Have you heard about MOLLE, but you’re not sure what it is exactly? You know it’s tactical, and that’s about it. MOLLE makes even the plainest rucksack or backpack more functional and helps you easily access the gear you need quickly.
Here’s everything you need to know about MOLLE accessories and components and how they enhance the functionality of vests and bags.
What Is Molle?
MOLLE stands for modular lightweight load-carrying equipment, and it allows you to attach multiple tools and equipment to bags and backpacks. You can create rows of durable nylon called PALS, which stands for pouch attachment ladder system. It’s not a specific type of apparel or gear. It simply refers to load-bearing modular systems that let you attach a variety of tools, gear and more.
When someone mentions a MOLLE grid, they’re talking about PALS. This is the nylon webbing that is the most important feature of anything MOLLE-ready, like a tough MOLLE backpack.
This webbing allows you to create multiple attachment points that are marked by loops stitched in so you can add MOLLE pouches, accessories and other gear.
MOLLE is tough and provides flexibility so that you can create the containment system most convenient for you. It also helps you attach additional gear that goes beyond your normal tools, such as canteens, first aid kits, D-rings for other gear, holsters and more.
While packs and bags are handy for carrying gear, MOLLE helps you expand how much you can carry, which means you can have more helpful tools close. MOLLE is one of the most popular modular systems because of its versatility and the wide variety of MOLLE pouches and accessories.
Brief History of MOLLE
Equipment issued in the military is standardized for convenience and to make it easy to equip large groups of military personnel with interchangeable gear. You can trace standardization back thousands of years. But in the 1900s, the U.S. military started using the term “en masse” to refer to all generalized equipment, ranging from heavy machinery to uniforms.
This increased the need for a carrying system that gave soldiers the versatility to interchange pouches and other pieces when setting up their gear. Eventually, the MOLLE system was invented, but it replaced an earlier system named ALICE — All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment. And ALICE replaced other systems before it.
Other Uses for MOLLE
MOLLE also has many uses outside of tactical military or law enforcement operations. It’s very beneficial for your everyday carry bag. Using MOLLE essentially increases the internal capacity of your bag or pack and allows you to customize your setup for more convenience.
It’s also appropriate for hunters. You can carry additional ammo in MOLLE pouches as well as the tools you need to field dress animals, like a knife.
MOLLE is also great for outdoor lovers. Hikers can set up storage systems in their backpacks. There are no limits on how you use this gear if you’re creative. Also, there are MOLLE pouches created just for carrying your water bottle, allowing you to put it on the outside of your bag. These pouches free up valuable storage space for other necessary gear and supplies.
Tips for Using MOLLE Gear
MOLLE attachment systems are typically comprised of MOLLE-specific or SlickStick straps that you weave between the equipment or bag that you’re adding to and the attachment. These sticks snap shut to hold the things you attach in place. It takes time to create the system because it’s attached to your bag or vest securely. Here are some tips to help you be as efficient as possible:
- For MOLLE attachments that have multiple straps or sticks, it’s easier if you weave both of them through the webbing at the same time. These straps and sticks are rigid, so weaving is easier if you alternate between the straps and sticks.
- It’s even possible to use ALICE clips with your MOLLE gear, though they aren’t as durable or versatile as the more advanced MOLLE equipment. It’s better to use the MOLLE if you have a choice.
- Make sure you don’t skip over any nylon webbing as you weave your straps and sticks through it. If you miss some webbing, it can weaken the system. Careful weaving ensures your gear is stable and secure.
MOLLE is easy once you understand how it works. Configuring it does take some time, but it gets easier the more familiar you get with it. Here’s a great video on how to use MOLLE.
Now that you know what MOLLE is and how it increases the functionality of bags, packs and vests, go out and get your MOLLE-ready backpack today. You’ll love the convenience of these modular systems and won’t ever go back to standard packing.