You went out to the store in person or on line and picked out a new piece of equipment. It was the right size, color and would do everything you wanted it to do. But what in the world are all the straps sewn on the outside for. Those straps are PALS webbing for MOLLE gear. Confused? I will explain.
First the terms; PALS stands for Pouch Attachment Ladder System that was developed for the military. This is the webbing you are seeing. The military standard for this webbing is horizontal rows of 1″ webbing, spaced 1″ apart, sewn to the item at 1.5″ intervals.
The second term is again a military acronym- MOLLE; Modular Lightweight Load carrying Equipment. This is pronounced Molly like the girl’s name. The acronym says just what it is. The terms PALS and MOLLE are used interchangeably.
What can you use it for and how do you use it?
Because this was first a military system, the most common items you see attached to the webbing are pistol holsters, knife sheaths, two way radio pouches to name a few. Since you are not bound by many rules, the sky’s the limit on the items you can attach to this webbing system. There are several ways to attach items from locking clips to straps to weave through the webbing. If you don’t want to spend extra to attach an item, you can use plastic zip ties or para cord (also know as 550 cord) to tie items on. Be careful- remember this is on the outside of your gear and if you don’t secure it right it might just be someones big find on the trail.
I am constantly changing the items I have attached to my webbing. Normally I choose items I want easy access to and that I don’t mind getting knocked around a little bit from being on the outside of my gear. I try to pick items that can take the rain, dirt, and the occasional brush against trees and rocks. The great thing is I can always change out the item and it is no big task.
Enjoy your new PALS/MOLLE compatible equipment, and remember you can always sound like an expert on your next outdoor adventure when someone asks you about those straps.
This is a post from Andrew S. Stewart and Armadillo Sheaths LLC
PDF FILE: MOLLE II Care and Use Manual
VIDEO: How To Attach MOLLE Pouches and Gear