Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between MOLLE and ALICE

One of the most relevant concerns discussed among army men and hunting enthusiasts is which rucksack to bring along in the field. And most are caught between MOLLE (pronounced as Molly) and ALICE. No, these aren’t names of women; these are types of heavy-duty rucksacks commonly used in the army. MOLLE and ALICE are not your ordinary packs. Each constitutes a specialized system that can stand physically demanding activities and scenarios in the field. Although serve the same function in military, camping, hunting, boating and other heavy outdoor activities, they differ a lot in terms of structure or frame, components, and significant involvement in various national armies.
MOLLE stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. It became known in the 1990’s. As its meaning suggests, it is modular load-bearing equipment designed for optimal load capacity as well as mobility. Its modularity is derived from the use of Pouch Attachment Ladder System or PALS, a grid of nylon-based webbing used to attach smaller equipment onto load bearing platforms, such as vests and backpacks.  MOLLE’s modularity allows the user to integrate various types of equipment rigs such as load bearing vests, harnesses, chest rigs, body armor, and tactical vests with every type of pouch, pocket, or accessory. It can be universally used on any size pouch, while being able to hold extremely secure when mounted.
ALICE is an acronym for All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment. It is the end-result of a series of clothing and equipment programs that began in 1965. The system generally runs on the concept of separate fighting and existence loads. Unlike MOLLE, which is more modular and extendable with add-ons, it is designed to have separate and limited accommodation for fighting loads and for existence loads.
The MOLLE system has three components, namely Fighting Load Carrier, Hydration Bladder, and Modular Pouches. ALICE has several basically divided into Fighting Load and Existence Components. The first division is comprised of the Belt/Individual Component, Carrier/Entrenching Tool, Case/Field First Aid Dressing, Case/Small Arms Ammunition, Cover/Water Canteen, and Suspenders/Individual Equipment Belt. For the second division, there are a number of Field Pack and Strap/Webbing components. ALICE’s divided components make it more comfortable than that of MOLLE’s. Most army men prefer it as it suitable for prolonged operations. MOLLE, on the other hand, is recommended for those deployed in direct action. As far as durability is concerned, most would say that ALICE outclasses MOLLE. There have been criticisms on MOLLE regarding the fragility of its external plastic frame. Also, its zippers are highly likely to burst when stuffed full. In terms of price factor, the ALICE system is more cost-effective as compared to its counterpart.
Both MOLLE and ALICE have played considerable roles in various national armed forces, especially the U.S. Army. ALICE was regarded as Standard A by the US Army in the 70’s. Currently, it has been phased out of all units in the United States armed forces except for the U.S. Marines and has been replaced by MOLLE. The latter is the contemporary system used by the US armed forces and the British army as well.

  1. Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE) and All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE) are load carrying equipment systems.
  2. MOLLE is well-known for its modularity. ALICE maintains a set of components divided according to Existing Load and Fighting Load Equipments.
  3. ALICE mostly outdoes MOLLE in terms of durability and reliability in the field. It is also less pricey than the latter.
  4. Both have been widely employed in the US Armed Forces. ALICE was deployed during the 70’s, while MOLLE is the current system utilized especially by the US Army.

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