Product: MOLLE backpack for camping
Amazon price: £34.99
Size: 43 × 33 × 23 CM
Weight: 30 litres
Quality: Made of tough Oxford fabric
Guarantee: Return within 30 days
My rating: 9 out of 10
THERE’S so many different types of backpacks on the market to choose from that it’s hard to decide on which one to buy – Osprey Nebula, CamelBak Arete, Gregory Baltoro, Mystery Ranch Urban, to name but a select few. For me, it had to be a backpack which had lots of pockets, so that I could cram in as many things as possible. Also, a bag that I could get onto a plane without it being to big. And the MOLLE backpack meets all those requirements.
Plenty of compartments to choose from
The maximum size for British Airways hand luggage is length 55cm, width 40cm and depth 23 cm. If you look at the size (above) you will see that it meets those requirements. The other thing that you want is for it to be lightweight before you even start putting stuff into it. The worst thing to do is to buy a backpack that’s heavy before you even put anything in it, and there are some around. A feature that struck me straight away when I saw it on Amazon was that it had a separate compartment where I could put my shoes or trainers in. If I’d wanted to put dirty laundry, I could have done that as well, putting it in a separate place, so as to not contaminate my sandwiches.
Tough and waterproof
The MOLLE also has another compartment for my clothes, 17-inch laptop, A4 folder, and any other books. Other much smaller pockets were good for holding my mobile, keys, loose change and any other essentials like a passport or tickets if I was travelling abroad. Although on first look the backpack doesn’t look that tough, particularly because it appears floppy before you put anything inside it, the bag is made from tough Oxford fabric and in my experience is waterproof in light rain. I’ve not tested it out in a torrential downpour.
Padded shoulder strap offers comfort
Having been on a few long hikes the shoulder strap is padded so you can manage carrying it for a reasonable distance. It also has a waist belt which makes it ideal for climbing or if you are out cycling. At times it does feel like it is hugging your back, so you don’t get much movement from the contents inside your bag. On one occasion, I packed the bag to the rafters and still had stuff to take with me. I then noticed webbing on the front of the bag and was able to add more items.
Floppy is not all that bad
If there are any bad points with the MOLLE, it is that it does look a bit rugged and army-like, as it has been described as a backpack that can be used as a “survival backpack, or a two-day assault pack”. In fact, the MOLLE backpack was invented in 1997 by the Natick Labs R&D division of the US Army. MOLLE stands for “modular light-weight load-carrying equipment” and is made of rows of heavy-duty nylon fabric called PALS (a pouch attachment ladder system), allowing for other gear to be attached to it. As I said before, the backpack can be a bit floppy when it’s not full, as there is no support on its spine, which means that the load ends up in the centre, but I canlive with that. Also, you may feel there may be too many straps to deal with.
Whether the MOLLE can survive a torrential downpour to test how waterproof it is, is yet to be discovered. But aside of these small indiscretions, I still rate it as a quality item and would be loathe to part with it.