of the first things we learned about the Molly Mac Pack is that cinch
straps must use a single point of attachment to the MOLLE panel. It is
tempting to run the cinch strap through two or more loops of webbing,
but that will introduce unnecessary stresses, which tend to pull the
pack together. Each cinch strap should be attached to a single webbing
loop, so that when you cinch it down tight, the only stress is that
which compresses the stuff sack.
- Build your load by
making a stack of stuff sacks, with the heavier ones at the bottom. By
keeping adjacent cinch straps close to one another, attached on every
other webbing loop, the stuff sacks will hold each other firmly in
- To attach a cinch strap to one point on the PALS
array, just make a small loop in the cinch strap, about six inches
below the female half of the buckle. Push the loop through the webbing
just enough to insert the male half of the buckle through the loop.
Pull the rest of the cinch strap through the loop and tighten it up. If
you shorten up the end with the female buckle, you won't run out of strap before you get it cinched
Adjusting Shoulder Straps and Waist Belt
- Three or four small cinch straps are all you
need to attach a water bladder to your load. Just lash the water bladder to
straps that are already holding your load. The vertical strap on the
water carrier can be cinched tight over the top of the load to keep the
topmost stuff sack from rolling forward and hitting the hiker in the
can adjust or reposition shoulder straps without using any tools. Two
inch webbing tails are sewn to the shoulder straps and
waist belt. Insert the 2" tails through four
or five webbing loops, then double back until the tail is buried. That will hold them fast. Since the PALS array is bar tacked every 1 7/8", the 2" webbing
tails are a tight fit. The bitter ends of the 2" tails are folded
and sewn, so that they will be reluctant to wiggle out
often been asked, "Why do you have the PALS array webbing on the part that
goes against your back? Wouldn't it save weight to eliminate the unused
The webbing on the back allows you to adjust the shoulder straps and
waist belt to fit different sized people. Making the pack is less work only if you can eliminate entire rows of webbing. The shoulder
straps use the rows at the top, and the waist belt uses the rows at the
the stitches are shared by matching rows of webbing on the front and
the back, making for a very strong construction. There's a bigger reason, though.Curvature of the Molly Mac Pack when loaded
you have a PALS array on one side, you cannot stitch anything to the
other side. Conversely, once you stitch straps and a belt onto one
side, it is very difficult to stitch a webbing array on the other side.
Hence, the original design decision to use a double sided PALS panel, and
attach the shoulder straps and belt using the webbing array.
Day Tripping, Summer vs. Winter
down a load of stuff sacks on the Molly Mac Pack has the effect of
pulling the base fabric in the direction of the load. This causes a
slight curvature of the pack, which fortuitously favors the shape of
your back. It is a feature, not a flaw. It will usually allow air flow
between your back and the pack, which is nice.
Protection from Rain
configure your Molly Mac Pack for a day hike, simply remove some
of the cinch straps, and consider using a couple of military surplus
MOLLE pouches. You will also notice that your winter load requires
seven or eight stuff sacks, while your summer load can fit in four or
five. Just keep the heavier sacks low, cinch everything down tight,
and remove the cinch straps you don't need.
Protection from Rodents and Bears
large size pack cover will fit the Molly Mac Pack. However, if you use
wtareproof stuff sacks, or waterproof bags inside the stuff sacks, you won't need a pack cover. At least one of
your stuff sacks should have a roll top, waterproof seal. That's where you put your matches and dryer lint.
Carrying Cordage, Tools with Handles, and other long, small diameter cylinders
pack carries a bear cannister or bear bag better than a Molly Mac Pack!
Also, after making camp, you can hoist the entire Molly Mac
Pack into a tree. It's waterproof!
best place to stow cordage it in between stuff sacks. Normally, each
pair of cinch straps will be attached with one unused webbing loop
between them. That's the place to put a small cinch strap, to stow rope
or coils of twine between stuff sacks, right up against the Molly
panel. This also works well for hatchets, saws and map tubes.
Anything long and narrow can be secured between stuff sacks. Some
things can be slipped into thoses spaces without using a cinch strap.