View Full Version : Mollex / Express for EDC?

02-03-2010, 09:31 PM
I know this topic has come up in some shape or form a number of times previously on these boards, but I'm having a tough time deciding between a Mollex and X-Ray for EDC/General Purpose pack. I've been using a Maxpedition Condor II for EDC for a while, and it's just a bit too small, so I've decided to upgrade to one of these two other packs, with mini-longs and an organizer added.

I'm leaning heavily towards the Mollex (i.e. I've got the shopping cart ready to send payment), because the general concensus seems to be 'better to buy a pack that's a little too big, than not big enough'. I'm just concerned that the Mollex is a little bit bigger than 'a little bit' too big, for my liking. Just figured I'd ask here, who uses their Mollex or Express for EDC, and how do you find the size to be? Obviously it won't be as lowprofile as a messenger bag or something similar, but you don't get too many people's eyes popping out of their heads when they see your pack, do you?

02-04-2010, 07:35 AM

I went through pretty much the same decision making process. I use an E&E a lot as an EDC and short summer hikes. I own a ZXR (to big for everyday honest...) and have had a Marauder.
My old day pack was a Berghaus Munro but this finally got the bullet after 10 years or so. After mulling it over the express/omni belt combo looked like a winner in terms of putting minimal load on my back and without any pockets attached it's actually a fairly narrow profile which is as handy in the city as it is scrambling through rocks.
I went for the Mollex as I have quite a few pals pouches but if anything (with hindsight) I think the non-molle express is maybe the better buy for EDC. You are much less likely to clutter it up with add on's and the internal capacity is surprisingly good given the shape of the pack. I keep a set of waterproofs and gilet in a small Kifaru compression sack in the bottom permenantly and have enough space for work kit or a overnight stop in the woods.
The extra capacity, over say the X-Ray, without external pouches is often useful and even full it seems like far less on my back than when I use my wife's 30l Lowe day pack.

I just can't find fault with the Express models.

Good Hunting Oz.

02-04-2010, 11:01 AM
My two cents...I've carried many different packs in my 20+ years in the military. One of the reasons for my multiple packs "problem" is that I am a gear hound, and as such, always have my eye out for something I don't have, but I "need".

That fact aside, the real pack issue for me as an EDC is 1. Can it haul all the crap I need to haul. 2. Can I get it on a plane without having to check it. (Or become one of those folks I can't stand that haul a coffin sized pack onto the plane as a 'carryon'.)

I migrated in the last few years through Blackhawk Raptors and 3 Day packs, Camelbak Talons and Hawgs, and most recently the North Face Terra 30. All had things I liked and things that I didn't. Then I was talking to Cass at MilitraryMorons about what I was really 'needing' in a pack. He suggested a few different brands/models, and I zeroed in on the Express and the XRay. He said he had traveled a lot with both and liked both. When I saw the Express, I was in love.

I can't say enough good things about the Express for my needs. The shape of the pack is exactly what I was looking for...the narrow upper portion of the pack (doesn't get in the way of my arms) and the wider portion of the bottom of the pack is, to me, perfect. Fully loaded with outer gear, computer, and whatever else I think I need for the TDY, it fits in the overhead bins of every plane I've had to travel in (which includes many little prop driven commuter planes). Wider packs have occasionally presented problems in this situation.

As for the people staring factor, with all the other military guys running around airports these days, my multicam Express doesn't get a blink of attention for that reason. Quality is appreciated most by those who require it, and the easy way to draw out the other 'gear hounds' in an airport is to hump around a Kifaru pack.

All that to say, depending on what you need to haul, IMHO, you can't go wrong with the Express.

02-04-2010, 11:47 AM
Unless you are a midget I would recommend the Express. The Xray is just too short to have any advantage of the omni suspension. I had an Xray and sold it because it was too short for my 5'4" wife.


02-04-2010, 12:04 PM
Thanks guys. Your responses have been really helpful. I think Cameron's post put the nail in the X-Ray's coffin; I'll be getting the Mollex. I guess one last question - for carrying the occasional extra bulky item, what would you recommend, a grab-it, or medium pod?

DH 07
02-04-2010, 12:34 PM
As a long-time lurker and a new owner of an XRay, I'll throw my 2 cents in. I was trying to make the same decision as you (Mollex vs XRay) -- I think it is clear that people love both.

