Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage Review

The hard-side Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage rolls smoothly over many surfaces and has easy-to-use organizational features, though some get blocked by clothing.

Our Verdict

7.9 /10
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  • Meets a majority of carry on dimensions at the time of writing
  • Super easy to roll along or pull behind you
  • Lots of organizational features, though not everything is easy to use


  • Snapped-in accessory bag pops off fasteners easily and makes closing the bag more difficult when the carry on is fully packed
  • Shiny exterior shows dirt and scuffs
  • Side zipper pockets are hard to access with the bag fully packed

Technical Details

62 %

Carry-on Compliance

View 90/145 Airlines

  • Capacity


  • Weight (lb)

    7.1 lb (3.2 kg)

  • Dimensions

    21.5 in x 14 in x 9 in (54.6 x 35.6 x 22.9 cm)

  • Notable Materials

    Polycarbonate, ABS Plastic, Polyester, SBS Zippers

  • Manufacturing Country


  • Warranty Information


Full Review

When we’re flying an airline with free carry on bags to a vacation where we’ll be renting a car or Ubering to one location and then staying put, it can be easier to pack everything we need in a sturdy piece of rolling carry on luggage. Sure, travel backpacks are great when you have to walk over cobblestone roads and rough terrain, or if you’re moving from place to place, but if you’re packing more delicate clothing you’d prefer not to get wrinkled and can just toss a suitcase in the closet when you arrive, it can be tempting to take off without something loading down your back. Of course, your mileage may vary as to whether you agree or not, but if you’re here, we think you’re at least mildly interested in what a roller bag has to offer.

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage Standing Airport
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage | Where will you take it?

Calpak’s Ambeur Carry-On Luggage is 21-inch hard-side spinner luggage designed to be ultra-lightweight and durable, although it’s about the middle of the pack when it comes to heft based on other rolling luggage we’ve tested. Still, with the sturdiness of polycarbonate and carbon steel bearing wheels, a little added weight isn’t unexpected. And durability is key when you’re shoving it in the overhead compartment of a plane (hopefully) or getting it gate-checked on an overbooked flight (possibly).

We were lucky enough to find enough room on the plane to stash it above our seats on flights to and from Florida and learned about its pros, cons, and quirks along the way. So, if you’re wondering if the Calpack Ambeur Carry-On Luggage is the right bag for your next trip, keep reading!

External Components

Unlike travel backpacks and daypacks, which might sport pockets, daisy chains, and other design features, there isn’t much going on around the outside of this spinner luggage. The exterior is polycarbonate and ABS plastic, with reinforcements on the top four corners to protect it from damage when the lid of the overhead bin comes crashing down or when the bellhop stacks five other bags on top of it.

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage Brand
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage | There’s minimal branding on the polycarbonate exterior.

There is a simple metal Calpak logo at the top of the bag, and the brand name is also debossed on the two carry handles, as well as the button to release the telescoping handle. The plastic carry handles have rubbery grips underneath to prevent your grip from slipping. They slide along fixed plastic attachments to allow your hand to get underneath and then lay flatter when you’re not using them. While they function as designed, some testers found them too wiggly and worried about their long-term durability. We’re happy to report that they continue to survive intact, and we’ll be sure to update the Usage Timeline if that changes.

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage Side Handle
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage | You can carry it by the side handle like a traditional suitcase.

The other carry handle is on the right side of the suitcase. While the first handle gives you a way to pull the bag out of the overhead bin and carry it up a step or two, this one allows you to carry the bag horizontally or pull it out of a trunk. There are four hard plastic feet on the opposite side (the bag’s left, as you’re looking at the front), so you can set it down on the floor in the back of a rideshare van to and from the airport or in your closet for storage. We have no issue sliding it into trunks of big vans or small cars, and it also fits easily into the overhead bin of a major American airline (Delta). The bag’s dimensions meet a majority of major airlines, unlike many other carry on bags we’ve tested, but be sure to check your airline’s restrictions before showing up at the airport. We have a handy list you can click above!

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage Lock
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage | The zippers click into a TSA-approved combination lock.

Next to the side handle, the Calpak-branded SBS zippers click into place in a TSA-approved combination lock. If you want to use it, you’ll have to run the zipper pulls to this spot each time, but we like knowing that another bag is unlikely to catch on our zippers and accidentally open it if we put them there. Nefarious passersby won’t be able to get in, either. However, TSA officers with a special key can if they see a suspicious package inside (who knew a souvenir glass-jar candle well-wrapped by the store would look so suspicious, whoops!). We don’t mind that employees can open our bags, considering that TSA and other security agencies will get into your suitcase whether they have to bust through it or cut your non-TSA-approved lock to do so anyway. We might as well play by the rules and keep out thieves and nosey passengers.

