Molle backpacks are functional military-spec bags that allow you to attach gear to the outside via specialized webbing. Molle has been the standard tactical choice for military personnel — and for a good reason. Molle is versatile technology that easily extends the carrying capacity of any backpack. Let’s look at 5 of the best Molle backpacks out on the market in 2016.
Spec Ops T.H.E. Ultimate Assault Pack
The Spec Ops Assualt Pack is a versatile Molle designed pack that works well for a number of applications. This is the bugout bag of choice for many survival enthusiasts. Super durable self healing zippers (the last thing you want to bust) and unique features you won’t find in other packs — the high visibility meshing on the inside of the pack for example. This makes it easy to grab what you need from the pack as fast as possible — especially in the darkness of night. Also, the buckles on this pack are insane! Extremely durable. The problem I have with most packs is that the buckles bust too easily under load. You can tell right away that these buckles won’t be busting any time soon. Use this pack as your GOTO bugout bag, camping bag, or even your everyday recreational bag (it carrys my 15″ laptop perfectly.)
This pack does not have any organizational pockets on the inside. If you’re an organizational freak of nature than one of the other packs in this review will be more satisfactory. However, you can easily attach multiple organizer pockets to the outside via the molle webbing. This pack has the best Molle layout I’ve seen on any pack.
It should be noted…this pack is overbuilt. The heavy duty quality of everything on it means that this pack is HEAVY. Not advised for the lightweight backpacker but highly advised for anybody that values insane durability and longevity.
Direct Action Ghost Tactical Backpack
For the average height survivalist who wants to go GHOST MODE. I say average height due to the detachable hip belt. I am 5.11″ and the hip belt almost doesn’t fit my torso. If you’re tall the detachable hip belt probably won’t fit. Not a big deal since you can remove it from the pack — less weight means faster bug outs anyways.
I got to say, I’m a fan of the super slim/taller profile of this bag. I think the bag looks better than any other Molle backpack I’ve seen. But that is just aesthetics…let’s talk about function.
Basically this bag is 31.5 liters (including the detachable organizer pouch) and has Molle in every damn place imaginable. And we’re talking LASER CUT Molle. More functional than the original Molle while looking 10X as cool.
As for as pockets go, the Direct Action Ghost Tactical backpack has a few. In the main compartment you have a deep pocket for your hydration bladder and a zippered organizer pocket on the front flap. I have a 2.5 liter hydration bladder that still has plenty of room.
On the outside of the main storage pocket is a sunglasses pocket and 2 expandable zipper pockets for water bottles or whatever else you want to stuff in them.
Also on the exterior is a secondary 3.5 liter detachable organizer pouch. This makes the pack extremely versatile depending on what you want to do with it. You can grab just the main pack when you don’t need the added space and then attach the pouch later in situations where you do. This organizer pouch has multiple pockets that make it easy to keep important gear in order.
Out of all the packs I’ve tried, this pack is probably the most comfortable. Both the back and the shoulder straps are padded to the max. There’s nothing worse than a pack with shoestring shoulder straps that dig deep into your traps and deltoids with every step. They are also ventilated to air out your sweaty pack during a long bug out session.
A+ for comfort most definitely. Once again, these Molle packs are extremely high quality and the Ghost is no exception — using military grade hardware for the zippers, buckles, and everything in between.
Kelty Tactical Falcon 4000
The pack (Now called the Kelty Eagle 7850) built for MOUNTAIN OPS. Boasting a 66 liter pack and rocking the coyote brown color, the Kelty Tactical Falcon was built for an extended camouflaged stay on the high mountains — or any place you need to carry in a LOT of gear. We’re talking about going full on STUFF MODE with this thing because it lacks serious storage pockets aside from the large “dump and go” style ruck sack compartment. People cry about this thing having zero organizational space but that’s what the MOLLE is for. If you want organization then you can purchase MOLLE packs that can attach to the outside — and this pack has plenty of MOLLE to go around. At the top of the sack you will find a detachable lid style pouch that converts into a fanny pack, or, if that’s not manly enough for you, a shoulder bag. Like all Kelty gear, this backpack is extremely well built and very padded in the shoulder straps and back area. A lot of backpack companies add extra bullshit to their packs for flashy purposes. I like the Kelty because it keeps things simple, functional, and no-nonsense.
ILBE USMC Assault Pack
Now we’re talking. This pack is standard issue for the United States Marine Core. I like to think of it like the Kelty falcon 4000 on steroids. It’s a similar style rucksack (70 liters) with an internal frame and top detachable lid. This pack is BOMBPROOF. I am too afraid to throw around the fragile packs I have from REI but not this one. I treat it like a red headed stepchild and it still comes back for more punishment. BOMBPROOF I tell you. I think the U.S. military knew what they were doing when they made this pack. MOLLE webbing runs the side of the pack by the compression straps. It has the digital style camouflage if that’s your thing.
5.11 Tactical RUSH 72
This is the most popular bag on this list. It’s also a bag that people have very strong opinions about. Some love this bag while others absolutely hate it. I personally really enjoy this pack and it’s my favorite on this list (saving the best for last.) It’s truly the best of both worlds — not too big and not too small. It’s coined as a 72 hour bag, meaning you can fit 3 days worth of gear in it. I have taken this thing on 3 day backpacking trips and can attest to this statement. Rock solid durability. Tons of Molle. And, if you want to take this pack into town you don’t look like you’re leading an armed cavalry to take down the local bank. It looks very civilian while staying true to military spec:
- Made in USA
- Large, external shove-it pocket, Top exterior crescent-shaped organization pocket, two exterior, side, gusseted zippered pockets
- 1050D nylon with water-repellent PUx2 coating on main body, 210D 118T water-repellent PUx2 coating on inside pocket flaps and pocket bags
- Closed-cell foam back padded hydration pocket with two back-to-back zippered pull tabs
- Top, quick-access non-scratching fleece-lined sunglass pocket
- Generous web-platform on three sides with additional attachment points
A great pack for bugging out, multi-day camping trips, or recreational use. The best Molle backpack for your money in my opinion.
Did I miss anything? Let me know what you think of these Molle backpacks in the comments below. That’s a direct order soldier.
And if you liked this post, check out my post on the best tactical backpacks too. Thanks for reading!