PALS Webbing vs MOLLE System: The Low-Down

PALS Webbing vs MOLLE System
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From regular civilians to travelers and outdoorsmen, anyone can use a tactical backpack these days. However, we noticed that not a lot of them actually understand the difference between PALS webbing vs MOLLE systems.

In a nutshell, these two are packing systems used in tactical backpacks. Today, we are going to take a closer look so that the next time you use your pack, and someone asks you about it, you won’t be completely clueless. Not only that but by gaining this basic info, you will be able to maximize the use of your pack.

Before we start, just keep in mind that these two are not the only packing systems out there; there are many others. However, these two are the ones most commonly used—and the ones we have personally tested and used.

So, without further ado, let’s begin!

What Is PALS Webbing?

The first of the two systems we are going to talk about is called PALS webbing. PALS is an acronym that stands for “Pouch Attachment Ladder System.” It is a packing system that makes use of sewn-in webs of straps, which can be used to attach pouches, gear, and other types of accessories.

The PALS webbing system is known today as one of the most commonly used packing systems, but as with all types of systems out there, it has its own share of pros and cons.

Pros of Using PALS Webbing

Here are the benefits of using the PALS Webbing system:

  • It’s not limited to backpacks.

The genius behind the PALS webbing system is the fact that it can be used on vests, belts, and more. It is so flexible that most tactical packing gears are built with its iconic strap web.

  • It allows increased capacity for storage.

What’s the main difference between a regular backpack and a tactical backpack equipped with PALS webbing? Once you have filled up the main compartment of your regular backpack with stuff, that’s it. Your pack’s already full.

On the other hand, a tactical backpack equipped with the PALS webbing system will allow you to carry more things through attachments even with its main compartment already bursting with gear!

  • It keeps things off your hands and pockets.

You need your hands the most when you’re outdoors, and using them by holding a piece of equipment is not acceptable (unless you’re currently using that item, of course). Thus, if you want to keep your hands free and your pockets from being too bulky, then this system is the right way to go.

Now that we have finished talking about this system’s benefits, let us now move on to its cons.

Cons of Using PALS Webbing

Here they are:

  • The PALS Webbing system can make your pack bulky.

Aside from the main compartments, this system allows numerous attachments to be clipped on your pack. Doing so can make your pack bulkier, with all of the attachments hanging outside.

  • It can make it difficult for you to fit into tight spaces.

We all know the main downside of lugging around an irregularly-shaped sack; it can make it a bit challenging for you to fit into tight spaces, especially getting on vehicles with limited space.

These are things that you need to consider before switching to the PALS webbing system. Let us now proceed to the next system we are going to discuss in this article, the MOLLE system.

What Is MOLLE System?

Just like PALS, MOLLE is also an acronym, and it stands for “Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment.” Pronounced as “molly,” it is a system that incorporates the use of modular elements that comprise a whole system. That’s the keyword here: modular.

We understand how the MOLLE system can be easily confused with the PALS webbing system. After all, the MOLLE system makes use of the PALS Webbing system. Don’t worry; we are going to discuss their differences later. For now, though, let us talk about the pros and cons of this system first.

Pros of Using the MOLLE System

The benefits of the MOLLE System are similar to the PALS webbing System. Here they are:

  • It also allows more space and storage.

With the use of the MOLLE System, you will be able to fit in gear that would otherwise not fit into the main compartment of your pack. This includes firearms, rations, and sleeping bags.

  • It is easier to organize.

The MOLLE system is great for those who are concerned with the organization of their pack. That’s because this system gives every single piece of equipment its own space, pocket, or pouch!

  • It makes switching equipment easier.

Here’s a common problem shared by a lot of us. Tactical backpacks are quite pricey, that’s why most of us own just one. The challenge is, we have to constantly pack and unpack it whenever our location or activity changes.

The MOLLE system eliminates that problem. You can pack different pouches according to their purpose and just attach and switch things up according to your current objective or adventure.

  • Because of that, it makes your tactical backpack adaptable to different kinds of use.

You can use it during camping, hunting, or even for a hectic day at work! Remember what we have mentioned above? These packs can be used by anyone and tweaked for any use or type of activity.

Cons of Using the MOLLE System

And, of course, their cons are pretty similar as well.

  • It makes the pack heavier.

The MOLLE system can also make your pack bulkier and heavier as it makes you more prone to pack more stuff than you would usually bring. After all, there’s always a lot of space left.

  • It is not that beginner-friendly.

There are specific techniques you can use to ensure that your pouches and accessories are properly attached, but they usually require a bit of practice at first. This a process that some beginners find difficult to master.

