MOLLE backpacks are not just your ordinary backpack. What makes MOLLE backpacks different is the way they are designed. MOLLE backpacks have what is called a webbing. These are strips of material that are made and attached in a way that allows you to hook other equipment to the webbing in a very secure fashion. This allows you to haul around a lot more items.
The word MOLLE is actually an acronym that stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment and they are mainly used by NATO armed forces, especially the British Army and the United States Army. The idea behind the MOLLE system is to give the user a level of customizability that other, more general backpacks simply don’t provide.
MOLLE packs are the top choice when it comes to tactical backpacks because of their versatility and ability to haul around quite a bit of your various gear and gadgets.
Now, before we just dive in to this list of top notch MOLLE backpacks, be aware that the bags we have chosen to feature are not necessarily ‘new’ additions. The reason these bags have made the list is because of their quality and the features they offer.
A Few Features You Should Look At Before Buying a MOLLE Backpack
There are a few core features that we recommend you should look for when buying your next tactical backpack.
None of these are absolutely necessary, but trust me, you will be happy you chose a backpack which includes them.
If you want to be able to get the absolute most use out of your tactical backpack, make sure it uses the MOLLE system. Sure, you can get a backpack that doesn’t but you will be extremely limited in what you can carry and how.
Hydration System Compatibility
Most of the time when someone purchases a tactical MOLLE backpack, it is with the intention that they will use it for weekend excursions such as camping, hiking, biking or other physically demanding activities.
With all that activity you will surely need to stay well-hydrated, so having a backpack that allows you to easily carry around and use a water bladder.
Quality Zippers and Stitching
I simply cannot stress enough the importance of these two things. When you are looking at tactical backpacks, don’t overlook the quality of the zippers and the stitching that holds your pack together.
There is nothing worse than a zipper that gets stuck or breaks at the wrong moment. If you have need of a MOLLE backpack, the chances are good that your version of the ‘wrong moment’ might be disastrous. Look for backpacks that have solid metal zippers and zipper teeth. If it says YKK on the zipper, you are in good hands!
Now, for the second part of that equation; the stitching. If the stitching on the bag that you are considering buying zig-zags all over the place or just doesn’t look very sturdy, it’s probably time to look elsewhere. You really don’t want your bag falling apart in the field. Most tactical backpacks have double or even triple-stitched seams. If you can, that is the way to go.
Once again, these are just some suggestions… But they are very solid suggestions that will greatly benefit you.
5.11 All Hazards Prime Backpack
The All Hazards Prime is a beast when it comes to fully utilizing the MOLLE backpack system.
This backpack was developed by the folks over at 5.11 and they even had help designing it with the direct input of MACTAC instructors, right from the beginning. You can rest assured that this backpack is built to military grade specifications for the most hazardous of situations or dangerous operations out in the field.
The first thing that stands out when you first open the front organizer of this backpack (other the bright orange high-visibility material) is that it has a much more in-depth MOLLE system. The MOLLE system for all of your attachments is not just implemented on the outer layer of the backpack.
The entire main front internal compartment is also filled with additional MOLLE webbing which runs vertical in two strips along the compartment wall. In addition to this, it also includes an internal padded laptop compartment, an area for large hydration packs or armor, and a front panel with a rather large, dedicated ‘Shove-it’ area.
The main compartment has enough room to hold up to two fully loaded All Hazard Ammo Mules, which ultimately equates to a total of 20 AR magazines.
Overall, if you are needing a very durable, very tactical backpack that can carry all of your ammunition, medical and tech equipment, and a variety of other survival essentials you may need out in the field, the 5.11 All Hazards Prime backpack has got you covered.
TRU-SPEC Elite 3 Day Backpack
Coming in at 36 liters of capacity, we have the Elite 3 Day Backpack from TRU-SPEC.
This backpack is made from 100% durable nylon and features an air-mesh design across the back pad and along the shoulder straps to give you extra that extra level comfort. The detachable waist strap helps you make sure that your pack is stabilized and secured at all times.
Staying hydrated is also not a worry with this backpack as it holds up to a 2 liter water bladder with a tube access slot at the top of the pack.
What really sets this backpack apart from many others is the concealed carry compartment. At the base of the back pad is a padded and concealed pocket to stash away your pistol securely.
If you are needing a high quality, large capacity MOLLE compatible backpack for 3 day loadouts or just a weekend camping trip, look no further than the TRU-SPEC Elite 3 Day Backpack.