There’s another zipper track running around the bag, as well. This one opens with a ring-style zipper pull with the word “expansion” on it. That’s a handy way of letting you know how to access 2 inches more space if you buy a few extra sweatshirts or stuffed animals on your trip, and we like that the zipper pull is completely different. We often grab the wrong zipper on bags where the pulls are the same as the main compartment opening, but there’s no mistaking that this one is to help the bag grow, not to let you inside.

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage Telescopic Handle
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage | Extend the top handle to roll the bag along next to you.

The telescoping handle also has a rubbery underside and the Calpak name on the button you use for adjustment. It retracts to be completely flush with the top of the bag when you’re not using it, yet there’s plenty of clearance under the handle to easily pull it back out again when you’re ready to roll.

Since this is spinning luggage, it’s time to talk about wheels. The tl;dr is that they’re great and roll like a dream. If you want a little more detail (of course you do!), there are four sets of two wheels each. They protrude from the bottom of the bag and rotate 360 degrees on carbon steel bearings. The reinforced corners where they connect sit relatively flush to the bag, so we don’t worry about plastic degrading and breaking along a thinner edge, as with some wheels with fender-like protrusions. The bag includes a 2-year warranty, but it doesn’t cover damage caused by wear and tear—or the airline, so we’re happy to see that the weak points on many bags don’t seem flimsy here.

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage Wheel
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage | The wheels rotate 360 degrees and roll extremely smoothly.

The wheels spin so well that the bag can get ahead of you on smooth surfaces, so keep a good grip on the handle. They also roll well over cobblestones, cement, and carpet. Depending on the carpet’s pile, you may want to switch from rolling the bag on four wheels next to you to pulling it on two wheels behind you. It’s a seamless transition if you need to, and, for the most part, we had no issue pushing it on thin carpet through the Orlando airport or across the brick path of the parking garage to pick up our rental van.

Fit Notes

We’re digging the shiny, patterned look of the Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage. It has two sets of three grooves running vertically down the front and back of the suitcase and a textured look to the material we like. We’re testing the Black colorway (if you’ve been reading Pack Hacker for a while, you’re not surprised), but we have to share a secret that every owner of a black car or truck already knows: shiny black shows everything and hides nothing. Our bag came off the flight (where we had control of it at all times, mind you—it was not gate-checked) with an array of mysterious white marks and dust all over it. Most of it has been easy to wipe away with a damp cloth, but there are scuffs from where it rubbed against another bag in the overhead bin that are battle scars for good now.

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage Stain 2
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage | You’ll notice scuffs and marks on the shiny surface.

We’re not sure how the other colorways would fare—you can get Rose Gold, Gold, and Silver as of this review, as well as a limited edition Copper—but the lighter colors may hide dirt more than the black. Or they’ll show different colors of schmutz, who knows.

Still, we think the bag looks classy on the pay-attention-to-me side of minimalism, which is to say that it doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles to call attention to it, but the shiny exterior does a pretty good job of that by itself.

As we mentioned above, it rolls so well that we could actually dance with it on smooth surfaces (hey, you’ve got to kill time waiting for the plane somehow, right?), and it also stands upright with no issue no matter how we pack it. It’s well-balanced, even when we slide a travel daypack over the handle to rest on top through the hotel and airport.

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage Back
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage | You can stop three times on the way to full extension.

Speaking of the handle, it has three stops on the way to full extension, and short, medium, and tall users here at Pack Hacker have no issue finding a comfortable spot. It has a very slight amount of flexibility when fully extended, but nothing like the wobble we’ve felt on some other pieces of rolling luggage, and it’s not noticeable at all if you’re short and keep it at the first stop on the way to the top.

Inside The Carry On Luggage

As with many pieces of hard-sided luggage, there are no external compartments or pockets on the Ambeur Carry-On, so we always pair it with a travel daypack or sling—or both—to carry our phone, wallet, passport, and keys. If your second bag has a luggage pass-through on the back, the carry on is deep enough to rest it on without tipping forward, and some of us enjoy the feeling of cruising to our gate with nothing on our back.

