MOLLE (pronounced mo'-lly) gear, Modular Lightweight Load carrying Equipment, is an advanced carrying system the military began using in the 1990s, a versatile and more comfortable carrying system than any previously used by the armed forces. What makes MOLLE gear so effective is PALS, Pouch Attachment Ladder System, a series of nylon straps that, when interwoven properly, will not come loose until the user takes them apart. Genuine MOLLE equipment is very expensive, but can be made at home for a fraction of the cost.
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Things you need
- Military tactical vest
- Measuring tape
- 1-inch nylon webbing material, military spec 17337
- Marking pen
- Hot glue gun
- Sewing kit or sewing machine
- MOLLE pockets with attachment straps
Measure the area on the vest where the nylon webbing material will be sewn on as PALS attachment straps. Add PALS anywhere on the vest you'd like. On genuine MOLLE equipment, the PALS are located along the right and left halves of the front vest, along both sides, and along the entire back, each section containing a series of nylon straps sewn onto the garment in horizontal rows.
Cut the nylon webbing into straps 6 inches in length. The 6-inch straps are for the right and left halves of the vest, and for each side section. Cut 10-inch straps for the back section. Use the lighter to melt each end of a nylon strap to stop it from fraying after it has been cut.
Place the straps in horizontal rows 1 1/2 inches apart on the right and left front sections of the vest, and mark where they are to be sewn. Repeat this for each side section, and for the back. Genuine MOLLE straps go in horizontal rows for the length of the garment 1 1/2 inches apart. Hot glue the end of each strap in place when you have decided exactly where you want them. This holds them until you sew them on.
Sew on the straps using a sewing machine, if possible, with the thickest thread and the strongest sewing pattern the machine has. After sewing each end to the garment, sew each strap to the garment 1 inch apart, creating 1-inch loops from each individual strap. Repeat this process for each strap.
Attach the MOLLE pockets by lining up the top of the pocket with the top of a horizontal one-inch loop, then insert the pocket attachment strap through the loop on the vest and into a loop on the back of the pocket. Continue interweaving the straps between the MOLLE loops and the pockets loops until the entire length of the pocket is secure. Repeat this interlocking attachment sequence with the strap on the other side of the pocket for a secure attachment.
Tips and warnings
- Sew the PALS straps on using two sewing patterns, one over the other, to create a more durable attachment to the garment.
- Nylon webbing is very tough material, and although it can be sewn by hand, a sewing machine is highly recommended.
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