My need was a pack that I could use for EDC, day hikes and overnight trips on commercial airlines. I'm in the middle of my first trip with the XRay (literally -- I am on wi-fi at 35k ft -- technology is amazing) and I have to say that the XRay has been wonderful so far. I like it precisely because it is not big -- it does not draw much attention in the city, it is easy to stow under seats or overhead, but it does allow me to carry everything I need (this trip: laptop, kindle, change of clothes, Dopp kit, some work files and my basic EDC load, which I assume like most of you, is not insignificant). I find that it carries the load well, and looks very plain on my 5'10", 200 lb frame.

I do not have alot of miles on it, and cannot speak at all to a comparison vs a mollex, or to its ability to handle heavy loads. But I for me, I know I will never have more than 30 lbs in it, and I am very happy with it thus far.

Hope this data point helps.


square peg
02-04-2010, 02:50 PM
I currently have the xray and had the express. I gave the express to my dad. Dont get me wrong, I miss the express but it was too big for my edc needs and not near enough organization. Plus for edc having the hybrid openings makes it a lot easier to get at things. My xray is always in the truck with a woobie in the bottom, some ibex woolies, socks, gloves and a hat in a sea-to-summit hydro stuff sack, and a bag of misc food, an alcohol stove and alcohol nestled in a titanium cup. On the inside of the front loader I have pouches attached that contain batteries, parachord, a powermonkey/solar charger, and a multitool. I still have room for a lunch and sweatshirt or light shell and anetbook and it isn't compressed well inside. On the outside I have a Tad gear ops1 organizer with a lot of goodies inside. FAK, flashlight and tissue in the top pocket. I am in a SAR unit and have used this setup for shorter searches with much success. Granted, the express rides better over terrain and extended hikes. I am ok with that because I haven't been able to load up the xray enough to cause discomfort. I am 5'10" and 180# and do find the pack a little on the short side but not a big deal. For edc/travel, I think the xray wins out. I will someday get the mollex for more strenuous day hikes, but so far I am pretty happy with the xray and its intended role.

02-04-2010, 03:54 PM
I currently own the non-Molle Express and love it for dayhikes/overnight and during the summer twonighters. I would highly recommend the pods for bulky items. My medium pod on the bottom holds my Slumberjack 3-season sleeping bag. I also one the small pod for the top (I have a Gen1 Express) which holds my Trek-light hammock and rope kit.

I also attach the small pod to my Tailgunner 1, which is my everyday carry and day hike pack.

Just my 2 cents. I also love the Pull outs and my Stash It pouch.

02-05-2010, 07:39 AM
Thanks guys. Your responses have been really helpful. I think Cameron's post put the nail in the X-Ray's coffin; I'll be getting the Mollex. I guess one last question - for carrying the occasional extra bulky item, what would you recommend, a grab-it, or medium pod?

Get both.

A medium pod carries a compressed sleeping bag or similar very well. That way you can just "upgrade" your EDC to a overnighter by just attaching a pre-packed pod.

The grab it is ideal for keeping an outer or warm layer handy to minimise the amount of time stopping when adjusting clothing on the move. For smaller items that I want to hold more securely but still get to quickly I fit the grab it upside down. Ive not had a problem with hats, gloves or fleece vest falling out.

Pocket Lint
02-05-2010, 05:33 PM
I thought I would stand up for the Xray here in this one. I think the Xray is the perfect size EDC bag for my needs ... I use a GPS pouch and stash-it on the side for extra organization and works out perfect. I love the design and I don't think any other pack can even come close to the bond I share with my Xray :D haha

Even though I don't own an Express, I think it would still be a great EDC pack, I see it as an Xray, with more capacity.

If it means anything, I'm 6' and I don't use an omni-belt for my xray because I feel I don't need one all the time, although if I'm going to load her up to the max and carry it all day I would use one, but most of the time I just stuff her with the things I need and go.

02-10-2010, 03:55 AM
Andy, what do you mean when you say that you fit the Grab-it upside down? I'm rather impressed with mine, and if there's another way of using it so much the better.

No pic at the moment but I thread the metal buckles through the pals webbing at whatever height I need on the pack, this is then becomes the top.
The long/compression strap I clinch down and secure to pals on the lower sides of the pack. This seems to be secure enough for light items, the metal buckle can potentially pull out under load as they will turn over but weaving a short length of 1" webbing through them and the pals will help. This just seems to fit some items better.

There is the possibility of using two grab-its; one conventionally and one upside down high on the pack; to hold some longer objects.

02-14-2010, 03:30 AM
I would go for a MolleX, instead of the plain Express.
I love its versatility and modularity, if you need to expand your pack, do it. If not, also fine...

For the ite Molle Express is one of the greatest packs...