sides is how well a trunk can perform as a dresser. I’m currently on a week-long trip, and you can see it in action here.

28" LEVEL8 Luminous Trunk bring used as a dresser on a trip.

The Level8 trunk’s interior has two zippered divided sections with tie-down straps; with them, I can compress the items on each side and keep everything from shifting. Here’s the slightly shallow left side that ends up being the part that stands up against the wall when I get to my destination.

There are two zippered mesh pockets in this fabric divider which are very handy for small loose items. The straps keep everything compressed, and the large zippered mesh dividers keep everything in the correct sections.

The divider on the larger side is mesh. Even though the trolley handle’s rails run down the back of the right side, there is plenty of room to efficiently pack for extended trips and still have room for souvenirs or the occasional bottles of wine.

I have zero complaints after using this 28″ Level8 Luminous Trunk on multiple trips. This trunk is generously sized, well organized, easy to maneuver, and I love the 60/40 compartments that make it perfect for propping against a wall and using as a dresser when on longer trips. It boggles my mind that this LEVEL8 trunk sells for less than half of what I paid for the Rimowa Salsa Sport 75 trunk that I bought in early 2016; the LEVEL8 appears to be just as efficient and well made, if not better!

The 28″ Level8 Luminous Trunk retails for $259.99; it is available directly from the manufacturer. LEVEL8 offers a lifetime warranty that covers manufacturing defects in workmanship and materials.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Generously sized 99-liter checked luggage that can fit everything needed for longer journeys with room to spare; Covestro Makrolon polycarbonate material provides a tough yet lightweight hard shell that is resistant to scratches; TSA-approved combination lock; YKK zippers; 360º spinner wheels; Fully lined interior with straps, dividers, and two zippered pockets for small items; Available with or without a handle in the center of its front surface; Reasonably priced

What Needs Improvement: Nothing

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Editor in Chief of Gear Diary, Secular Humanist, techie, foodie, hoarder of Kindle eBooks, lover of live music, and collector of passport stamps.