Monday, 21 Jan 2008

MOLLE II Assault Pack
Rating 5 of 5 stars
Design Frameless 3 Day Assault Pack
Size small-med
Number of Pockets 1
Max. Load Carried 25 lbs
Price Paid $65
Pack Weight ~4 lbs
Total size 1650+450 cu inches

This is my second MOLLE Assault pack. The original one is first generation Woodland Camo version. I am using the Woodland pack as my BOB, and the Desert Camo version for 2-3 day summer camping trips. Both are my by SDS (Specialty Defense Systems). There are several differences between the first and second generation packs.

  1. Shoulder straps are different
  2. Gen 2 pack has a waist belt
  3. Gen 2 large pocket has a zipper instead of draw-cord
  4. Gen 2 has an additional small Velcro pocket on the outside of large pocket
  5. Gen 2 has four cinch straps on the sides

Everything else is pretty much the same. Fabric, zippers, buckles and total volume are the same. This pack is constructed from 1000 denier Cordura. The fabric is vulcanized on the inside to make it waterproof. SDS used YKK self-healing zippers, glide easily, and do not break.

The shoulder straps are about 3-1/4″ wide, and have thin padding material inside. The padding is only 1/8″ thick, but because the straps are so wide, it does not cut into the skin and spreads the weight well. This pack was not designed to carry a large load, so heavily padded straps are unnecessary. I imagine the soldiers wearing this pack on top of their body armor would not be able to tell the difference in the amount of padding at all. The sternum strap is in the usual location. The hip belt is just a 1-1/2″ strap with no padding. This makes it easy to tuck away the belt, if it’s not being used. On the other hand, if it is being used, the lack of padding makes it uncomfortable to wear with minimal clothing. Once again, the soldiers wearing body armor and a full uniform probably do not feel it. Each strap is covered with 3 rows of webbing.

The main compartment is 18″ x 13″ x 5″. The dual zippers open up about 3/4 of the way, and the fabric is not too stiff, so getting gear inside the bag is easy. On the bottom there is a small drain hole covered by some kind of tough mesh, so nothing falls through. I don’t see how anything could fall through a 1/8″ hole. Maybe it’s there to keep bugs from getting inside the bag?… On the back of the main compartment there is a piece of fabric that makes room for the framesheet and some padding. This framesheet is very light, thin and flexible, and the padding is about 1/8″ thick. This design allows for the framesheet to bend, and contour to whatever is inside somewhat. This could be both, a curse and a blessing. I normally carry clothes, and soft food inside the main compartment, so there is nothing to poke me in the back. At the top, on each side of the carrying handle there are two slits covered by Velcroed flaps for a drinking tube from a bladder, or an antenna from a radio.

The ‘only’ pocket in the front of the main compartment is 11″ x 11″ 4″. There are two small pockets attached to this pocket. They are both protected by a Velcroed’ flap. These pockets are not very deep; about the only thing you can fit inside is a small book, or something similarly flat. I put my FM-21 Army Survival Manual inside the small inner pocket on the BOB. The large pocket closes with a zipper, and that’s covered with a flap. The flap can be cinched down with two straps on the front, and one on each side. My first generation Woodland BOB pack does not have the side cinch straps.

I purchased this rig with a MOLLE II Buttpack. The buttpack has both webbing and it’s own waist belt. It can be attached to the bottom of the Assault pack via the MOLLE straps, or worn alone. The buttpack measures 15″ x 6″ x 5″. It is almost round in cross-section. I rolled up my GI poncho, and poncho liner, and stuffed it inside the buttpack. I have a Marmot Trestles 15 sleeping bag, which is about the same size when rolled up and compressed. It too can be stuffed inside the buttpack instead of the ranger roll. The buttpack’s belt is the same as the Assault pack hip-belt. There are two cinch straps to compress anything inside. There is an extra set of ‘female’ buckles on the bottom of the Assault pack, so that you can attach extra gear like a sleeping mat, or a tent and tie it to the pack itself. These ‘extra’ buckles are actually used to attach the Assault pack to the main MOLLE II rifleman’s rucksack.

On the sides of the Assault pack there are 3 rows of webbing to attach MOLLE compatible equipment. I purchased two MOLLE canteen holders, and rigged them to both sides. I can use the canteen pouches for water, or to store extra gear. The lower side cinch strap goes across the canteen pouch, so it is convenient to compress whatever is inside.

