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Thread: Alice vs. Molle

  1. #1
    neophyte is offline Member
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    Alice vs. Molle

    Hey Folks; I visit other sites and a topic that keeps coming up.

    The "Molle" vs the 'Alice' back sack.

    Comparison: with 180lb. man 120lb woman
    Comparison: 6' vs 5'

    What are the primary differences
    What are the primary functional differences
    Comfort
    Weight
    Is one better for "longer" walk abouts
    Is one better for the 'civilian' "bug-out"
    Is one better with 'weather' conditions
    Is one better i.e. keeping my mess ?dry?

    Where would you find one without re-supporting the War effort.
    Are any of the Mollel's showing up in the 'mil-surplus'

    More question, yes,

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  3. #2
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by neophyte View Post
    The "Molle" vs the 'Alice' back sack.
    I'm not entirely sure why there is much debate, to be honest. The MOLLE ruck I was issued is superior to the old Vietnam-era ALICE pack in every way I can imagine. I only have experience with the Army-issue items - not USMC or any civilian stuff.

    Comparison: with 180lb. man 120lb woman
    Comparison: 6' vs 5'
    Well, since I am in an infantry unit, we don't have any female soldiers. Not sure how well I can extrapolate my experiences into a female's perspective.

    What are the primary differences
    What are the primary functional differences
    The old ALICE pack came in a couple of sizes. I've used the medium and the large. The large is preferable, since the medium barely holds enough gear for a day trip.

    The MOLLE ruck is bigger, with larger outside pockets that are placed better than on the ALICE. The MOLLE ruck is covered with PALS webbing, so pouches and carriers may be conveniently attached wherever you want, without the miles of 550 cord often seen stringing items onto an ALICE pack.

    The main pouch of the MOLLE has a split main compartment that can be divided with a zipper. Open the zipper and you have one big compartment. This is handy, because you can tuck the entire "modular sleep system" into the lower portion of the main pouch, and access it through a bottom zipper. This means you don't have to pull everything out of the ruck to get to the sleeping bag, unlike the ALICE. But if you're hard up for space, you can also easily attach the MSS to the outside of the pack, and use the pouch for other gear.

    The MOLLE uses Fastex buckles instead of the awkward old thread-through-metal closures on the ALICE. Major improvement.

    Comfort
    The designers of the MOLLE obviously copied features from civilian backpacks, which have evolved quite a lot since Vietnam. The MOLLE is padded far better - and more intelligently - that the ALICE. It is also designed to carry the weight more on the shoulders, versus the lower back like the ALICE. The MOLLE is far, far more comfortable.

    Weight
    Not too sure on this one. They are close in weight. The MOLLE may be slightly less because the frame is composite rather than metal. But the MOLLE will hold more, so fully loaded, it may be heavier than the ALICE. But it compensates for this by bearing a heavier load much more comfortably.

    Is one better for "longer" walk abouts
    Is one better for the 'civilian' "bug-out"
    I'd choose the MOLLE for either. Both involve carrying a heavy load for a lot of miles. The MOLLE is a lot more expensive, though.

    More important than either a MOLLE or an ALICE, if you think "bugging out" on foot is a realistic possibility, is an exercise regimen than emphasizes cardiovascular and muscular endurance. I hear people talk all the time about gear for bugging out, but most of them couldn't run even a mile without having a heart attack.

    Is one better with 'weather' conditions. Is one better i.e. keeping my mess dry?
    Neither is waterproof. All good soldiers keep their waterproof bag handy, and bug-outers should do the same. If you plan on walking far, you'll need lots of dry socks.

    Where would you find one without re-supporting the War effort.
    Are any of the Mollel's showing up in the 'mil-surplus'
    No idea. I was issued mine through the Army's Rapid Fielding Initiative. I'm not into the survivalism thing, and don't really go into surplus stores unless it's to sell an old uniform.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  4. #3
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Quoting Mike Barham: "More important than either a MOLLE or an ALICE, if you think "bugging out" on foot is a realistic possibility, is an exercise regimen than emphasizes cardiovascular and muscular endurance. I hear people talk all the time about gear for bugging out, but most of them couldn't run even a mile without having a heart attack."

    I second the motion.
    I used to be able to carry 35 pounds for 10 miles in one day.
    Then I got older, and it went to 35 pounds for five miles.
    Now I'm OLD, and I have trouble just carrying myself for five miles.
    Bug out? Don't be silly.

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