Apparently, not all MOLLE canteen pouches are made with ease of access in mind. Frustrating, to say the least.
Now, I’ve had a number of the popular repro canteen pouches over the years – all of which are EI clones (Flyye, TMC). I picked up a cheap surplus London Brqdige Trading (LBT) contract pouch from LegitKit on eBay a few weeks back, thinking, “oh, it is a LBT item so it must be alright.” But nope, I was sorely mistaken – the Eagle Industries (EI) surplus pouch that was equally cheap from 92yankee definitely is much more useable as the canteen carrier that both are designed to be.
I won’t go into details about the colours or manufacturers here, as I just want to speak on the design of said canteen pouches and how they are actually very different – but for reference, the CB pouch is a contract LBT, and the Khaki pouch is a surplus EI. Both were had for cheap, as they were surplus items (bonus – in clean condition).
Essentially, the problem I was having with the LBT is that I had difficulty stashing a canteen inside the pouch. Huh, a canteen pouch that doesn’t seem to fit a canteen easily – because that makes sense. This, in comparison to the EI, which though a little tight because of the elastic top that both pouches feature, was infinitely easier to jam a canteen back into the pouch once I was done with my quick sip.
The difference between the pouches is relatively minor (as you can see from the photo nearest the top, they look very similar fron the front), yet adds up to two very different pouches when we’re talking about functionality.
Whereas the elastic opening for the EI sits close to the top weave of PALS, the LBT opening rides really high above this top weave. This LBT design allows the opening of the pouch to flop around a bit, while trying to reinsert the intended canteen. Because that makes sense.
On the other hand, the EI design has an opening that sits tucked in much closer to the PALS weave, allowing for easier insertion of said canteen while the pouch is mounted to MOLLE. Less flop works wonders for this.
Lesson learned… as “Jetlag” put it when I was discussing the apparent oversight of the LBT canteen pouch design: LBT makes good “big stuff,” whereas their smaller items (pouches, etc) aren’t usually as good as other designs on the market.
I was honestly expecting much more from this company that seems to be so highly regarded by airsofters. I just don’t understand why LBT would try to reinvent such a simple design on a dedicated pouch, and without seeming to have tested it themselves to see if it works as good as the other options out there.