Attaching Field Pockets Explained

The system of attaching Field Pockets, called MOLLE (MOdular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment), is the same system the Armed Forces uses. It’s tried and tested, but nobody understands it until they do. When I first had to set up my kit before deploying, I had no idea what I was doing. Since I didn’t want to be the new guy asking new guy questions, I spent forever not asking anyone for help. For this Explanation, which I wish I would have seen back then, I have one GR1 Field and one GR1 rucksack. Above is what it looks like when attached. Below is the process of how to get there.

MOLLE webbing is identified by the rows of webbing bartacked down. Bartacking is a very heavy duty, zigzagged cross stitch that uses a special machine, appropriately called a bartacker.  We bartack all major stress points in our gear. On the left (above), GR1 Field, on the right, the interior top of GR1. I’ve pulled back the side panels of the GR1, akin to folding it inside out.

On GR1 Field, there are strips of webbing that run vertically — and these are the ‘glue’ that will keep it attached once it’s woven through the horizontal strips correctly. As a standalone item, you can tuck them in so they’re out of the way (above). But to connect the pockets to the MOLLE webbing on the rucks, the first step is to pull them out (below).

The end of each strip of webbing has a piece of hard plastic in it. It’s sandwiched between webbing that is folded back onto itself – then sewn closed, so you’ll feel but never see the plastic. This makes each strip more secure when tucked in, and easier to work with as you’re attaching the pockets.

The process is essentially a weave. Take all four vertical strips and pull them each through the top layer of MOLLE webbing on the ruck (above).

Second step (above): pull the webbing back through the horizontal row of webbing on GR1 itself.

At this point, pull the vertical strips tight so that you have slack again.

Pull the vertical strips through the second row of MOLLE webbing on the rucksack — and then back through the second, and final row of MOLLE webbing on GR1 Field (above).

Then pull the webbing to create the slack you’ll need for the last row (above).

Pull the vertical webbing through the last row of MOLLE webbing on the ruck (above). Also notice above that in the background two of the vertical strips are tucked back in and no longer exposed.  The two in the foreground are still out, the next step (below) is to tuck them back into the compartment designed to house them in the Field Pocket itself.

This GR1 Field Pocket isn’t going anywhere, it’s totally secure. I like utilizing the top of the ruck a little bit more, since I typically set my GR1 down and things at the top are what are most accessible. Having GR1 Field there helps.

GR1 Field opened within the top of GR1. This system allows for even more compartmentalization — and everything you put in there is easily accessible, and even more organized.


  1. MattBH says:

    This is a really helpful post for someone whose never used MOLLE before – thanks for sharing it.

    In the context of a GORUCK Challenge, has anyone used the MOLLE at the top inside of the bags to attach their bricks? I figure getting them higher on your back & in one place would make life easier…

  2. Benjamin Voetberg says:

    I strap in my bricks using the molle for both my GRCs. You don’t want the bricks shifting.

    ON a side note I wanted to thank Jason for this quick molle tutorial. I read this right before I went to CAST, Combat Airmen Skills Training. I was the only person who properly weaved their molle when attaching my ammo pouches and proceeded to show others how to do it.

  3. Brendan C says:

    Hey y’all: another great way to attach isht to the MOLLE system is with Blackhawk speedclips. Check ’em out.

  4. Seth says:

    Question – Once you put your GR1 Field into your GR1, is there room below for binders, notebooks, etc without overlapping on the Field? Hopefully you’ve tried it already and it works? Thanks

  5. StephenW says:

    Thank you for the tutorial. During my time as a SP in the Air Force we used ALICE clips for our gear. My awesome girlfriend got me one of your rucks for Christmas. Now I’ll be ordering some add on pouches. I’m a street cop and using the ruck for my gear. But now I want more for off-duty and other purposes.

  6. qu says:

    military issue molle gear has buttons on the end of them to button down at least it did when i used it. i was confused as to what to do with the end of the straps and upon closer inspection of the pics, i see that you have to tuck them back inside. how much force would it take to pull one of these loose?

  7. jason says:

    Once the ends of the webbing is tucked in, it’s not going anywhere unless you are intentionally pulling them out.

  8. John says:

    @qu – I just got my Radio FP. I attached it as directed. To test it out I put 6 bricks in my GR1 and, while holding only the Radio FP handle, I spun around as fast as I could for as long as I could, safely. It held on tight.
    If you’re encountering forces stronger than that, there are some other issues to discuss.

  9. Aaron says:

    In what way will the GR2 field be oversized on the outside of the GR1 Ruck? Does it hang over the bottom, sides, or both? Will it still attach securely? I look forward to the Jan. 19th challenge in Columbus. Need to gear up and get rucking with some bricks.

  10. jason says:

    Aaron – it has an extra row of MOLLE webbing (which means more length overall). It will definitely attach securely, but it’ll be a little long on the bottom of GR1 if you attach it to the exterior. It’s still functional, though.

  11. Dan says:

    Interesting… I have a GR1 and the webbing is actually centred which means that you don’t get left with a space on one side to put your knife/torch/pen.

    It’s not a problem for me anymore since the counseling but worth mentioning I think.

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