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PALS VS MOLLE the difference

PALS vs MOLLE: what's the difference?

Survival gear is often a bit of a mishmash of words filled with slang and acronyms. So at SOLDAT. FR we take every opportunity to demystify the terminology and dispel any misconceptions that may exist in the military world

Learning survivalskills and equipment should be accessible to all, (and we're working on it), rather than to an exclusive club where members are left out if they're not familiar with all the terms used.

PALS and MOLLE system Tactical military vest


The two biggest terms we hear frequently in the military world, and used in the world of survival and combat readiness, are MOLLE and PALS. Very often, you may hear that a backpack has a"PALS strap" or that a pouch is"MOLLE compatible". Confusingly, you may hear just the opposite: "MOLLE" and "PALS" are often used interchangeably.

So what's the difference between " MOLLE webbing " and " PALS webbing "? Are these two systems really the same thing with two different names? Not necessarily, but read on to find out where the confusion comes from.


First, let's define these terms. MOLLE (pronounced like the name Molly) stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. It is a proprietary form of military equipment designed by Natick Labs, produced under contract by various manufacturers and used by the U.S. Army and other NATO forces.MOLLE equipment is generally based on a tactical assault panel (or TAP), which is a load-carrying platform or chest vest.

Backpack with PALS & MOLLE system

Remember that the M in MOLLE stands for modular, so it's: a system of modular equipment components made for your gear such as tactical vests, backpacks, pouches, etc. that attach to each other.

Now, this is important: the MOLLE system includes the PALS strap. PALS stands for Pouch Attachment Ladder System, the horizontal grid of strips with repeating fabric straps often found on backpacks and vests. According to the PALS standard, these straps are spaced 1 inch apart and sewn to the carrier at 1.5-inch intervals.

MOLLE VS PALS Difference


So, in a nutshell, PALS is a type of strap, and MOLLE is a type of modular equipment that attaches via this strap. Given this information, it is technically incorrect to say that the equipment has a MOLLE strap, as it would in fact have a PALS strap and would therefore be MOLLE compatible. There is no such thing as a"MOLLE strap", but most people will know what you're talking about, despite the confusion (the type of strap found on MOLLE equipment).

It's likely that the terms MOLLE and PALS will continue to be used interchangeably, but now you know there's a difference between the two. Don't hesitate to refer to our article on how to equip your tactical vest!

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