The Evolution of the MOLLE Backpack

One would think that a country’s soldiers would be afforded the very best equipment that could be provided them. Up until the gulf war, the fighting men of America had the best training in the world, some of the most advanced weaponry, but the worst backpacks. In the field, the warriors packs are their home and everything for their comfort, survival and efficiency must be carried on their backs.

Throughout World War 1 and World War 2, the packs carried by the soldiers were nothing more than bags with straps sewn into them. They were made from cotton, they became saturated in the rain and their carrying capacity was limited. The evolution of the army’s backpacks was slow and in the early 1980s, the ALICE pack was developed. Although an improvement over the preceding models, the full packs on long marches became uncomfortable and chafing. Uncomfortable soldiers are inefficient soldiers and being miserable is a good road to failure.

Finding a Better Solution

After the assault on the United States on September 11, 2001, the army started the Rapid Fielding Initiative to equip our fighting forces with the best state of the art equipment to enhance their mobility, lethality and survivability in the fields of Afghanistan and Iraq. As part of this initiative, the MOLLE pack was developed.

M.O.L.L.E. stands for ‘modular lightweight load carrying equipment’. It is constructed of 1000 Denier Cordura, it has an external pack frame, a shoulder strap assembly, waist belt and a quick release.

The main rucksack is 3000 cu in. and houses the Gortex sleeping system, night vision goggles, gps, personal items and body armour. There are pouches for grenades, a hydration bladder that eliminates canteens and there is a separate assault pack to carry extra ammunition.

The US soldiers give this pack a five star rating; it is comfortable, efficient and with the addition of separate snap on accessories, the pack can be just the ticket for backpackers, hunters and hikers.

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