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Published Mar. 28, 2021

Whether you’re out in the wilderness or traversing an urban jungle, few accessories are as versatile and useful as a tried-and-true MOLLE pouch. Short for “modular, lightweight load-carrying equipment” and pronounced “Molly,” a decent MOLLE system lets you strap knives, tools, and gear to tactical backpacks, rucksacks, and load-bearing vests for secure, adaptable on-the-go access. This is partially thanks to rows of heavy-duty nylon fabric called PALS (“pouch attachment ladder system’) that allows you to easily attach accessories to your gear — chief among them, a good solid pouch that allows you to keep all the best tools close at hand.

There are numerous types of MOLLE pouches available in the market, but don’t be fooled by the whistles and bells on various ‘tactical’ pouches out there: the best military-grade pouches are simple yet durable, designed specifically to withstand the harshest conditions while protecting their contents. To that end, Task & Purpose has rounded up some of the best commercial MOLLE pouches on the market that will almost never disappoint you.

Measuring 4.5 inches by 6.25 inches, the 5.11 Flex Admin Pouch is billed as “minimalistic, low profile and lightweight,” and with good reason: this MOLLE pouch is one of the simplest and most durable on the market, crafted from a double layer of water-resistant 500D Nylon and shock cord to secure all of the tools of your trade, whatever they may be. Designed on a horizontal oriented laser-cut MOLLE loop platform, this pouch includes a zipper closure main compartment with shock cord, three slip pockets on the back panel, and an extra slip pocket behind the front panel for extra space. Small, versatile, and built to last, the 5.11 pouch is an excellent choice for anyone getting started with a MOLLE system.

Low profile when empty, the Maxpedition CAP Admin Pouch quickly expands to fit mission-critical items in a narrow footprint that’s billed as ideal for frontal placement on a chest rig. The front compartment features elastic organizers, an extra pocket, and a plastic key fob to securely hold key rings, while the interior main compartment contains elastic organizers and its lattice attachment system allows for the addition of modular attachments like other small pouches. Measuring 5 inches by 7.5 inches, the Maxpedition pouch is a bit larger than other MOLLE pouches but no less versatile.

Measuring 5 inches by 8 inches, the OneTigris Tactical MOLLE Pouch is among the cheaper of the bunch, but its construction from 500D Nylon makes it no less durable and water-resistant. On the outside, a frontal loop panel boasts webbing and straps for other MOLLE-compatible gear; on the inside, a spacey interior comes with multiple pockets, a detachable clear map/photo/ID holder with pen sheaths, and flap barriers at the two sides to prevent items from falling out. Simple and cheap, this container is perfect as a miscellaneous item pouch for a backpack, a MOLLE belt, or another load-bearing vest.

Unlike other MOLLE-compatible pouches on this list, the CamelBak Max Gear Bottle Pouch was designed with maximum hydration in mind just like virtually all of the company’s other products. Made of 500D Cordura and tactical-grade nylon webbing, this pouch quickly attaches to any MOLLE system while a zipper closure provides easy access to an insulated interior. Capable of touting existing CamelBak bottles with up to a liter of water, this bottle pouch is the perfect accompanying item for a long ruck or even a day of urban exploring — and it fits most tactical vests and packs on the market.

That military-grade Modular Utility AN/PVS-14 MNVD Night Vision Pouch is the very same issued by the Defense Department for hauling night vision goggles, but it doubles as a damn effective first aid or general utility pouch. Made of 500D Cordura nylon and attachable to any conventional MOLLE or PALS-style webbing, the pouch features a removable padded insert as well as elastic loops for Chemlights. Measuring 5.5 inches by 8 inches, it’s a bit larger than other pouches on the list, but it’s no less durable and effective at hauling your critical gear wherever you may need it.

Made from tough and durable nylon and measuring 4 inches by 6 inches, the AMYIPO MOLLE Pouch is an absolute steal. The pouch includes high-quality zippers and fasteners for anti-scrape, wear-resistant functionality that easily attaches to any conventional MOLLE system. Designed for daily use, the pouch is perfect to haul money, cards, pens, and other small personal items with very convenient access, the perfect companion for outdoor leisure activities like hiking, fishing, biking, and more.

