Finding a good looking and great performing suitcase can be hard. When we set out to test the best hard-shell carry-ons, we knew we’d find sturdy options that kept our valuables protected, but the Calpak Ambeur Carry-On let us safely lug our items in style, making it our pick for the most Instagrammable hard-shell carry-on.
What we loved
The Calpak Ambeur is a seriously gorgeous bag that clearly had a lot of thought put into its design details. Its sleek, monochromatic exterior is endlessly Instagrammable, and even the wheels and telescopic handle match the rest of the case. The Calpak Ambeur also had some of our favorite top and side handles of the bunch, with a squishy cushioned grip that made for an ultra comfortable carry. To top things off, the bag is also exceedingly light at just 6 pounds.
Overpackers will be happy to know that the case expands up to 2 inches, bumping its potential capacity to a whopping 46 liters.
What we didn’t like
The downside of expandability, of course, is that you might inadvertently surpass size and weight restrictions on some airlines. The expandable part of the bag is also made of fabric, which is inherently less durable than the hard shell itself.
Calpak’s shell isn’t entirely polycarbonate, and it was more prone to dents and scuffs than other models we tested. Some reviewers also report issues after a few months with cracking, dents and broken wheels, though we didn’t experience any of this ourselves during our testing. The interior is also a somewhat crinkly polyester (though the rich blue color is lovely), and the internal zipper was prone to snagging. The warranty is also just two years.
How it compares to other hard shell carry-ons we recommend
Best overall hard-shell carry on luggage
A luxurious hard-shell runner-up choice
The most Instagrammable hard-shell carry-on luggage
Best affordable hard-shell carry-on luggage
|What we loved||Made with a strong but lightweight 100% polycarbonate outer shell, smooth YKK zippers, an aluminum telescopic handle and the Rolls-Royce of luggage wheels: four double Hinomoto spinners, which in our testing glided seamlessly on pavement, hardwood and grass alike.||Classic and glamorous design with a luxurious-feeling. Comfortable handles, easy break system and scuff-proof.||Gorgeous bag with a sleek, monochromatic exterior, a squishy cushioned grip that made for an ultra comfortable carry and exceedingly lightweight.||Affordable and sturdy with a fully polycarbonate shell and lots of internal space.|
|What we didn't like||Heavier than other bags we tested.||Heaviest of our top picks and slightly bulkier than the Away bag. The excess weight could cause trouble when trying to carry this bag onto certain international flights.||Can surpass size and weight restrictions on some airlines when using the expandable part of the bag. The expandable part of the bag is also made of fabric, which is inherently less durable than the hard shell itself.||Omni lacks a horizontal side handle, which really comes in handy when lugging a case up and down stairs and when removing it from an overhead bin.The wheels are also single, rather than double, spinners, which are slightly less sturdy and more prone to getting caught in cracks in the sidewalk.|
|Key Specs||8.1 lbs, 39.8-liter capacity, two device charging ports, lifetime warranty||9.3 lbs, 44.9-liter capacity, 10-year warranty||6 lbs, 46-liter capacity that expands up to 2 inches, 2-year warranty||6.8 pounds, 41-liter capacity, 10-year warranty|
|Price||Starting at $275||Starting at $319.99||$195||Starting at $116.10|
The bottom line
Overall, though, this is an exceedingly stylish bag that will fit a ton. If you’re shopping for a case under the $200 mark and don’t plan on regularly kicking it down a flight of stairs, the Calpak Ambeur is a solid choice.