The fact is -
You'll find MOLLE webbing on every modern tactical military backpack that is worth it’s salt.
Here's how the story goes -
Sometime in the 1990s, the military decided to upgrade their backpacks.
They were tired of the soldiers complaining about back pain from wearing their infamous ALICE packs.
- New deployment packs get introduced in 1997
- They're called MOLLE packs
- Around 2001, these packs are widely adopted by the military
MOLLE pack is now the standard deployment pack of the U.S. military.
Private manufacturers - such as Blackhawk, Maxpedition and 5.11 Tactical - have also adopted the MOLLE system. It’s also a favorite among firefighters and police.
What does MOLLE stand for? And why is it better than ALICE?
What Is MOLLE And How Do You Use It?
I’m glad you asked.
The name MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) comes from the straps/webbing that are covering the rucksack.
Side Note: MOLLE webbing is also known as PALS - Pouch Attachment Ladder System. They're the same thing.
MOLLE webbing is usually located:
- On the sides of the pack
- On the back of the pack
- At the bottom of the pack
So how do you use it?
Making gear attachment simple and fast was one of the main ideas behind creating MOLLE.
So, when you think MOLLE – think "adjustability".
You can attach additional gear to your bag's exterior - wherever you have MOLLE webbing.
Gear like: medical pouches, flashlights, holsters, magazine pouches, knife sheath etc.
Most of that gear can be clipped to multiple connection points on the bag.
That makes MOLLE packs customizable:
- You decide where and how to attach your gear
- The gear is always accessible (wherever you need it to be)
- Every soldier can make his pack his own
But what else is good about MOLLE packs?
What’s good about MOLLE Packs
Really - there's a lot.
Remember - I'm comparing MOLLE against its predecessor ALICE here.
MOLLE attachments are extremely hard to rip off the pack.
I'd say impossible.
The pack is designed to avoid accidental loss of gear.
Whatever you attach to it - it's going to stay there.
Ruggedness and Build Quality
MOLLE packs are damn rugged.
They are made according to military specifications from high tensile strength denier nylon.
This makes them:
- Water resistant
- And - most importantly - Durable
I don’t even need to mention the heavy zippers and reinforced stitching.
Denier nylon is so strong, that back in the day they wanted to use it for bulletproof gear. It’s not as strong as Kevlar, though.
MOLLE packs are built with comfort in mind.
Especially for carrying heavy loads over long distances.
Large and medium MOLLE packs always come with:
- Thick, padded shoulder straps
- Ergonomic, adjustable frame that contours the spine
- Waistbelt (shifts the weight to the hips)
This kind of comfort was not the case with the old ALICE bags.
Interior Of The Bag
Inside a MOLLE bag, there are several locking pouches for keeping small items secure.
A hydration pouch (like camelbak) comes with most MOLLE bags.
What that means is you'll no longer need to carry a canteen to be able to drink.
A rugged, mil-spec rucksack is one of the most versatile pieces of gear that you can have.
Load it up with survival supplies and make it your bug out bag. Keep it on your car as a get home bag.
Or go hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing with it.
You can literally do anything with a MOLLE pack.
ALICE pack vs. MOLLE pack
Finally, MOLLE packs blow ALICE packs out of the water.
Because it’s taller and has a waistbelt, MOLLE has a better weight distribution than ALICE.
(carrying heavy loadouts in ALICE is a torture)
Not to mention that MOLLE packs are more customizable than ALICE.
Finally - MOLLE is also lighter than ALICE.