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Molle II Large Rucksack: A Better Bug Out Bag by T.R., Editor-at-Large

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.

molle-ruck-1As I pointed out in another post, I prefer to use military surplus when I can for my field gear, I have a few reasons for that.

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

molle-ruck-2That 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!

molle-ruck-3I 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.]

6 comments to Molle II Large Rucksack: A Better Bug Out Bag by T.R., Editor-at-Large

  • Badger359

    Nice article, I am currently using the Large ALICE for my BOB. Like (mike) I was issued the Large Ruck and it never failed me. I never had a frame problem as mentioned, but that would not be good to have that happen. I liked the air space between me and my ruck in Central America. With this new Molle design can you look up while wwaering it? It looks like it goes up behind your head.

    • T.R.

      Oh yeah , you have no problems looking up , its kind of a low rider compared to civilian packs , even with my sleep system strapped to the top of the ruck , I can still look up pretty easy . Of course , its better if I dont do that .

  • Mike

    Let me start by saying that I enjoy these articles quite a bit and have learned a great deal from many of them. However when it comes to these Molle systems they are extremely difficult to figure out if you’re getting the right one or if you’re getting all the initial items. One book says get a base, plate carriers, load vest and chest rig. And then there are all the attachments that as you stated are too numerous to mention and are per the persons own ideas. And last but not least where to get the best deal and the quality.

    It would be nice for someone even a supplier to put together a system albeit may not be for everyone but a system that puts this all together with part numbers from a suppler site so that we could just order it and have a good overall starting system. Granted it may not be the cheapest site but I would pay a little extra just to have that info. I was in the Army 40 years ago and it’s not the same rodeo if you know what I mean.

    Thanks and keep them coming.

    • T.R.

      You have a point , but there are several sources , not all are the military . As far as what your base is , that depends on what you want to use . I will post a field manual that shows what they do with the pack . Amazon , ebay has a lot of it , surplus stores , individuals ( craigslist , classified local ads ) if you have a hunting vest , you can use the loops meant for shotgun shells . they fit fine on a belt or other webbing , in that case , just use it like you would the old ALICE system .

    • T.R.

      Believe it or not , some of the paintball manufacturers make some decent molle pouches for that sport , some are identical reproductions , the advantage there is that they make every camo pattern around , your not stuck with acu or multicam , I prefer flectarn myself ……but only the Germans make it in surplus , and their system is completely different than ours and not compatible…..but ….the paintball manufacturers do make flectarn , a pouch is a pouch . I have found that the canteen pouch is the most useful out of all of them . My day pack has 4 canteen pouches on it , with only one carrying a canteen ;)