Best Molle Backpack Reviews (Durable & Tough for 2018!)

These days most backpacks break within a year. Either the bottom splits or the zip breaks off and gets stuck. You’re left with a useless bit of canvas and have to buy yourself a new bag, but which one to pick?

Well as with a lot of products the military has led the way in the best, durable, long-lasting and damn good quality packs out there. On top of that, they’ve made a simple but effective webbing system that lets you add on extra modules to the bag.

The best MOLLE backpacks tend to be more comfortable to wear than other bags, they’re built to last and have loads of handy separate pockets and hideaways to keep your gear organized.

Molle Backpack Reviews & Comparison

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What is molle backpack?

Related Article: Best Molle Attachments (Complete Guide!)

These types of backpacks are used throughout the military, police and fire departments across the entirety of America and Britain. The system has also become popular among many high-end military-grade backpack manufacturers due to the unique capabilities it enables.

MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment. Sounds complicated, but it simply means that the bag is covered in webbing, allowing extra modules to be attached on many easily accessible points.

Backpack System

These are backpacks designed specifically for out in the wild when the going is tough and you need equipment you can rely on.

Webbing is attached to each side of the bag, vest, and belt. They contain a Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) which allows you to attach extra bits of equipment on the rows and columns of the webbing.

All of the packs I’m going to review are made with high-quality nylon fabric, making them lightweight and long lasting so they won’t break on you halfway through an expedition.

MOLLE vs ALICE

ALICE stands for all-purpose lightweight individual carrying equipment and used to be the regulation military bag until it was phased out and replaced by MOLLE.

ALICE packs are well known for their ruggedness. Designed without zippers, you can stuff these bags with as much equipment as you want and they will not break.

This ability to carry large loads made them a really popular pack but they do have a few serious disadvantages to the new system. Firstly the pack can get pretty uncomfortable, especially on your shoulders when you’re carrying a heavy load. It also lacks any easy access pockets which are really handy for carrying the equipment you need to use often, like your water bottle.

This is where the MOLLE setup (Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment) really comes into its own.

On the inside of the pack, there are multiple locking pouches, enabling you to keep your small items organized and easily accessible. Most decent packs will also have a hydration pouch inbuilt, making it easy to drink water while on the move.

The great thing about these packs though is their strap system. It makes them fully customizable. So whatever bit of kit you have, can be attached on in a way that makes it quick and easy to grab.

There are two main differences between the packs.

The ALICE keeps everything in one large compartment and two small side pockets where this style has a number of small pouches used to hold most gear. This makes organization so much easier so you don’t waste so much time looking for the right bit of kit.

Secondly, the ALICE uses straps for closing the bag while the MOLLE has zips for each compartment. This does mean you can’t stuff it quite as full but also makes it a damn deal easier to open and close.

Favored colors

These kinds of packs tend to be used by those who spend their time in the wild, whether practicing survival or simply on a camping trip. Due to this most packs come with colors that blend into the environment the most popular being, black, grey, olive, sandy brown and good old-fashioned camouflage.

Molle Compatible Backpacks

After the success of the this  system, many brands such as INSERT have started producing this type of bag. This means there’s a lot of variation and different styles of this kind of pack out there and so finding the right one for you may take a bit of researching.

Frame

The plastic frames on the bag are used to be notorious for breaking easily, but luckily this problem has been fixed by using strong injectable plastic. The new frames are sturdy and distribute the weight comfortably through the bag.

Straps

With this tougher design, these packs are lined with PALS (Pouch Attachment Ladder System) which are webbing straps making it easy to fasten on any additional items you want.

There are multiple ways to attach items to these straps, with locking clips or weaving other straps through them being the most popular. A good little trick if you want to save money is to use zip ties or paracord, both work a treat and are cheaper than buying extra attachments.

Belt

MOLLE belts are unique in the amount of padding they have within them. This makes it possible to carry seriously heavy loads while still being comfortable and avoiding injury. Most connection points are with buckles or clips and they are designed to stay cinched while in use.

Look out when purchasing a pack that it has webbing that encircles the entire outer side of the belt as well as having reinforced stitching at different intervals. These make it easy to attach military T-rings which can come in real handy.

What are compression straps and why are they so important?

Compression straps are straps on your bag that you can tighten in order to shrink down the size of the bag to just the contents within it. This is great for if you’ve got a big bag that’s only half full as you can effectively half it’s size, making it much more compact.

By taking away the loose space, compression straps, also secure all of your gear in the bag by stopping them from moving around. This means your gear is safer and it will be more comfortable to move around in.

No brainier, compression straps are damn handy to have on a bag.

 


Molle Backpack Reviews & Comparison

Mil-Tec Military Army Patrol 36L Black MOLLE Assault Pack

Mil-Tec 36L

This is a heavy duty pack that stands out from the rest in its durability and style. Mil-Tec has been consistently producing high quality, good value bags for years and yet again they do not disappoint. For a water-resistant and long-lasting pack you really get value for money with this pack considering it costs just over $35.

What we liked about it:

  • It has two separate large compartments with a variety of mesh and zippers inner pockets which make it easy to keep your kit organized.
  • The shoulder straps have more padding than most other bags and are ergonomically designed. This combined with the adjustable waist strap and padded back make this a beauty to wear even when its stuffed full and weighs a tonne.
  • This pack comes with lateral compression straps attached to it. These are damn handy as they enable you to control how big the pack is. So if you haven’t filled it up you can compress it down and won’t be catching yourself on as many trees or branches.

Who is it for?

This is a great bit of kit for people who need a decent amount of storage space, don’t want to spend too much money and want a reliable bit of kit from a well-known brand.

I would vote this as the best pack on the market for hiking.

