MOLLE: What It IS, How It Works, Why You Need It
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MOLLE: What It IS, How It Works, Why You Need It

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: November 18, 2021

Backpack With MOLLE systemCurious about MOLLE? You’ve come to the right place.

After reading today’s article, you’ll know everything there is to know about MOLLE, specifically:

**Note: If you want to see our favorite MOLLE packs, feel free to SKIP AHEAD HERE.


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What Does MOLLE Stand For?

If you’re new to survival or tactical gear, let’s get you up to speed fast. MOLLE is an acronym that stands for:

  • MO-dular
  • L-ight-weight
  • L-oad-carrying
  • E-quipment

Ok, great, but what does that mean?


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Gear Clipped To Backpack With MOLLE

What Is A MOLLE System & How It Works

Think about ALL the gear you need in a bug-out crisis. OR how about ALL the equipment you use in outdoor adventures such as:

  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Camping

Well, all that gear adds up fast, and often, you’ll run out of room in your pack. And that’s where a MOLLE system can help you expand what you can take.

MOLLE allows you to add critical supplies and gear to the OUTSIDE of your backpack, rucksack, vest, or belt. Whether it’s an EDC bag, bug out bag, get home bag, go bag, survival pack, etc.

MOLLE makes all the difference between:

  1. Taking ALL the critical gear you need or
  2. Leaving something important behind

It gives you the ability to attach survival and combat accessories to your bag, vest, jacket, or belt. It allows you to pack more and keep your hands free to operate weaponry properly.

During the Civil War, soldiers used straps to carry their load while in combat situations. But it wasn’t very effective. Why? Because it wasn’t sturdy.

Equipment would swing around and get damaged as well as make noise that would give up their position.

In the 1970s, along came ALICE, The All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment. This system was set up to help stow gear more effectively. It also helped to better distribute weight across the shoulders and body.

It was used until the ’90s, after which MOLLE took over.

How MOLLE Works

MOLLE gear includes nylon webbing known as PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System). PALS is sturdy, woven straps that give you attachment points for any gear to use with the MOLLE webbing.

These loops are 1 1/2″ and laid out 1″ apart so you can customize your carry setup. And balance out whatever gear you attach.

When setting up your MOLLE backpack, make sure to plan it out. You want even distribution of weight and easy access to important items.

You don’t want your knife on your back (out of reach) if you need it quick. Layout your tactical gear and find a suitable place for everything.

How To Attach MOLLE Accessories

While a MOLLE system is easy to use, it’s not like decorating your Christmas tree.

You can’t just hang gear off it and head out into the bush. Instead, you need to attach your items securely so they stay where you put them.

You also don’t want things too loose, so they dangle or swing around. Anything that moves around can make contact with something else and make noise. Because that can blow your cover when hunting (or being hunted).

Anyone can put an attachment strap through the webbing and carry stuff.

But to effectively stow your survival and combat gear, you need to use a more robust technique. Doing an interlocking weave is best for a secure load.

Feed the straps through the row of webbing where you want that piece of gear attached. Then weave the straps back through the webbing on the accessory.

Pull it through tight, close the snaps, and you have a secure bond utilizing all the webbing. Always test it to make sure it’s secure and retighten as needed.


As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We're Giving Away Our #78 Item Complete Prepper Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Medical Pouch Attached Via MOLLE

4 Reasons Why You Should Invest In MOLLE

1. Ability To Expand Your Bug Out Bag (Or Survival Pack)

I believe EVERY responsible adult should take time to prepare for a future crisis. And that includes a possible bug out situation.

Even if you don’t think you’d ever need to bug out, check out this article. It provides 7 reasons why you may be forced to bug out (even if it’s only for a short duration).

The bottom line is, if you need to stay off the beaten path for a while, you gotta hump as much gear as you can. And MOLLE is the best way to meet that need.

2. Hands-Free Combat

Essential items include an IFAK pouch, hand weapons, tools, and other tactical equipment. How will you carry all this and still have your hands free to operate a firearm or combat tactical knife?

Well, you have a plate carrier vest or a battle belt system with MOLLE, it’s easy. It allows you to keep your hands free during all life-threatening combat situations.

3. FAST Access to Critical Gear (i.e., Medical Gear)

One of my favorite supplies to add via MOLLE is a Medical Pouch. Why? Because with medical emergencies, every second counts.

So having a medical pouch on the outside of a pack means you don’t need to rifle through a bag to find it.

Instead, you can rip that medical pouch off and open it up FAST.

4. Easy Access to High Use Items

There are certain items you rarely use, and then there are those you use ALL THE TIME.

Gear such as a:

Obviously, it’s cumbersome to remove your pack and unzip it to get at such high-frequency gear.

Instead, by using MOLLE, you can attach these high-use items for quick, easy access.


Exclusive Bonus Content -
Skilled Survival's 104 Item Bug Out Bag Checklist - the only bug out checklist worth using. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

List Of Gear That Works With MOLLE

When buying backpacks, plate carriers, belts, vests, and pouches, be sure they use MOLLE.

