What is MOLLE?

MOLLE is an acronym for "modular lightweight load-carrying equipment." Pronounced "Molly," this system consists of heavy-duty, nylon-based webbing that lets you attach compatible pouches, holsters, and other accessories to your gear for easy, secure access in the field. MOLLE is typically used in the military, by law enforcement professionals, and by other tactical operators who need to carry gear on the go. You'll find MOLLE webbing on backpacks, tactical vests, plate carriers and body armor, and other wearable items, including hydration systems and K-9 vests for public service dogs.

Who uses MOLLE?

Replacing their older, heavier predecessors – known as "all-purpose lightweight carrying equipment" or ALICE packs – MOLLE systems and their compatible accessories are considered standard issue for most of the U.S. military and several NATO forces today, as well as for public service workers like police and firefighters. The strong, lightweight, convenient, and customizable design of MOLLE systems have also made them appealing for use during outdoor enthusiasts like campers and hikers, who need to carry different kinds of gear depending on where they're going, what they're doing, and for how long.

How Does MOLLE Work?

MOLLE equipment features rows of nylon webbing called PALS, which stands for "pouch attachment ladder system." The PALS webbing makes it easy to customize the layout of your MOLLE gear, based on what you're attaching and where you need it. 

You can attach MOLLE-compatible gear to PALS using a 5.11 SlickStick® System, or similarly compatible buckles, snaps, straps, and clips. 5.11's MOLLE accessories have built-in attachment systems. Some gear may require you to buy separate MOLLE straps or use older-style MOLLE clips. You can also attach D-rings to MOLLE systems for fast, easy removal of gear that you need quickly, like rifle slings.

Attaching MOLLE gear to PALS

Watch our video to learn how to attach a MOLLE-compatible accessory to a PALS– or just follow these simple steps:

  1. Position each piece of MOLLE gear on the outside of the PALS to figure out exactly where you want to attach it.
  2. When you're ready to attach your first accessory, grab the end of the first SlickStick or strap you want to start weaving through (the end with the snap). 
  3. Insert the MOLLE strap snap-end first through the first loop that aligns with your gear placement on the PALS.
  4. Lift up the accessory and weave the snap-end of the MOLLE strap through the first loop on the accessory.
  5. Weave the snap-end of the MOLLE strap through the next-lower loop on your destination gear.
  6. Repeat the process until you have used the entire MOLLE strap.
  7. Snap the closure shut to prevent your hard weaving work from coming undone.

Tip:If your MOLLE accessory has multiple SlickSticks or straps, alternate straps as you weave them through for an even, easy attachment process.

Working with MOLLE gear (including weaving straps through PALS) takes a little elbow grease, but once you know what it is and how it works, you'll find it worth the effort. MOLLE is a relatively simple and very effective load-carrying system, designed to keep you mission-ready – no matter where you are or what you're doing. 

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