I have used this pack a few times for short hikes, and it has served it’s purpose very well. Now that I have the smaller sleeping bag, and two canteen pouches, I will test it in the summer on 2-3 day camping trips. The overall construction and stitching seems to be good. I may have to reinforce some seams after a while; for now nothing has come apart or looks like it will.

Below are pictures of the Fist Generation MOLLE II Assault Pack in woodland camo. It’s used as my BOB. Notice the different shoulder straps and different attachment for the shoulder straps. There is no hip belt, or cinch straps on the sides. The large pocket has a draw cord closure instead of a zipper.

Useful Links:
MOLLE Care and Use Manual - PDF
MOLLE II Care and Use (with FLC) - PDF
MOLLE II Care and Use Manual (updated, with new FLC) - PDF

I bought and sold my SDS Assault pack on eBay. It really is the easiest marketplace to find one.

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22 Responses to “MOLLE II Assault Pack”

  1. CFP-90 Field Pack | CampingGearReview Says:

    […] fabric is said to be waterproof nylon. It does not look rubberized on the inside like my MOLLE Assault packs. I have carried around 45 pounds inside this pack, and it is very comfortable. Properly adjusted, a […]

  2. UTG (Leapers) Pack | CampingGearReview Says:

    […] cut out a piece of 3/32″ plexiglas and used it as a frame-sheet. This design is similar to my MOLLE II Assault pack. The army pack uses a thin flexible frame sheet; I hope the plexi does not break if this pack is […]

  3. Dario Says:

    so my question is, is the first generation, the one in woodland camo, also known as patrol pack?

    if not, is the assault pack any bigger than the patrol pack?


  4. dmitry Says:

    I beleive they are both called “Assault Pack”. Both packs are same volume, there are some differences in suspension, and cinch-straps. After wearing both for day-hikes, I prefer the second generation because it has wider shoulder straps. It also comes with a hip-belt, but it’s not nearly as useful as a wide padded hip belts on most large backpacks.

  5. Says:

    I got one of this DCU MOLLE Assault Pack including the waist pack and two sustainment pouches. But I got a couple of questions and I hope you can help me here…

    Inside the pocket where you put the flexible framesheet and the padding there are some large and wide straps (2) and an extra loop in the same strap material… what are these for?

    What are those extra buckles and cinchs (2) over the top of the pack?

    Really appreciate your help here! thanks

  6. dmitry Says:

    I do not know why there are wide straps inside the framesheet pocket. The two straps+buckles on top are for attaching the Assault Pack to the Main MOLLE Rucksack. Technically, the Assault Pack is a part of the complete MOLLE system. I use it by itself for camping trips. I have also seen pictures of US Armed forces use these on patrols and shorter missions.

  7. Cavscout Says:

    The straps inside the frame sheet pocket ( which is where we typically carry our camelbaks when wearing the assault pack) are for affixing the pack to your equipment during parachute operations. As the writer points out, the lack of padding is no really noticed when pack is worn for combat operations, as we can hardly feel if it’s padded when we are decked out in IBA (individual Body Armor). Over all I feel the pack is excellent, and much preferred wearing my assault pack, as opposed to loading all the individual pouches onto your vest.

    A former Scout
    3rd ACR

  8. cmlesq Says:

    I have the DCU Molles Assault pack and can’t be happier. The pack is very durable. I’ve also got the larger main pack/sleep carrier (the newer one piece unit) and external frame. That larger pack is great for longer trips

  9. austin Says:

    I want one for college, walking around on campus..Is it big enough to carry around 2 or 3 medium size binders and 2 books?

  10. dmitry Says:

    I think you could use it for school. The large main compartment is about 5″ deep, so measure your books/binders to see what will fit. There is plenty of room in the front pocket for all your school accessories, so you don’t have to store them in the main compartment.
    If you plan on carrying a laptop, any bag with a dedicated laptop sleeve will work better than the USGI Assault pack.

  11. Qualo Jinn Says:

    On my large rucksack frame I am missing the two female clips that connect the assault pack. Does anyone know where I can get them?

    Fastex makes these buckles, see their website (, or enter “Fastex buckles” into a search engine, and purchase replacements from your favorite site. You may be able to find these buckles at a fabric store.

  12. Andrzej Ł Says:

    I live in Poland and buy this assault pack but I don`t know what is it the belt:
    please answer to my question.