Keeping everything within the same system allows everything to work together better. And saves you the frustration of attaching different types of tactical gear together.

Here is a list of the essential gear you can secure using MOLLE:

  • EDC – This is your Everyday Carry and includes a basic first aid kit, knife, and flashlight.
  • IFAK Bag – Having an extensive medical and trauma kit may be the most critical gear in your pack.
  • Magazine Pouch – One thing is for sure. If you need extra rounds of ammunition, they better be handy to access.
  • Canteen Carrier – Water is essential for any outdoor adventure. You must stay hydrated, so include a water carrier on your MOLLE. That way, you can get to quickly.
  • General Purpose Pouches – You’ll always need extra space to carry “must-have” items. You can get gear pouches of different sizes to stow any small items you want to take with you.
  • Holster Pouch – This allows you to carry more complementary weapons to your regular holster. You can have a knife or gun holster or grenade pouch.
  • D-Rings – D Rings allow quick attachment points for various items.
  • Flashlight – There is always a need for a flashlight, and you don’t want to have to root around your bag for it when you need it.
  • Radio Pouch – Communication is vital in a survival situation. And having a radio or smartphone in a handy, easily accessible location on your MOLLE system is crucial.

Once you’ve attached all this gear, try on your vest or backpack. Double-check the weight distribution is correct. If not, adjust it to your comfort level.

It’s always better to set it up RIGHT before you head out.


As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We're Giving Away Our Ultimate Survival Gear Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Situations & Activities Where MOLLE Shines

Here are a few scenarios where a MOLLE system is highly advantageous:

  • Hunting – When tracking your prey, you need a hands-free way of bringing along your gear. You also can’t have items rattling around.
  • Fishing – There are so many things to take while fishing. Having the ability to store all you need on your person is handy.
  • Camping – Camping is all about outdoor adventure. And anytime you’re outdoors, you should keep life-saving gear nearby. Items such as a survival first aid kit and a flashlight, knife, and even water and snacks if you get lost.
  • Survival Training – A MOLLE vest or backpack is an essential piece of your survival equipment.
  • Bushcraft – Bushcraft is all about acquiring and practicing your outdoor skills. And to do that, you need to take all your bushcraft gear with you.
  • Crisis Situations – A fast getaway and quick access to critical gear and supplies will help to survive any real crisis.
  • Airsoft/Paintball – Playing war games requires the right gear and plenty of it. Using a MOLLE system gives you room to bring along what you need for success.


As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We're Giving Away Our #78 Item Complete Prepper Checklist. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Best MOLLE Packs On The Market Today

Now you know what MOLLE is and why you need it, it’s time to gear up and equip yourself.

Here at Skilled Survival, we’ve done all the research, so you don’t have to. Check out these best MOLLE systems on the market.

EVATAC – Combat Bag

The first MOLLE backpack on this list is the one I personally use as both my EDC bag (everyday carry) AND my Bug Out Bag.

It’s got MOLLE all over this thing – from the sides to the back to the cover flap. This is good because you never want to run out of MOLLE when your build your bug out bag.

So, it’s a pack that’s rooted in MOLLE.

In addition to MOLLE, this is an all-around high-quality pack. It’s got:

  • High-quality non-snag zippers
  • Double stitching at all high-stress points
  • Abrasive resistant fabric
  • 10 individual compartments for smart organization
  • And it’s not TOO BIG or TOO SMALL

And that’s important. If your bug out bag is too big, you’ll add way too much gear to it, and it’ll become a back crippling 70 lb. pack.

Yet, it’s also not too small, so you can carry all your most necessary items. And with the MOLLE system, you can expand the amount of gear you choose to take over time.

If you’re looking for a quality all-around pack, you won’t regret picking up the EVATAC combat bag.

row of images combat bag

I believe it’s the best MOLLE-based pack on the market, especially at this reasonable price point.

G4Free – 40L Military Tactical Backpack

G4Free makes a tremendous outdoor tactical bug out bag. It’s ideal for fishing, hiking, and camping. And gives you lots of space for various pouches as well as its multi-compartment setup.

This backpack is comfortable to wear with its cushioned shoulder straps. And is made of high-density fabric with a polyester lining.

Inside, you find many compartments. The compartments include a padded laptop area along with 4 other compartments.

On the outside is where your MOLLE webbing system lives. It is on all sides of the backpack with additional D-rings and straps for all the gear you need.

You can strap on your tent and sleeping bag as well as a fishing pole.

2-way zipper closures make sure all your gear is locked and loaded securely. And the whole pack is water-resistant and very durable.

This is a decent backpack for all your outdoor adventures.

EMDMAK – Military Tactical Backpack

If you are looking for a 3-day assault pack, EMDMAK has what you are looking for. Their MOLLE rucksack comes with plenty of compartments, both large and small. And it can hold most laptops of reasonable size.

