WHERE’S ALICE GONE & WHO’S MOLLE?
If you know your military history of equipment, you will know of ALICE and MOLLE, but for the mainstream consumers out there, kit bags and rucksacks have started to take on a whole new appearance.
Throughout Military history, there has always been systems produced to carry your kit, to make items more accessible, hold specific equipment, be rugged enough to cope with in the field operations and be adaptable for ease of use and comfort.
Way back in the late 1700’s, leather straps and brass buckles were used to bind packs and equipment together, in both the World Wars canvas that had quick release buckles and a web strap was used in various guises.
Limitations were an issue for early buckles and straps for what they could carry and how. One of the main drawbacks was the way in which items were only attached by one point, when soldiers were on manoeuvres this could result in kit swinging or shifting the weight balance, as much as a problem for comfort, this could also become an issue for stealth.
The two most recent systems used were, All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE), this system was used during much of the 70’s 80’s before being phased out in the late 90’s.
The Alice Pack was designed as a two component system, First, the belt system, with entrenching carrier, two small cases, canteen cover and suspenders. Second, the elements comprising the bag itself which include the cover, bag and frame.
MOLLE was invented in 1997 by the Natick Labs R&D division of the US Army http://www.natick.army.mil/about/index.htm, MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) consists of a horizontal webbing system – also called Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) – that interweaves with the vertical strips on the back of accessories.
The reason for weaving is to create a multi-point structure between the pack and the pouch, this aids in a more even weight distribution and reduces movement and stops additional pouches from swinging.
Thanks to the advancements made by the Military, MOLLE has now found it’s way to many kit bags and rucksacks with a myriad of different add-on pouches, this great system enables kit to be placed in a unique way to suit your needs.