In recent years, there has been a resurgence in military backpacks among the civilian population looking for rugged, durable packs for camping, hiking, or survival purposes. Two of the most popular types are the ALICE and MOLLE. While each type of backpack is similar in many ways, there are important differences that you will need to know before making your purchase.

Alice Pack for Rough Use
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The ALICE is an acronym standing for All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment.

It is primarily an equipment-attaching system used for military backpacks that began in 1973. The ALICE has been phased out of the service today, but some units prefer this particular version. This two-component system consists of the belt and bag, which hold different equipment and supplies.

The MOLLE, which stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment, is the rucksack currently being used by the military.

Created in 1997, the MOLLE is a gear attachment system that is fast and easy to use. The main components include the rucksack, tactical assault panel, hydration bladder, and modular pouches.

Difference Between ALICE and MOLLE Pack:

The main difference between the ALICE vs. MOLLE is how they store the gear. The ALICE uses one large compartment with smaller items in the side pockets. The Molle uses mostly small pouches to hold gear and zippers on each compartment, while the ALICE uses a strap system to hold all of it in. You can see the differences in how each tactical backpack is put together.

ALICE vs. MOLLE Pros and Cons:

Military Molle Pack
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There are a few advantages and disadvantages that each pack enjoys. The ALICE pack, for example, is very rugged and durable, with many older packs being used for decades. It is moisture-resistant, and you can stuff in a lot of gear thanks to the strap system. They can be used with or without the external frame, but using the framework helps balance what you carry.


It’s not a very comfortable pack when loaded down. The straps themselves can get in the way, and closing the compartments is rather time-consuming when using the straps. While some items like water bottles may have no easy access, it is easy to rig up something on the frame to make them accessible.

The MOLLE has many benefits starting with the locking pouches for holding items. The hydration pack means you don’t have to carry a canteen. Plus, the strap system is easy to use and customized for your gear. Arguably the best benefit is how easy it is to reach everything. However, the Velcro attachments can be noisy when you walk, and the external pockets can be troublesome when carrying through thick brush. Plus, the MOLLE is not as waterproof as the ALICE.


When it comes to the ALICE pack vs. MOLLE pack, the MOLLE has some definite advantages that make it well worth obtaining for camping and hiking. However, the ALICE is very well suited for jungle or high humidity conditions that might affect your gear.


My name is John Winger, I was born and raised in Virginia. I spent a good part of my early adult life in the US military, namely the Army and served in Iraq. I saw my fair share of combat missions and thanks to that experience I have a better understanding and appreciate for what my country means to me and the world.

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