  • It is complicated.

The biggest downside, though, is that it can be quite a complicated system to master. It can be challenging to memorize what all those attached packs are for, as well as on which pack a specific gear is stored, especially if you’re still new to the MOLLE system.

Just keep in mind that these downsides can be easily turned into advantages after you have gotten used to the MOLLE System. Through use and experience, you will eventually learn how to streamline the survival gear you need every day and memorize where each one is stored.

And, that’s it! We have finally learned what both these systems are and how they work, but here’s one question we haven’t answered yet: what is the difference between the PALS webbing and the MOLLE system?

PALS Webbing vs MOLLE System

In the simplest explanation possible, PALS webbing is the web of straps while the MOLLE system is the complete packing system that makes use of these straps. The pack itself, with the web of straps you can attach your gear to, is the MOLLE, while the straps, per se, are the PALS webbing.

It’s not that hard to understand. It’s just that these terms have always been used interchangeably that it can be easy for us to misuse both of them. Well, now you know!

PALS Webbing Combined with MOLLE System

We believe that the perfect system lies behind the combined use of PALS webbing and the MOLLE system. The MOLLE system cannot even exist without the PALS webbing, after all.

Hence, we really don’t need to compare and contrast the two in a round of PALS webbing vs MOLLE system. Instead, what we should be thinking of is how to effectively use both of them in a single system that fits your personal needs and preferences perfectly.

Here are some tips that can help you make the most out of both systems:

  • Streamline your gear to the absolute essentials.

There are things that you need to bring in case of an emergency, such as a fire-starter or a navigation device, and then there are things that you just feel you need to bring, such as sun protection and packs of instant noodles.

In truth, you don’t really have to bring sun protection all the time (especially if you’re trekking at night), and there are more nutritious meals out there that are healthier than instant noodles.

  • Choose quality over quantity.

Evaluate your pack. For example, do you have three flashlights? One that you frequently use and two on stand-by just in case the first one runs out of battery? Why not bring a quality pocket flashlight instead? One that glows brightly and doesn’t need to be recharged all the time.

In the same note, we recommend using multi-tools as well. These are tools that have more than a single use.

  • Plan the attachments you are going to use.

The easiest way to determine the kinds of pouch attachments you are going to use is by organizing your gear into groups. For instance, you have a group of items designated as your basic survival gear, another one for grooming, and another one for your first-aid kit.

Once you have determined the different categories of the things you want to pack, it will be easier for you to shop for the pouch attachments and other MOLLE system accessories you need.

  • Speaking of accessories, invest in quality ones.

Your attachments should match the quality of your tactical backpack. Otherwise, your system just won’t work. It doesn’t matter how durable your webbing is, but if you get a clip that easily detaches or a pouch that can easily get torn when exposed to the elements, then the primary investment you have spent on your backpack will be all for nothing.

  • Make a map of where you are going to put each of your attachments according to how you use them.

There are items that you frequently reach out for. These things might include your navigational device and your meal replacement energy bars. If that’s the case, put them into a designated pouch where you can easily get them out in just a few seconds.

Similarly, place weapons near the hand that uses them as well. For instance, if you use your right hand to draw your knife, then put your knife pouch at your right side. If you use your left hand to reach for ammo, then put your ammo pouch on the left side. You get the idea.

  • Finally, give your system some time.

You need to acknowledge that a smooth and perfect system doesn’t happen overnight. While its creation can take a lifetime of improvement and tweaking, don’t switch around your system too often and give yourself enough time to get used to it. If ever you want to do some tweaking, we recommend that you do it in small doses at a time.


Thank you so much for reading all the way to the end! We really appreciate it. Before we let you go, though, here is a quick rundown of everything we have covered above:

  • PALS webbing is a group of straps sewn into different kinds of gear to give it the capacity to hold more items with the use of pouch attachments and other accessories.
  • The PALS webbing system is great because it gives you more storage space through the use of detachable attachments that can be added using their straps.
  • However, using it may cause your tactical backpack to get overly bulky and irregularly-shaped, making it inconvenient for the user to fit into tight spaces.
  • MOLLE system is a system of packing that uses the PALS webbing.
  • It is a complete system that includes the main equipment and the modular pieces (such as your pouch attachments).
  • It has a lot of benefits, including additional space and organization.
  • The downside is that it can cause its user to overpack, resulting in a heavier and bulkier pack.
  • In the end, it is the smart combination of these two that makes a system that perfectly fits your packing needs and preferences.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. There are other equally helpful articles on our website, so feel free to explore our site further. Don’t stop adventuring and keep safe!

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