a soldier with MOLLE rucksack

Best MOLLE Rucksacks [2021]

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Maybe you’ve seen them while browsing online, or maybe your buddy has one. Perhaps, you’ve seen your grandpa’s sitting in the living room. MOLLE rucksacks, even when not used for military purposes, can serve as a great storage system for your travels. If you like to camp or hike, you may want to consider buying a rucksack for all your gear! We’ve put together this review of the best MOLLE rucksacks on the market, and we’ve picked our favorite option for the end.
MOLLE rucksacks have their predecessor, ALICE rucksacks, beat for multiple reasons. Obviously, the MOLLE webbing system is innovative in allowing users to customize their storage space to their needs. It’s easy to remove pieces or add on compartments quickly. MOLLE rucksacks also are much more comfortable than the old ALICE design. The zippered pockets are easier to gain access to, and the integrated support and framing system make your load seem much lighter. We’ve listed four options with varying pros and cons for you to choose the pack that is best for you!

MOLLE II ACU Rucksack Large

MOLLE II ACU Rucksack Large
Materials – This first option comes straight from the MOLLE brand itself. This MOLLE II rucksack is constructed with denier cordura nylon. It’s built to repel water and protect the items you store inside from any type of weather element. This includes extreme temperatures as well. Aside from the main compartment, there is a large pocket on top for holding maps and a lower, moon shaped compartment for holding other small items. MOLLE webbing lines the front and sides of the pack to attach additional pockets. This option is the rucksack only, and it does not include shoulder straps, a frame, or any side pouches. The large size has a capacity of approximately 4000 cubic inches.

Performance – We can start out simply by saying the best reason to purchase this first option we’ve chosen is because it’s the cheapest within the review. Anything that is military issued, old or new, is going to be more expensive. The closer it is to full-on military gear, the more money you’ll be paying. Having only the rucksack may not be best for everyone. Without the frame, you can’t utilize the space quite as well. Still, there is tons of space to fill inside the pack! This is still a great bag to keep items in while camping or doing some light traveling. The frame is not necessarily required. However, make sure you have a means to carry it, since it’s also missing the shoulder straps. There are certainly some sacrifices to make on choosing this first MOLLE 2 rucksack, but it’s still a highly durable pack.

What we say – This is the best MOLLE II rucksack for those who simple want a storage system made of military issued gear. You can save a little money and still be happy.

  • Lowest cost
  • Large size stores a lot of items
  • Durable nylon
  • Missing framework and shoulder straps

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Department of Defense MOLLE Medium Rucksack

Department of Defense MOLLE Medium Rucksack
Materials – If you need something a little smaller, this medium MOLLE rucksack holds about 3000 cubic inches of volume. It is made entirely of cordura nylon and built in the United States as a genuine RFI issued pack. This option is available in a multicam pattern. Aside from the main compartment, there is a top and bottom pocket, which both are secure shut with heavy duty zippers and cord pulls. The sides and lower front area of the rucksack are lined with MOLLE webbing to attach additional side pouches and gear. Although no extra pockets are included, this selection does include a frame and shoulder straps with quick release buckles.

Performance – Maybe you don’t need a large sized bag! If the gear you’re transporting is a little more condensed, then this medium sized MOLLE 2 multicam rucksack is great for you. There are plenty of compartments and pockets for extra smaller things, and the protective flap on top will help guard your items against rain and other weather. With the frame and shoulder straps included, this would be a fantastic choice for carrying your things while hunting or camping. If you’re going to be outdoors for long periods of time, you’ll want something with more structure to it and may have to pass up on the cheaper option lacking these extras. It’s missing the side pouches that are part of the full set up, but that’s not the end of the world.

What we say – This is the best MOLLE II multicam rucksack for campers and hikers that want to carry their things for multiple hours while outdoors. It’s the perfect size for storing extra clothes, defensive weapons, or some tactical gear.

  • Multicam pattern
  • Includes frame and shoulder straps
  • Perfect size for traveling
  • Missing side pouches

MOLLE II Large Rucksack ACU with Shoulder Straps

MOLLE II Large Rucksack ACU with Shoulder Straps
Materials – This option from MOLLE may look familiar! This MOLLE II rucksack is made from the same cordura nylon material as the first option within this review. The main pack is entirely identical as far as volume capacity and durability is concerned. However, this option includes the internal frame. It also has included shoulder straps and a waist belt. The side sustainment pouches have not been included in this selection. A sleeping bag carrier is built into the rucksack – perfect for camping and hiking! The main compartment of the MOLLE rucksack fifteen inches in height, seventeen inches wide, and ten inches deep.

Performance – Okay, so the multicam pattern isn’t your thing, and you really prefer the updated ACU. You may also really need that extra 1000 cubic inches of space. With this third option, you get all the same benefits from the first option. It’s the same material, it has the same amount of storage space. However, this one includes the frame, the shoulder straps, and the waist belt. Keep in mind, you’ll be paying for it! It’s significantly more expensive than the first option we offered, but it can be very worth it to the right buyer. We suggest this option if you have a lot of heavy items to carry and you know you’ll be in challenging weather environments. Otherwise, you may not need to spend the cash.

What we say – This is the best MOLLE 2 rucksack for serious campers and hunters that need to include life-saving gear in their pack for long excursions. With the framework in place, you’ll have the support system you need to carry a lot of heavy items.

  • ACU pattern large bag
  • Includes everything but the side pouches
  • Waist belt gives great back support
  • Not complete set up with side pouches

MOLLE II Rucksack Backpack Assembly

MOLLE II Rucksack Backpack Assembly
Materials – The final option here is, yet again, the same military issued MOLLE II rucksack you’ll see throughout this review. The 1000 denier cordura nylon is in the classic ACU camouflage pattern and lined with MOLLE webbing. However, this rucksack includes the full set up: main compartment, internal frame, shoulder straps, and sustainment pouches. Combined, the sustainment pouches add an additional 1000 cubic inches in volume of usable storage space. The frame is gen four and made of durable polymer. All additions to the rucksack, except for the frame, are attached with quick release mounting systems. This option is also the most expensive MOLLE rucksack within this review.

Performance – Finally, here we are with the full military issued MOLLE II rucksack setup. You have as much storage space as the pack can possible handle, and you have all the framing and appropriate straps. Thankfully, the shoulder straps and waist straps offer plenty of padded support to ease your shoulders and back, but it’s still a very heavy pack. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! With all your gear included, be prepared to use your muscles. That being said, with the side pouches included, you have about 5000 cubic inches of storage capacity. This rucksack can help you survive for days, so pack mindfully!

What we say – This is the best MOLLE II rucksack for travelers who need multiple days of items stored with them at all times. This includes space for transporting survival items and gear.

  • 5000 cubic inches of storage capacity
  • Full set up including frame, straps, and side pouches
  • Can be used for multi-day traveling
  • Most expensive and heaviest option

Our Favorite MOLLE Rucksack

For our favorite MOLLE rucksack, we chose the MOLLE II Large Rucksack ACU with Shoulder Straps. This was the third option within the review. It covers just about everything the average person or your more serious traveler would need. It doesn’t go overboard with the storage space, but it doesn’t leave you wanting either. Of course, the MOLLE system is always fantastic, and the rucksack is constructed with some of the most durable cordura nylon you’ll ever see. This option includes the internal framing and the shoulder straps, so you can feel confident packing any amount of items that will fit. It may be lacking the side pouches, but you have more than enough space to work with!

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