Since nothing is happening outside, let’s dive inside, where you’ll find some interesting organization and tie-down features.

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage Stuffed
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage | Try to avoid opening it at the airport if you can. It takes up a lot of space.

First of all, we have to point out that you have to open the suitcase all the way to get anything out of the bag, and you’ll need a lot of space to do so. That’s why we recommend putting your ID and travel documents, snacks, entertainment, and any toiletries or medicines you’ll need along the way in another bag; you don’t want to have to open this on the airport floor if you don’t need to.

This goes true for your accommodations, as well. The suitcase opens down the center, so we find living out of it on vacation challenging since you need enough space to spread out to access all your gear. So, while you don’t want to pack this bag for a trip where you’ll be couch-surfing, it works very well for staying at a hotel, Airbnb, or with a friend—basically, anywhere you have access to a wardrobe, dresser, and/or closet to store your clothing and accessories during your trip.

When you are ready to open it, rest the side with the handle on the ground, unlock the zippers, and open it. You’ll want to do it this way because there is a zippered panel in place to hold gear against the front half of the bag, while there are only compression straps holding gear on the back side in place. So, if you don’t want your socks and swimsuit falling out, do as we say and not as we do! Yes, mistakes were made. But they were made so you don’t have to!

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage Empty
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage | There’s a lot of organization for your gear.

You’ll notice that there’s a lot of organization inside this bag. Most of it’s on the back half of the suitcase, where the first thing you’ll see are X-shaped elastic compression straps that buckle in the middle to hold your gear in place. There’s some debate here at Pack Hacker HQ as to what’s the best gear to pack here, but some of us are old school, and we’re using it for clothing because we like tucking rolled shirts and socks into the channels between the arms of the telescoping handle. There are two long, thin, zippered pockets here—one on each side—where you can stash small gear. We didn’t find a great use for them because anything you pack on this half blocks them, but you might like tucking your gloves or a smart tracker here since they’ll be out of the way until you need them.

At the top of this side is a nearly square mesh pocket that snaps into place so that it stays at the top of the bag, sitting on top of any gear you put here. We thought maybe this was a good place to stow a 3-1-1 bag full of liquid toiletries to have them handy to pull out at the TSA line, but, in practice, we’re not sure. For one, it makes us nervous to stack sunscreen and face lotion on top of our clothing on the off-chance that the bottle busts open. But say you wouldn’t ruin all of your T-shirts because you have them packed on the other side of the bag in packing cubes. The other reason we don’t think this works well for that purpose is because it’s tough to squeeze your hand inside the bag to pull it out or put it away before or after the TSA line. On the other hand, this isn’t a water-resistant bag, so maybe that wasn’t Calpak’s intention. We’re not sure why it’s there if it isn’t, though. We used it to hold small travel accessories, but then we moved it to another place in the bag to keep it from blocking our shorts, shirts, and hoodies.

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage Zippered Side
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage | Lock gear in place with a zippered panel so it doesn’t fall out as you open and close the bag.

The opposite side is covered with a zippered panel with two large mesh zippered pockets. They’re best for holding flat gear, like a travel journal, extra cash, or a buff. You can pack bigger gear into them, and they’ll hold it just fine, but you may struggle to close the bag, depending on how much you have packed on the other side.

Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage Zippered Side Open
Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage | Put bulky gear or packing cubes on this side.

Underneath this panel is a wide open space with a completely flat bottom. Some of us store travel shoes and accessories on this side, while others prefer using this space for clothing or packing cubes. There are different schools of thought as to what works best where, but as long as you’re sure to place the side with the compression straps on the bottom and only move the front, you won’t have to worry about any gear falling out, whether it’s large or small.

However you pack it, we find the Calpak Ambeur Carry-On Luggage nice to pack for your next vacation. It fits well on a plane and in a car, carrying everything we need and more for a trip. While it’s best to unpack when you reach your destination, it has good organization to make everything easy to find if you have the space to leave it open.

Usage Timeline

Initial Usage

Condition: Excellent

  • Liking the interesting texture of the polycarbonate exterior
  • Wheels seem to roll and spin very well
  • A few loose threads along the seams, but no raveling
2 Weeks of Use

Condition: Excellent

  • Exterior scuffs pretty easily on a trip, but has no other damage from flying
  • Appreciate the organizational features
  • Super easy to roll along a variety of surfaces
By Kristyne Defever
Created April 23, 2024 • Updated April 23, 2024
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