Templar Assault Systems' MOLLE Belt Bag
As always, we're looking at the TAS MOLLE Belt Bag from the point of view of long distance trekking over tough terrain.
Test subject: Chest 42", Waist 33", Height: 5ft 8"
Test item: Templar Assault Systems MOLLE Pouch Enhanced (Coyote Tan)
Kit Tests: Multiple Winter and Summer
Disclaimer: None required (item not provided by manufacturer)
|Materials: 1000D rot-proof Nylon Cordura||100%|
|Treatments: Water resistant inner coating + DWR treatment on face fabric||-|
|Dimensions (Height x Width x Depth):||25cm x 18cm x 8cm|
|Capacity (Litres):||3.5 - 4.0|
|Scramble's Price on SYSTEM||£12.50|
Introduction: Wasted on machine guns
The TAS Belt Bag is a military grade MOLLE pouch designed to carry light machine gun rounds, but its creators accidentally came up with the perfect belt bag for long distance trekking.
Being a MOLLE pouch means that it can be attached to any molle compatible system (see image below), but for this review, we're specifically interested in this item as a belt bag.
The MOLLE attchment system (image credit: KarrimorSF.com)
So why a belt bag?
The benefits of a hip belt system:
- Weight carried on hips alleviates weight on shoulders
- Immediate access to essential gear whilst on the move
- Prevents items getting scattered through myriad pockets (pack, jacket, trouser) and the need to decant items when switching jackets
- Some clothing combinations (especially in warm weather) don't have pockets
- Essentials always to hand whether pack is on or off
- Having a well organised system prevents wasting time looking for stuff
- A separate padded hip belt can easily carry 3 or 4 pouches / cases: on mine I have this TAS Belt Bag, a Lowepro Apex 60 camera case and a Bulldog Tactical Medium Upright Laser Molle 1 litre water bottle pouch
- Backpack hip belts are a less versatile loading option; still marginally increase overall load on the shoulders, and provide a limited area to hold extra gear
Wear & Tear
When in the middle of nowhere, two items you simply cannot afford to fail are your footwear and your pack (incl. other load carrying equipment). For these items, when trekking over long distances, I'd favour robustness over weight every time.
The difference between UK made, military grade items and their cheapo look-a-like counterparts is stark, and easily discernible once held in the hand. Companies like Templar Assault Systems, Bulldog Tactical Gear, British Tactical, KarrimorSF (not Karrimor) et al make kit for the military, companies like Webtex, Viper and Kombat do not.
The TAS Belt Bag is made from 1000D Cordura and is probably the toughest bit of kit we carry. It's taken an absolute beating in the four years I've had it. To give some indication of how it's held up to all this abuse, the images in this review are of my own bag (gp-net shot these images for us, because no decent stock images were available). So, after 4 years it's still in good enough condition to represent a new item for stock product images.
Industrial Strength Hook & Loop
The TAS Belt Bag has two compartments, both are lidded with a large hook & loop closure of industrial strength (it's sad to enthuse about velcro, but the stuff used on these bags is impressive). Also, by using such a large square of hook & loop, there's no lining up required, you just pull over the lid and it's securely shut.
The side pocket is pretty handy and large enough to hold a 150g (Arktis) hooded wind shirt.
The main compartment is approx 3.5 litres, though due to the large velcro attachment you can overload it. I pack mine with two Exped dry bags (a 3L and a 5L), a) to keep stuff dry, and b) to compartmentalise two types of contents. To give some idea of the capacity of the TAS Belt Bag, here's what it contained in Scramble's Winter 2016 Kit Test:
TAS Belt Bag Contents
Dry Bag 1 (Clothing Accessories): Exped Waterproof Fold Drybag S Yellow (5L)
- Ussen Flight Gloves (Cut-Offs)
- Extremities Sticky Thinny Glove
- Mountain Equipment Men's Touch Glove
- Sub Zero Meraklon Thermal Balaclava
- Mountain Equipment Plain Knitted Beanie
- Montane Pace Cap
Dry Bag 2 (Hardware): Exped Waterproof Fold Drybag XS Green (3L)
- Fire Steel
- Zippo Lighter
- Petzl ZIPKA Headlamp
- Petzl Tikkina Headlamp
- Luger Monocular
- Gaffa Tape (Folded)
- Velcro Self Gripping Ties
- Leukoplast Zinc Oxide Tape
- Multimat Repair Kit
- Ka-Bar Dozier Hunter Folder Knife
- Gerber Diamond Pocket Knife Sharpener
- Mini Multi Tool
At the back side of the main compartment is a small pocket. This can be detached and made into a divider, splitting the bag into two compartments.
The only negative we can come up with is directly a result of one of its great strengths: its robustness. As a consequence the TAS Belt Bag is not going to please the ultralight community. That said, something made to hold machine gun rounds, will comfortably handle all the stuff one needs to hand while clocking up the miles.
Conclusion & Rating
The TAS MOLLE Belt Bag is one of the few items that has made every trip since I've owned it. There's never any debate, it just comes with. If you're trekking long distances and are miles from anywhere, you need kit that won't fail; the TAS Belt Bag is as tough as they come.
In terms of functionality, it's near perfect, there's nothing we'd change. With most kit, something pisses you off at some point (even if it's just because you're tired), but this is one of those items that does its job so well you never really notice it.
In conclusion, a stalwart; and once used, an absolutely indispensable item, making Templar Assault Systems' MOLLE Pouch, Scramble's top pick in the belt bag category.
Product Images (for a closer look)
Rating (out of 10)
* The value score is derived from two factors:
1) Competitive Market Price (CMP). This represents our judgement of a competitive online price point if we were to stock the item. e.g. if we feel we would need to sell an item at 40% off (i.e. 60% of its full RRP) to be competitive, then our CMP score will be 6/10.
2) Customer Value Price (CVP). We then make an honest appraisal of the maximum price we would be willing to pay for the item (and we're mean). So if we'd pay 80% of its RRP our CVP score would be 8/10.
We then average the two scores to get our final value score, which in our example would be 7/10.
Last Updated: 05/09/18 (new pics)