Today I want to talk about the US Army Molle II large pack. There is a lot of discussion about what to use as a BOB. This is what I use. This is the current issue Molle pack with Generation 4 frame. I highly recommend this pack, mine is in multicam, however most of them on the market are going to be ACU ( not fond of that myself ) and less expensive because of that.
- Unless its foreign army surplus, such as a lot of German equipment, military gear, by specification MUST be made in the US, that means higher quality, the German stuff in many cases is of superior quality to our own.
- The modern US surplus uses the Molle system, this is important, no two people are alike and the molle system is all about customization and options. I cant tell you how many times I looked at civie packs and walked away because you are stuck with the configuration they give you, with few to no options to add or move pouches around, much less any attachment points for other gear.
- Military gear is tough! it has to be, as it is expected to hold up and/or function in the most appalling conditions. What this means to you is that you don’t have to be afraid of your gear, tearing, breaking, or malfunctioning if you go off the trail or handle it roughly…….soldiers are very hard on their equipment and are also very vocal when they find things that dont cut it.
That brings me to something that a buyer needs to look for on this pack. In earlier models, the troops complained that the external frame would crack or break under heavy loads………….this is BAD! The problem has been corrected with the generation 4 frame, make sure it has that. You can tell the earlier models from the current issue model pack easily, as you can see in the picture, the new pack has the sleep system carrier built in like many civilian design packs do……..the older models had the pack and sleep system carrier as two separate units… this proved to be undesirable.
The mole/pals system allows you to move pouches and gear around to suit your needs, allows you to add pouches ( even to other pouches in many cases ). This pack is very strong and the nylon very thick and heavy. It has a rating of 5000 cubic inches, BUT before you say ” wow, what a monster! “, that is a bit deceiving, because they do indeed count the sleep system carrier compartment, and they count the two large sustainment pouches, each at 500 ci. Either way you cut it, this is a big pack!
I pack heavy and prefer to take advantage of the whole packs carrying ability for other things, so my sleep system is strapped outside of the pack on top. Once you get the hang of molle/pals, you almost won’t want anything else.
I would suggest for accessories to this pack, that you pick up another sustainment pouch and the waist pack, both are designed to attach to the pack. The pictures of this pack are of the pack alone as if you were to buy it right now, this is what you would get, the pack with 2 sustainment pouches attached to it. The rest is up to you. If you were not fond of the frame, you could attach it to any other external frame you wished to with a bit of fussing around. I like the gen 4 frame myself. These pics are from a pack that is currently on sale……….sorry folks, I didnt feel like unloading and stripping my pack down to the base pack, just for a picture…………..after all, its my camping and BOB……..fully loaded and ready to go.
[NOTE: The above referenced Amazon link was for a Military Surplus ACU Molle II Large Rucksack and is the closest that I could find to what T.R. is describing.]