Its ergonomic design makes it easy to walk for extended periods without your back starting to give in, the last thing you want on a long distance hike.

Some sweet specs:

  • 2 front pockets
  • Each section closes with extra sturdy 2-way zips
  • Handy in-built velcro section for storing a hydration pouch
  • Multiple MOLLE attachment points
  • D-rings and metal loops on each shoulder strap
  • 1.4kg weight
  • Designed out of 600D polyester, PVC coated and water-resistant

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Gonex 35L Tactical Military Backpack

Gonex 35L

If you’re looking for a Great Bug Out Bag to have stashed away in case of an emergency then this would be the pack to pick.

It’s a badass night-black color, making it perfect for escaping under the cover of darkness. It’s got webbing on the front, sides, and bottom. So you can attach extra gear on the sides for easy emergency access.

What did we like about it?

  • Beautifully padded and breathable shoulder straps mean that you almost can’t even feel this pack on you.
  • Three separate compression straps for keeping the pack compact.
  • Who is it for?

A sleek bag with lots of space and a comfortable fit, this is perfect for anyone wanting a bag stashed with emergency supplies in case there’s ever a disaster.

It would also be a prime choice for anyone going on a multi-day outdoor adventure which they need a lot of kit for.

Other cool specs:

  • Two different main compartments with mesh pockets and a hydration pouch.
  • Made of durable 900 Denier nylon material.
  • 35-litre capacity
  • Weighs 1.23kg

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Mil-Tec 14002602, 20L US Assault Pack

Mil-Tec 14002602

Another great pack made by Mil-Tec that I just couldn’t leave off my list. This one’s much smaller making it great for people who don’t want as much bulk on their back. It’s a 20 litreassault-style, black, badass pack.

It also has compression straps that can squeeze the bag right down to the smallest possible capacity with what you have in it. This makes it great for if you want a small pack on the go that won’t get in the way.

What did we like about it?

Heavily padded waist and shoulder straps make it easy to carry for long distances with no strain or pain whatsoever.

The inside is well compartmentalized with lots of mesh and zip pockets

It has lots of PALS webbing on the outside giving you the ability to add on any number of accessories increasing the capacity if needed.

Who is it for?

This is perfect for those who want a small bag for short day trips, that won’t get in the way but still has a decent capacity.

I would vote this the top bag for anyone wanting a smaller yet still high-quality pack.

Some cool specs:

  • Inbuilt 2-litre velcro pocket for a hydration pouch
  • Lots of small pockets on the outside to store ‘easy to grab’ equipment.
  • 100% polyester coated in PVC
  • Weight 1.1kg
  • Bargain price of £25.90

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Eberlestock Halftrack F3MM Backpack

Eberlestock F3MM

This pack is only for those who are really serious about having the best bit of kit. It’s the most expensive on my list at over £300 but with that higher price tag, you do get some cool extra features.

One of the things that makes me love this pack so much is how versatile it is.

It has two big pockets on the sides that you can fit a couple 3-liter hydration pouches in. But if you want to store something else in them instead, you can. There are two more big pockets in your side sleeves and they can both fit a 2-liter hydration pouch in them.

It also has the ability to split the main chamber in two if you want a bit more organization within your pack.

What did we like about it?

  • MOLLE webbing with PALS system covers both the inside and outside of the bag, so you can attach any extra bits of equipment you might need.
  • Lots of extra pockets line the inside of the bag, making organization easy.
  • Has a Gossamer polycarbonate frame and lots of padding on the straps making it super comfortable to wear.
  • Huge storage with a total of 2,150 cubic inches of space for your gear.

Who is it for?

This is a great pack for those who are planning multi-night long expeditions or long distance trips. Its huge capacity means you’ll be able to fit all your kit in it, and any extra space there might be can be reduced down with its compression straps.

Other sweet specs:

  • Pull out rain cover stored in the bottom pocket of the bag means your gear won’t get wet.
  • Has portals for an antenna to be plugged into.
  • Huge storage with a total of 2,150 cubic inches of space for your gear.
  • Weight 3.1kg

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Military Tactical 3-Day Hydration Backpack by Rupumpack

RUPUMPACK 33L

This is another top range pack for those who are really serious about the outdoors. Rupumpack is a trusted company that have been making backpacks for many years and although they’re not a household name they definitely make some of the highest quality equipment out there.

Having to empty everything out of your bag to find one small bit of kit is no longer a problem here. There are pockets all over and inside this backpack, there’s even two on the wide waist belt that you can easily fit your phone or cigarettes in. On the inside there’s also loads of zip and mesh pockets making it easy to keep your stuff organised.

What else we liked about it?

  • The MOLLE webbing on this pack is slightly different than most bags with the spacing being less than 1/2″. This can be handy as it allows you to attach more extra pouches tighter together.
  • Compression straps to reduce size when not completely filled.
  • Well-padded waist belt that helps to distribute the weight nicely.

Who is it for?

With its rugged design this a great option for those who don’t want to break the bank but also don’t want a bag that breaks.

At only $32 it’s a super cheap option for all the features it brings with it. It’s unlikely you’ll find a bag as durable as this one for such a cheap price.

Other important specs:

  • Made with high-density material ensuring ruggedness and durability. This combined with double stitching and its hardcore zips means this bag won’t break on you anytime soon.
  • A unique insulation system in the bladder pouch keeps your water cool for up to 4 hours. This is a really cool feature, there’s nothing better than a cold sip of water when you’re hiking and with a 2.5 litre capacity, you won’t run out.
  • Has extra meshed padding in the shoulder straps and back to maximise comfort.
  • Has reflective strips on the shoulder straps to keep you safe.
  • 33-litre capacity.
  • Weighs 1.35 kilograms.

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Scott Moey
 

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