What is MOLLE?

14er Tactical MOLLE backpack
14er Tactical MOLLE compatible Admin Pouch

WHAT DOES MOLLE STAND FOR? WHO USES MOLLE?

(pronounced /ˈmɒl.li: /, similar in pronunciation to the name Molly)

MOLLE may sound like that cute redhead from detention, but the term is also an acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment. 

Simply put, MOLLE describes gear layered with rows and columns of webbing, allowing the adaption of the gear to specific and variable purposes. The equipment is entirely customizable to suit a particular mission or circumstance. Whether you are a soldier that needs supplies for a 72-hour mission or a casual hiker who wants a knife in close reach in case of emergency, MOLLE is here for you. MOLLE is commonly used by the U.S. military, along with other members of NATO armed forces, law enforcement, firefighters, and increasingly, adventurers. 

MOLLE webbing can be found on a multitude of items like range bags, tactical backpacks, body armour, and vests. There are other items that have made use of it as well, although I can’t fathom why anyone would need a tactical tie.

14er Tactical MOLLE backpack
 14er Tactical MOLLE range bag

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MOLLE AND PALS?


While looking at MOLLE compatible products, the term PALS is likely to surface. PALS stands for Pouch Attachment Ladder System, and it is the foundation from which MOLLE developed. PALS describes the web grid from which smaller equipment can be secured to larger MOLLE forms; smaller pieces might include pouches, holsters, knife sheaths, and more. PALS is the technology that characterizes MOLLE, and as such, it is often used interchangeably with MOLLE.

14er Tactical Backpack with molle accessories in the woods
14er Tactical Backpack with IFAK and molle accessories

HOW DOES MOLLE WORK?


The webbing on the larger equipment is interwoven to that of the attachment and secured into place. The nylon-based, heavy-duty webbing prevents loss because the MOLLE attachments are not easily detached until the user decides to physically change the form of the equipment. MOLLE is defined by its infinite customisation possibilities. 

14er Tactical Backpack with IFAK and molle accessories

WHAT IS ALICE?


MOLLE was first invented in 1997; it succeeded an older and more heavyweight model of ALICE systems. ALICE, or All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment, used fewer rows of webbing, which increased pressure points and limited weight distribution that is a key benefit of MOLLE.

14er Tactical Backpack worn by soldier

HOW DO YOU ATTACH MOLLE ACCESSORIES?


There are a number of MOLLE compatible accessories, including the IFAK and Admin Pouch, that can be attached with MOLLE straps by completing the following steps:

  1. Place the end with the fastener through the first of the MOLLE straps where you want the items attached.
  2. Slide one end of the accessory back through the first insertion loop found on the attachment itself. 
  3. Move the end of the accessory through the next MOLLE strap then back through the loop on the accessory.
  4. Repeat until the end of the MOLLE attachment strap is reached, then close the fastening. If there are multiple straps, alternate their weaving for an even finish. 

Some non-compatible items can be attached as well through clips or rings that can be found, alongside the MOLLE attachment straps, in a MOLLE accessories kit.

WHO CHOOSES MOLLE?


MOLLE revolutionized outdoor and mission gear through its multifunctionality and specificity. MOLLE has been essential for soldiers, public service workers, and adventurers for the last ten years, and continues to leave its mark today.

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