When you think of a singular thing that differentiates your typical everyday casual or hiking pack with a tactical pack, it’s probably MOLLE.
What is MOLLE and PALS?
MOLLE, or Modular Lighweight Load Carrying Equipment, is a system first introduced to the world in 1997 by Natick Labs and has quickly caught on as the modular gear standard for practically every piece of US and NATO military equipment.
MOLLE compatible gear can be easily identified by the PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System) webbing installed on the equipment. PALS webbing is generally made of high strength nylon or it’s laser cut into a piece of material which allows attachments such as additional pouches or equipment to be attached. According to the standard, PALS webbing is always spaced 1-inch apart and is sewn in at 1.5-inch intervals.
This allows packs or other equipment to be extended in order to provide additional storage for mission specific requirements. Some examples of MOLLE equipment includes IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) pouches, admin pouches, or even entire packs such as hydration carriers. A quick look of MOLLE compatible equipment literally demonstrates that the sky is the limit here.
At Gear Primer, we’re pretty big fans of the MOLLE system and have had experience with a variety of different MOLLE attachments. Below you’ll find some of what we think are the best.
The Best MOLLE Admin Pouch
Tactical Tailor Fight Light Enhanced Admin Pouch
Tactical Tailor is well known as the maker of some of the highest quality military equipment on the market and the Tactical Tailor Fight Light Enhanced Admin Pouch is an excellent example of this. Made using high quality 500 denier Cordura nylon, the Fight Light Enhanced Admin Pouch features an integrated map/document pouch along with plenty of built-in organization allowing for organized storage of pens, pencils, multi-tools, compass, and more. This makes the Fight Light Enhanced Admin Pouch a perfect addition to any MOLLE compatible backpack, load carrier, or body armor.
When tested in the field, we found the Tactical Tailor Enhanced Fight Light incredibly useful and durable. In a recent field training exercise, our editors utilized the Tactical Tailor Enhanced Fight Light mounted to the chest using a standard Army issue Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV), providing easy and centralized access to map markers, maps, small snacks, multitools, flashlights and phones without having to reach into various pockets, some of which are difficult to access especially with wet weather gear on.
Maxpedition Cap Compact Admin Pouch
If you’re looking for a simple EDC or admin pouch, the Maxpedition Cap Compact Admin Pouch will fit the bill nicely. Made using highly durable 500D Hex Ripstop and 1000D Weave nylon, the Cap Compact features a dual compartment design along with plenty of internal organization perfect for your everyday carry needs. It’s also incredibly compact making it an excellent addition to a tactical backpack, load carrier or body armor.
Using tested in the field, the Maxpedition Cap Compact Admin Pouch served well as a compact admin pouch with plenty of space for pens, map markers, flashlight, a notepad, and a multi-tool. The included Maxpedition Tactie PJC5 Joining Clips were also incredibly easy to attach and detach making it a significant improvement over the standard MOLLE straps you get on typical MOLLE gear.
The Best MOLLE IFAK Pouch
OneTigris Military Tactical MOLLE Quick Detach EMT/First Aid Pouch
It really doesn’t matter if you’re working in an office or in the battlefield, there’s always a chance of potential injury which is why the OneTigris Quick Detach First Aid Pouch is an absolute must. Constructed of high strength 1000 denier nylon, the OneTigris Quick Detach First Aid Pouch is relatively small and compact, featuring a size of just 7.1″ x 5.5″ x 2.4″ making it perfect for carrying any equipment needed to treat injuries on the go.
Unlike other IFAK attachments, the OneTigris MOLLE Quick Detach First Aid Pouch features quick detach functionality, which makes it easy to quickly detach the pouch from a backpack or other piece of equipment so that the pouch can be quickly removed and relocated to the injured person without having to relocate the entire pack.
We found the OneTigris Quick Detach IFAK perfect for our use on the Army issue rucksack or IOTV. The IFAK fits perfectly below the sustainment pouches and its compact size makes it a great fit on the IOTV or any load carriers.
OneTigris FOXTROT ALPHA First Aid Medical Bag
For those who don’t want to have to decide between two pieces of lifesaving gear because of an IFAK pouch that’s simply too small, the OneTigris FOXTROT ALPHA First Aid Medical Bag is the one to look at.
Constructed of 500D Cordura Nylon, the OneTigris FOXTROT ALPHA First Aid Medical Bag is a medium sized bag at 8-inches tall and 5-inches wide. The MOLLE attachment features two MOLLE straps which keeps the attachment secure and has a grab handle to use when it’s detached. The larger size of the attachment provides plenty of space and organizational pockets to fit even the most extensive first aid kit needs.
While the OneTigris FOXTROT ALPHA First Aid Medical Bag does not have quick detach capability, the pouch does feature a fold out system that features three rows of webbings to keep all your medical supplies in place to ensure everything can be accessed quickly in the event that it’s needed.
The Best MOLLE Water Bottle Pouch
Camelbak Max Gear Bottle Pouch
Camelbak is well known as the leader in hydration products so much so that most people refer to hydration bladders as Camelbaks, even if the product itself isn’t made by Camelbak. As such, you’d expect Camelbak to make an amazing water bottle pouch and in that regard, Camelbak delivers.
Constructed of high strength 500D Cordura nylon, the Camelbak Max Gear Bottle Pouch features a completely enclosed design to provide full protection for your water source and is insulated to ensure the contents of the bottle pouch stay cold or as hot as long as possible. As far as sizing, the Camelbak Max Gear Bottle pouch is designed specifically to fit up to Camelbak’s one liter water bottles, but can easily fit similarly sized Nalgene or Hydro Flask bottles.
OneTigris Drawstring Water Bottle Pouch
If you’re looking for something a little simpler in design than the Camelbak Max Gear Bottle Pouch, the OneTigris Drawsting Water Bottle Pouch is an excellent alternative.
Constructed of strong 1000D nylon, the OneTigris Drawstring Water Bottle Pouch features two MOLLE attachment straps and is capable of fitting most 1-liter water bottles up to 9.4-inches in height and 3.7-inches in diameter including popular bottles such as the 32oz Nalgene water bottle. As its name implies, the OneTigris Drawstring Water Bottle Pouch features a drawstring at the top of the bottle pouch which allows easy access of water bottles yet provides a quick and secure method of securing them as well. The bottom of the pouch is also made of a mesh material so that any water collected inside the pouch will leave the pouch just as quickly.
The Best MOLLE Quick Attach/Detach System
Vanquest MOLLE Sticks
While MOLLE makes it possible to securely attach additional gear to extend the functionality of a backpack or other piece of equipment, if you’re constantly removing and re-attaching stuff like admin pouches or other types of gear, you’ll probably find that weaving the floppy piece of nylon through the PALS webbing is an annoying and time consuming chore. To speed up this process, Vanquest MOLLE Sticks are the perfect solution as the sticks simply unlock, weave through the PALS webbing, and locks into place making attaching and detaching MOLLE pouches or other equipment a breeze.