    [Looks like that’s extra webbing sewn into the back of the Assault pack. You do not need to use it. -Dmitry]

  13. Paul Says:

    You said in the review “…I will test it in the summer on 2-3 day camping trips”. How did the pack work on those trips? Did the pack provide you with enought space for all your gear?

    [Yes. It’s enough space for a light-weight summer trip. I used the butt-pack for my poncho liner storage, which I used as a sleeping bag. The rest of my spare clothing, gear and food went inside the pack itself. This left little room for water, so I used 2 MOLLE canteen pouches attached to the side for water storage. A few more 1/2 liter water bottles were stored inside the pack itself. -Dmitry]

  14. Cass Says:

    Yeah, those straps in the main compartment are for para jumps. The two slits covered by velcro on the top of the pack are for those straps, first and foremost, not a hydration hose or antenna. But of course, this pack is full of room for improvising 😉

    97B US Army

  15. spencer Says:

    i have a issue i do not know what pack to get i like the cfp -90 ranger pack but i like the rifleman molle pack as much can some one help me out .

  16. scott hannah Says:

    Spencer the Cfp-90 pack is for backpacking for a few day to a week or so.The 2
    molle pack that are reviewed are almost like day pack 1650+450 cu inches of internal
    space.The cfp-90 has 4026 – 4250 cu inches w/o Patrol Pack.So if your out for a day hike
    and carry water,food,rain or cold weather gear then one of the 2 molle packs above are great.Look here for more info on the cfp-90.I just got a molle gen 1 with the buttpack for
    $25.00 at a airsoft store in my area.It’s not made by SDS there were no tags inside but
    it’s working great for me.One thing to look for maybe is the RED thread on top of the carry handle both the pictures of the cfp-90 and the first gen molle pack have that thread in there packs might help you out to stay away from “Junk-Packs”

    Scott Hannah

  17. Coby Says:

    Thanks for posting this info, especially the TMs. This is the first time I figured out how the radio bag attaches to the inside of the main rucksack. Gives me an extra place to stow stuff, seperate from the main pack.

  18. kevin badger Says:

    the biggest difference i have noticed between the molle ii assault pack (the one that is in woodland camo) and the other one that is in desert camo is the padding in the shoulder straps. i have both packs and the woodland one even though it is smaller, it has a hell of a lot more padding in the shoulder straps.

    i have the desert camo one that is set up as my search and rescue 24 hour pack and i tell you what, with approx 20# worth of gear in that pack out in the woods and climbing mountains looking for a lost hiker that had gone off the trail over the memorial day weekend, the pack sucked.

    there is very little padding in the shoulder straps and after wearing it for 8 hours over a 7 mile course in the woods, i was beat. my shoulders were killing me so bad that i was ready to ditch the pack and gear.

    if you are going to get a military issued pack to wear for long time and long distances, make sure there is plenty of padding in the straps because they really bit and dig into your shoulders.

    18D US Army Vet

  19. David Stachlewitz Says:

    I have a MOLLE II backpack set, and I’ll be d***ed if I can figure out how a Hydration Pack is supposed to be attached or carried. I have a couple of 3 Litre Hydration (Camelback) sets with carriers, how and where on the full size, (and the patrol pack) are they to be mounted?


    [EDIT: The camelback goes inside where the plastic framesheet and padding are, against your back.]

  20. Army man Says:

    RE #3: It is called the Patrol Pack when it’s by itself. “Assault Pack” is the name when its set in a particular configuration.

    RE #19: The Patrol Pack is not designed with a certain place for a hydration pack. The velcroed slots at the top are for the parachute rigging straps inside. A hydration pack can be placed inside, of course. My preferred setup is to attach canteens to the MOLLE straps on the sides so I can lean back without worrying about puncturing the hydration pack. Plus a hydration pack inside takes up valuable space.

    RE #1: The material is waterproof, but water will go through the zippers. Recommend you keep a waterproof bag with you. I keep mine (basic issue) in a small pack attached to the MOLLE strap on the top-front of the Patrol Pack.

  21. eric Says:

    How does the radio pouch attach to this pack I only see two metal loops at the top and nothing at the bottom

  22. mike abramowitz Says:

    where can i buy or find these. i’ve been looking for a week now for something like resembles the paratrooper quick release.

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