Inside the compartments are mesh pockets and straps. These keep everything secure, so they won’t shift when traversing your environment. The top of the pack also has a Y-strap to hold your bedding, keeping it high and dry.

This versatile backpack functions as a 3-day carry as well as a bug out bag. It is also suitable for hunting, camping, or as a travel bag.

All the shoulder and chest straps are adjustable and padded for comfort. And they’re made of high density, double-stitched Oxford and nylon fabric. That way, you know it’s both durable and water-resistant.

The MOLLE system is integrated very well into this rucksack. It has 3 rows on the back so you can attach all your tactical gear as well as additional MOLLE pouches and bags.

This purchase even comes with add-on gifts. You get a MOLLE water bottle pouch, 2 US flag patches, 4 D-rings, and a paracord lanyard keychain.

That’s a terrific addition that makes the EMDMAK military backpack a great choice.

LA Police Gear – Atlas 72H MOLLE Tactical Backpack

This pack from LA Police Gear is perfect for your next wilderness adventure or bug-out bag.

The Atlas 72H is a mega tough bag made from 900D polyester and has a PVC coating. It measures out at 24″ H x 19″ W x 10″ D, so you know there is lots of room for all your gear here.

On all available areas of the backpack, there is laser-cut MOLLE webbing. This gives you a more subtle look while being very functional and modular.

It also has quick access pockets and lots of storage in the bottom compartment. This helps to store oversized items such as jackets and helmets.

It comes with shoulder ports for hydration setup. And it even has a flees-lined compartment for safely stowing glasses or delicate gear.

It’s designed for add-ons with other LA Police Gear, including straps to attach their chest pack and additional accessory pouches inside and out.

This bag will allow you to go for long hikes, camping, and work on your bushcraft skills.

Check out their full line and attachable MOLLE gear.

MT Military – MOLLE 2 Large Rucksack with Frame

If you understand the difference between a backpack and a rucksack, you’ll appreciate this pack.

Their tactical army rucksack is an entire system within itself. It has individual components that include your main military bag made of canvas, 2 sustainable smaller bags, and a tactical waist bag.

The whole kit gives you over 4000 cubic inches of storable space.

This kit comes with a robust polymer gen-iv frame, a molded hip belt, and reinforced shoulder straps.

This makes this rucksack easy to get on and off and gives you a comfortable carry for long durations.

This is a superior MOLLE army tactical backpack. And it allows you to get the modular PALS system with lots of webbing for attaching your MOLLE equipment.

YKK zippers and UTX buckles rounds out this rugged tactical pack. So you’ll have everything you need in a crisis or an off-grid camping trip.

Hannibal Tactical – MOLLE Assault Pack

Here’s another large-capacity rucksack.

Hannibal Tactical’s MOLLE assault pack gives you a 36L of pack volume. It’s also made from water-resistant 600×600 density fabric, so it’s durable.

First off, you get 2 main compartments for more extensive storage and 2 smaller ones in the front for hand weapons and gear.

Within each compartment, there are pockets for separating your items. This helps give you easy, direct access to all the supplies you need. All the pockets have dual zipper pulls with one compartment able to fully open like a suitcase.

This bag is both rugged and tough. It uses heavy-duty Oxford fabric. This material lasts, and with the padded shoulder straps and padded back area, it gives you comfort.

You get a Y-strap on the top and straps on the bottom for jackets, sleeping bags, and your tent as well.

There is ample MOLLE webbing for adding extra pouches and tactical bags. That way, you can remain hands-free at all times.

It’s a great 3-day pack and beyond. And includes 2 D-rings, a US flag patch, and MOLLE webbing dominators.

Hannibal Tactical gives you 2 years of warranty for this kit. And they’re recognized as a world leader in their gear, both in development and design.

5.11 Tactical – RUSH24 Military Backpack

5.11 Tactical has an excellent line of tactical backpacks, but this is their most popular. If you want high performance, look no further.

This rugged backpack is ideal for active duty as well as hunting, camping, and recreation. When you need a go-to bug-out bag, this must be high on your list!

You get a wrap-around MOLLE system with their SlickStick compatible web platform. That way, anything and everything you want to attach has a place on this backpack.

Inside it has 37L of capacity with lots of ample storage. And has 2 zippered side pockets and stuff-it pockets with drawcords and pull tabs.

You also get a hydration pocket, fleece-lined glasses pouch, and self-repairing YKK zippers.

It also has a water-repellent coating. So the elements aren’t gonna affect your carry. And with the padded, adjustable shoulder and sternum straps, you have comfort for the long haul.

Use this military backpack for your hunting, hiking, survival, and bug out bag. It’s the everyday carry that you won’t want to put down.

Final Thoughts

When you are in the bush or on active duty, having to transport all your tactical gear is a must. You need comfort and design, and these MOLLE backpacks are ideal for the task ahead.

It’s vital to have a MOLLE system to equip yourself and remain agile and quick in an emergency.

Take it from us at Skilled Survival…

The proper knowledge and the right gear will make the difference in your quest for survival.

“Just In Case” Jack

 

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