REVIEW: US Government MOLLE II Rucksack


Our team has tested some great packs, and the official Government Issue MOLLE Assault Pack stood up to the challenges like a true American champion. This 1850 cubic inch pack only comes in Digital ACU; a camouflage that looks like a pixelated tans, greys, and greens. Most of these packs are used, but that’s a good thing, because that ensures they come loaded with history and patina.  But don’t worry about the “used” thing, as our packs were in perfect working condition; aside from some minor fading on a few packs, they looked brand new.

We team put the MOLLE Assault Packs through the wringer. They are durable and functional under the toughest situations, and they aren’t full of useless extras(uncle Sam doesn’t pay for extras). The pack features nylon webbing on both sides, of which we attached gear and water bottles. They are strong and intelligently placed. Buckle straps are also located at the top, bottom, and front to increase the carrying load. There is a hydration bladder sleeve with the option of hydration hole exits on either side of the pack. The quick-release shoulder straps work well when the packs are heavy or stuck.

Government-Issue-Large-MOLLE-Pack_2When we heard Military Surplus, comfort was not the first thing that came to mind. With the MOLLE Assault Pack though, we were pleasantly surprised. The shoulder, sternum, and waist straps are fully adjustable. The adjustable shoulder straps fit a much wider range of shoulder and back sizes than we expected. The pack contains an internal padded plastic back support to assist in carrying heavy loads and provide comfort for the user. And at just four pounds, this pack was a breeze to carry.

The Large MOLLE Assault Pack BackPack can pack a lot in a small amount of space. At approximately 1850 cubic inches of space, the pack runs around the size of the average medium daypack. On the outside, it measures about 20″H x 12″W x 7″D. It has a separate cargo pocket on the front that measures approximately 12″H x 11″W x 3.5″D.
This pack was made for the US Military, and it shows. Every part of it is the finest quality and construction. It’s made out of water resistant, durable canvas that held up well, and cleaned up easily. The pack straps are all made of tough nylon webbing. The buckles and zippers are heavy duty and designed to stand up to rough use and abuse.

We liked this pack a lot. The nylon webbing on the side is our favorites. In our opinion, packs are looking too sleek these days, and any tough place to attach more gear is pro for us. The zippers on this pack were another pro. These are big, alligator-teeth sized zippers that are designed to work in any condition and to be hard to break.

The MOLLE Assault Pack was great, but not quite comfortable enough for us; it lacked padding on the shoulder and waist straps. At only four pounds, comfort was likely sacrificed for weight. But it was our only real gripe about the pack. It was still wearable, but when we loaded the pack with heavier gear, it would have been much nicer with some padding.

This pack is great for a school bag, short trip, or a day hike. We stuffed in clothes and shoes for a casual trip, a cooking stove and sleeping bag, school books and a 17 inch computer, and cans from a grocery trip. You name it; we tried it. We recommend the US Military Surplus ACU Large MOLLE Assault Pack BackPack if you want a high-quality, durable bag for a good price, and aren’t interested in fancy extras.


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Meet the Author

I'm a former US Marine, full-time father and husband, and part-time survivalist. I like old things, like music, furniture and time-tested survival technique, but there's always a place in my heart for new technology such as weapons and sleeping bag fill. I'm here to share my knowledge and experience, and I hope you'll share yours as well.

8 comments… add one
  • roger clubb sr Jun 13, 2016, 6:27 pm

    where can i buy a u s gov molle 11,rucksack/assault pack

    • Mike Jun 22, 2016, 12:22 am

      I would contact Rothco.

      • Loren D. Emang Jun 26, 2016, 5:47 am

        Hi All,
        So I carry my 3L camel back inside the front slip pocket of my assault pack. If you roll the top panel over the shoulder straps it exposes the from inside slip pocket- you will see the cargo straps sewn down inside there- then you know you are in the right pocket. I drop my camel back down in there, cover and all if you like, one I carry with shoulder straps and all, (but my service pack I have the strapless covered Camel back that attaches to my Body armor inside it.) So once the camel back is dropped in there turn the top panel back over, pull up the velcro tab next to the top grab handle, this exposes the slot where your camel back stew goes through, pull it through then stick the telco back down. The web loops sewn to the shoulder strap is what holds your camel back straw to the strap. It all works really well once you get it figured out right. Then to refill the camel back you just roll the top panel back pull the camel back out hold it to the side of the pack and fill it up, close it and I recommend drying it off a bit so your stuff stays dry in the pack then drop it back inside. PS fill ing the camel back should be done before you stuff the pack full.

  • Dave Jun 24, 2016, 1:15 am

    I bought one of these surplus a couple of years ago. It was the first backpack for me in a very long time. I wanted something for half-day to day-long hikes with MOLLE strapping so I can bits and pieces to customize the rig for my particular load-out.

    I’ve learned a few things. The straps have insufficient padding for heavy loads or long trips. This makes sense because I think these packs are intended to be worn over body armor. Hence there is little need for padding on the shoulder straps.

    Second, I like to carry my load fairly high on my back. I don’t like the pack hitting me in the ass every step. When I cinch up the shoulder straps, there’s a bit that digs into my lumbar area and it’s irritating after a couple of hours in the field.

    Third, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to hang a Camelbak in this rig. I suppose I need to do some additional searching for help in this regard.

    Fourth, my instance did not come with the plate/stiffener that should be slid into the pocket immediately adjacent to my back. I think that some additional structure to the rig would improve the carry.

    Those criticisms aside, this is a great pack for the money. It might be worth experimenting with some home made or aftermarket solutions to make this excellent piece of kit work better for civilian use. I just bought a 5.11 Rush 24, but think I’ll hang on to my MOLLE II in anticipation of some time when I can experiment a bit. That is, I will unless one of my grown children steals it from me.

    Many thanks for the site…

    • Mike Jun 24, 2016, 12:26 pm

      Thanks for your comments! I’ve heard that Tactical Tailor customizes GI gear, and does quite a good job.

      • Dave Jun 27, 2016, 2:07 am

        Thanks Mike. I’ll check out the Tactical Tailor.

  • Ron Oct 3, 2016, 2:31 pm

    Dave’s right about the straps, the pack was made to either go over body armor or attach to the frame of the large ruck, the large ruck has the padded straps for heavy loads over distance. I cut a piece of sleep mat to fit in the outer sleeve next to my back, it helps a lot, but the straps are what they are. I’m a retired Marine who had the ALICE for most of 20 plus years, so she’s my first love when it comes to packs. I sent one to Tactical Tailor for the ALICE mods and they did a great job, its a whole new ball game with the mods and enhanced shoulder straps. I’ve got two sons who are career Army so I get access to all the military gear I can handle, it’s almost like being back in. Semper Fi

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