The WYNEX Tactical MOLLE Admin Pouch is among the most heavy-duty of the bunch. This nylon-made utility pouch includes two fully open main compartments: while the rear compartment is a standard admin pouch, the front compartment contains multiple pockets to store your small necessary accessories, as well as a removable 7″ x 10.5″ vinyl sleeve is for maps or documents and horizontal elastic loops for easy storage of tools. Closed by double zippers with pulls, this pouch can be opened completely to the bottom while the laser-cut front and loop material MOLLE platform allow for the easy attachment of additional accessories. At 10 inches long, it’s a bit of a hefty carry, but every inch is worth the investment.

The Condor EMT Lite is the redesigned personal version of the MA41 Rip-Away EMT pouch, a compact design engineered to carry a complete first aid kit for a single person while the outside webbing can hold additional MOLLE attachments. The pouch features a grab handle for quick tear-away transfers or load out switching, as well as a quick-access pull tongue to open the pouch to allow immediate entry in the most urgent of situations. At 6.5 inches by 4 inches, it’s the perfect compact utility pouch for a user on the go.

Orca Tactical is known for building heavy-duty products, and this rip-away EMT Medical First Aid IFAK Blowout Pouch is no exception. Measuring 8 inches by 6 inches and replete with spacious pockets for all of your first aid supplies, this pouch is a go-to military-grade assistant made from 600D polyester material. A Rip-Away hook and loop panel feature and a wide handle for rapid removal make it a snap to render first aid quickly while the pouch itself is reinforced and double stitched at all stress points. The closures are secured by high-quality YKK zippers with nylon pulls that are rust-resistant and tough. Built with speed in mind, this pouch is ideally used for medical functions in mind, but it works just as well as a standard admin pouch for anything you might need.

Related: The best survival kits that won’t fail you when everything else does

Types of MOLLE pouches

Let’s be real: most MOLLE-compatible pouches are relatively similar — it’s their contents that truly distinguish them from one another. The standard admin pouch, for example, might contain little more than a pen and notebook alongside essentials like a wallet or set of keys, while a fully decked-out first aid kit might contain bandages and other critical gear for dealing with injuries on the go. Other MOLLE pouches are more specialized depending on their intended contents, which can range from magazines to night vision goggles depending on the operational need. What’s most important about a good MOLLE pouch is that it meshes nicely with any PALS system and will allow you to easily attach accessories to your gear.

Key features of MOLLE pouches

  • Size: The best MOLLE pouches are well under 8 inches long and 6 inches wide, large enough to hold the tools of your trade while small enough to not add extra bulk to your everyday carry. The size of a MOLLE pouch really depends on its contents and its placement alongside your gear; some are better suited to hanging from a backpack while others are intended for the glove compartment.
  • Accessibility: The ideal MOLLE pouch allows for easy, immediate access to its contents through a variety of zippered pouches and openings. This is especially important for MOLLE pouches that double as first aid kits — or a magazine pouch, depending on your mission.
  • Durability: MOLLE pouches are specially designed to protect your essential tools when you need them most. The best MOLLE pouches seal tightly and are both waterproof and abrasion-proof, capable of safeguarding your valuables under extreme conditions so you can focus on an immediate task at hand.
  • Capability: MOLLE pouches aren’t designed in a vacuum: they’re intended to function in conjunction with a broader range of gear using that ever-adaptable MOLLE system. Before purchasing a MOLLE pouch, ask yourself: What am I using this for? Where am I carrying this? And how, exactly, will I need this to function when I need the items within the most?

Benefits of MOLLE pouches

Unlike other small pouches, MOLLE equipment is usually designed with survival and perseverance in mind. Adaptable, versatile, and durable, MOLLE pouches are better than most casual bags for transporting the important tools of your trade, and the integration into other MOLLE-compatible gear makes for easy transportation and handling. Most importantly, the MOLLE system is a military-grade system, designed for everything from long rucks to combat, which makes it ideal for significantly less intense environments. Built tough and proven strong, MOLLE pouches will do you right under any circumstances.

MOLLE pouch pricing

Like most other survival gear, MOLLE pouches are value-added. Usually, the higher the price, the more durable and versatile the pouch itself. But don’t be fooled by uber-expensive price points: even the most durable MOLLE pouch shouldn’t cost you much more than $50. Anything above that is normally just whistles and bells with little practical use added by any additional accessories. 

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