My initial impression of the Arkel Utility Basket is that it is well made and a little smaller than I thought it would be. It is smaller, but still very large at 1650 Cu inches. The seams, zippers, and fabric should last the rest of my life, and maybe my grandchildren’s lives as well. I don’t have grandkids yet.
I found the latching system to be a bit of a pain. This could be because of my rack, or my lack of experience in fastening panniers. There are two hooks at the top of the pannier that hang over the rack tube. These hooks are on a sliding rail so that you can push them farther apart or closer together. A plastic part below each hook that are spring loaded. You pull these plastic pieces aside as you hook the pannier to the rack and then let the pieces snap back. These prevent the pannier from bouncing off of the rack. There is another hook attached to a bungee cord that is used to stabilize the bottom of the rack. The pannier should be very secure during a bumpy ride, but the proof is yet to found. The proof will occur tomorrow.
The bag itself is simply a deep, top-loading single compartment. It has two nice sized meshed pockets on the outside for wet items or an extra bottle. The back and bottom of the pannier has a hard shell and there is an aluminum rod for rigidity. The usual reflective tape surrounds the pannier and it has small straps on each side to allow for blinkies etc. The lid of the pannier has a smiley zippered pocket on the outside with a hard panel beneath it. Under the lid is a sleeve for documents etc.
The bag should easily carry my work cloths, including shoes, lunch and miscellaneous other items I may need. it should handle a weeks worth of groceries when we go to the store. We will see how the bag does over time. Purchase price was $89.00 from www.comcycle-usa.com.