Condor 3 Day Assault Pack
The Condor 3 Day Assault pack is a MOLLE style backpack that is designed to carry all of the essentials you would need for up to 3 days. If packed efficiently though, it can actually hold about 7-8 days worth of essentials and other gear.
The main compartment is roomy and has numerous pockets to hold everything from documents to larger equipment. One of the nicer features included in the main compartment is the inclusion of some really durable straps to hold your laptop or other sensitive gear in place and not flying around inside your pack.
While the large capacity room is certainly one of the main features of this backpack, it only gets better from there because this backpack isn’t doing too bad in the comfortability department either. The shoulder straps and the back pad are filled with a thick, yet comfortable foam padding. This alone is a huge selling point for a backpack that you may have on your back over the period of a few days.
Finally, to tie all of this versatility and comfort together, the front of the pack has a waist strap to help keep your backpack firmly on your back.
Paratus 3 Day Operators Backpack
The Paratus 3 Day Operators Backpack from 3V Gear is hands down one of the more rugged and versatile MOLLE style backpacks on the market for the entry-level consumer who has a a medium-sized budget.
Made of rugged, weather-resistant 600D Nylon, the Paratus is built to withstand a lot of rough handling in even rougher environments. And don’t worry, you won’t have to sacrifice comfort for sturdiness as the Paratus comes with a really comfortable foam back-padding and shoulder straps.
And if you frequently travel by plane and like to carry-on your backpack, you are in luck. The Paratus is the maximum size for airline carry-on requirements.
Overall, if you are looking for a more entry-level priced MOLLE backpack that can hold more than its fair share of your gear, but is also comfortable, versatile and rugged, you need to look no further than the Paratus 3 Day Operators Pack.
Mardingtop Tactical Backpack
Looking for something a little more sleek in a tactical backpack? If so, you may want to look into the Mardingtop Tactical Backpack.
The Mardingtop Tactical Backpack is a 35 liter MOLLE pack made from durable, water-resistant 600D polyester. The back padding and shoulder straps are lined with an air-mesh material that you may be familiar with if you’ve ever owned a tactical backpack. This helps provide some comfort while also keeping your back fairly dry even on humid days.
The main compartment is spacious enough to carry around enough clothes or equipment that you may need for roughly 3-4 days. Directly behind this main space is a hydration system compartment that can hold up to a 2.5 liter water bladder. The tube for your water bladder can be run through the tube access hole at the top of this pack.
With plenty of room for other equipment such as your laptop, important documents and medical gear, the Mardingtop Tactical Backpack is the perfect solution for the prepper or occasional hiker who is also on a budget.
Our Final Review for the Best MOLLE Backpacks
In this list, we have looked at the top 5 MOLLE style backpacks. A lot of things were considered when trying to choose what backpacks to include in our list, but ultimately it came down to the following three main areas:
Capacity (Not Necessarily Weight)
When it comes to the capacity of MOLLE backpacks, most of them fall somewhere within the 20-40 liter range. The more gear you have and the longer you plan to be out in the field will help you determine what capacity you will more than likely need.
The bigger the load, the more capacity you need.
You can also find what are commonly referred to as sling packs. These are backpacks that have one shoulder strap versus the usual two that you find on your typical, everyday pack.
A lot of these sling backpacks are much smaller than a full size MOLLE backpack and still provide much of the same level of features as their full size counterparts.
The second thing you want to make sure of, is that your backpack performs well no matter what you are tasked with out in the field. If you are going to be in an area where you will be faced with bad weather conditions, you need something that is water resistant and able to hold up to other things such as high winds and heat.
Also, the pockets need to be secure yet easily accessible to you, and it needs to be able to rest securely on your back. The zippers play a big part in all of that, which we discussed earlier in this list.
Lastly, look for a backpack that is comfortable in all the right places. After all, you will have this load on your back for long periods of time I would assume.
Most tactical MOLLE backpacks have certain areas that are foam padded, such as the back pad that rests against your back and the shoulder straps. Some packs even have padded waist straps.
In conclusion, no matter what MOLLE compatible tactical backpack you decide on purchasing, as long as you stick to these three things in addition to those we have listed in the “things you should look for” section, you should be able to easily find the perfect pack for you.
We hope our list helps you to make a more informed decision in selecting your next bug out bag, EDC or MOLLE tactical backpack.
If you feel that we have left out a MOLLE backpack that deserves to be on this list, drop us a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.
Til next time!