Many people ask me if ALICE packs are better than MOLLE packs. But in a competition of ALICE vs MOLLE packs who comes out on top?
Both backpacks have a history of service with the US military and are of a solid construction.
If you are worried about quality, durability and reliability who is the victor in an ALICE vs MOLLE batttle? The All Purpose Light Weight Individual Carrying Equipment, or ALICE as it is called, is the earlier model of United States Military backpacking gear and has a large following amongst many old school, and new school, veterans.
The Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment, or MOLLE (pronounced Molly) is the US military’s current version and is a more modern system that is heavily customizable.
ALICE packs have a history of service and are much older than MOLLE packs. ALICE packs have been with the US military since 1973. These packs were on US soldiers during Vietnam and held up brilliantly through the struggle. They come in 3 sizes and are capable of being worn with a metal frame that distributes the burden of the load.
These packs are less organized the MOLLE packs and you need to dig through the pack to find what you are looking for as the main pack is generally just a wide open sack, although there are approx. 4 other compartments in the pack to store supplies.
Another facet of the ALICE pack is that it does not have any zippers. This makes for less attributes to fail when in the field. The pack may seem primitive by today’s standards, but the pack is heavily reliable and is less likely to fail based on its simplistic design. It has also been carried by numerous veterans in the field and received very positive reviews.
The MOLLE pack is the current issue US military backpack. This pack provides a much wider variety of add on options and has a compartmentalized system. This pack has been through the harsh conditions of the Iraq and Afghanistan wares and has performed adequately. It is a much neater system and is much easier to organize large quantities of gear.
This system is lighter weight and uses a plastic frame as opposed to the metal frame of the ALICE pack.
The plastic frames have broken under certain conditions of the current wars such as airborne assaults. The breaks have resulted in newer generations having better construction than previous models and has generally been viewed positively by American forces since the generation upgrades.
The ALICE vs MOLLE debate will likely rage on amongst prior service veterans of the US military because most members are partial to the equipment they used while they served. The ALICE pack has the advantage of being sturdier with less parts being made of plastic and the no zipper design which makes a pack that is more likely to hold up to rugged conditions. It is also much cheaper than the newer MOLLE system.
The MOLLE pack has the advantage of being lighter, more organized and more customizable than the ALICE pack. It is sleeker and more modern looking but comes with a more expensive price tag.
Ultimately, in a battle of ALICE vs MOLLE the choice is up to the individual who will have to rely on the gear and the conditions that individual is preparing for. Both ALICE vs MOLLE systems were designed and crafted for the greatest military on the planet and should make fine backpacking systems for the individuals who will be relying on them.
I have an Army Surplus ALICE pack for my BOB, it was cheap and has less shit that can possibly go wrong with it but time and time again I kick myself for not getting a MOLLE because the compartmentalized design would be tremendously useful.
What kind of pack do you prefer?
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