Wolf Tooth Morse Cargo Cage Bikepacking Review

At a Glance

  • Wolf Tooth’s Morse Cargo Cage is a small and unobtrusive perch for large bottles and small dry bags on your fork or downtube.
  • It’s one of the smaller and lighter cargo-style cages on the market, with a very adjustable mounting system to fit odd spaces.
  • It’s available both with or without high quality rubber straps.
  • I found it to be perfect for carrying a big bottle in the small space beneath my downtube, and for fork bags up to about 3 liters, but I don’t think it’s big enough to haul my larger 5-liter dry bags securely.

I’ve been going down the cargo cage rabbit hole lately, and the Morse Cargo Cage from Wolf Tooth is my latest experiment.

For many thousands of miles I’ve hauled gear in Blackburn Outpost cages, and they’ve never let me down no matter how much I overloaded them or how poorly I packed my big lumpy dry bags. Recently I bought a Salsa Anything EXP cage and ran a side-by-side test with the Outpost, and found them both equally burly and capable.

But after hearing from some readers that neither of these cages fit under their downtubes without chainring collision, I started to wonder: what are the best contenders for smaller cargo cages? I generally like Wolf Tooth gear and their cage fit the bill, so I ordered one for my most recent trip.

That’s how I learned that there are cargo cages, and there are cargo cages. The Wolf Tooth Morse is, I suppose, the former. While technically in the same category as the Anything, it’s a much svelter and more compact take on the concept.

I like the Morse Cargo Cage a lot, but I don’t consider it a direct competitor to bigger cages like the Anything or Outpost. It carries a smaller subset of things, but it does so more discreetly. This review shares what I think the Morse is great for, why its mounting system is unique, and how it stacks up against other cages in terms of price and value.

Related: see more posts about cargo cages

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Morse Cargo Cage Overview

Product: Wolf Tooth Morse Cargo Cage

Price: $40 without straps, $52 with
Weight: 60 g / 2.1 oz (measured without straps or hardware)
Size: 7″ x  2.8″ x 1.5″
Material: 5052 aluminum
Cargo weight limit: not listed
Mounting bolts: 3

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Shop Morse Cargo Cage at:

What I love about the Morse Cargo Cage:

  • Small size and space-efficient design
  • Sturdy 3-bolt mount
  • Lightweight
  • Several strap routing options and good strap retention
  • Available with or without high-quality rubber straps
  • Large vertical adjustment range
  • Unique side mount option

Could be better:

  • Too small for larger bags that are soft or lumpy
  • Relatively expensive
  • Base can bend where it attaches to the cradle

My conclusion: The Morse Cargo Cage from Wolf Tooth is a small, light, versatile cargo cage perfect for tight spaces and compact loads. An impressive number of mounting options ensure that if any cage will fit your challenging spot, it’s this one. There are more affordable options out there, and more supportive cages to handle your big lumpy 5-liter dry bag. But for small dry bags and rigid bottles the Morse does its job well while staying out of the way.

How I Tested the Morse Cargo Cage

I tested the Morse during a two week bikepacking trip in Baja. I’m a long-time Blackburn Outpost cage user, but I was trying the OMM Elkhorn rack on this trip and needed five(!) cargo cages for my setup. The Outpost has always been a tight fit under my downtube, barely clearing my chainring. Since I needed to buy another cage anyway I decided to try something smaller.

On this trip I ran the Morse Cargo Cage under my downtube where it carried a big 1.5 liter water bottle with a Voile strap. I mounted it with only two bolts since that’s all my bike has in this position, but they were sturdy ones.

The terrain on this trip was mostly off-pavement and ranged from hard-packed dirt roads to chunky rocky doubletrack, with the occasional sandy slog mixed in.

My Morse Cargo Cage holding a 1.5 liter water bottle while bikepacking in Baja, Mexico.
Hard at work testing my Morse Cargo Cage in sunny Baja in the middle of January. Life is tough!

Size and Shape

What stands out to me most about the Morse Cargo Cage is its space-efficient design. It’s on the small side as cargo cages go, comparable to the Widefoot and significantly smaller than the Outpost and burly Anything cages.

Related: Cargo Cage Battle: Outpost vs. Anything

Its slim profile and highly adjustable mounting options make it a great cage to wedge in a tight spot like under a downtube, inside your frame triangle, or on your seatstays if you’re into that (beware heal clearance issues).

Of course the ultimate question when it comes to cargo cages is: what can it carry? For starters, it’s great for rigid bottles of any size. The “wings” are thoughtfully flared so the cage can hug a smaller-diameter bottle and also fit tightly against a larger one. The small base isn’t an issue because rigid bottles only need a small base of support to stay put.

The Morse Cargo Cage fits well in tighter spaces, and the flared sides make it a tight fit against bottles of any diameter.

It also works for smaller dry bags, I would say in the 2-3 liter range. If you’re using a fork-specific bag with some rigidity to the sides and bottom you can get away with something a bit larger. A tightly packed larger stuff sack full of clothes or a sleeping bag, or something with some structure like a rolled up inflatable sleeping pad, would probably work.

I would NOT recommend using the Morse Cargo Cage with large (3+ liter), bulky, lumpy dry bags. I often run 5-liter dry bags, stuffed haphazardly with food and other lumpy things, in Outpost or Anything cages. The larger base and wider cradle on those bigger cages can support the load, but the small base on the Morse is likely to lead to some slippage.

The Morse’s diminutive stature is a nice benefit for folks who load and unload their bike often. I can’t bring myself to run empty Outpost or Anything cages on my unloaded bike — they’re just too bulky. But the Morse Cargo Cage is small and light enough that I don’t mind leaving it empty on a day ride.

The Morse Cargo Cage (right) is much smaller than some popular cages like the Salsa Anything (left) and Blackburn Outpost (middle).
The Morse Cargo Cage’s small base may not be supportive enough for larger dry bags. Salsa Anything (left), Blackburn Outpost (middle), Wolf Tooth Morse Cargo (right).
This overloaded setup, which is using Blackburn Outpost cages, would NOT work well with the smaller Morse Cargo Cage.

Mounting Options

The Morse Cargo Cage has one of the more adjustable mounting setups I’ve seen. It’s even in the name: the “dot dash” mounting plate suggestive of Morse Code allows for 35mm of vertical adjustment.

That’s a lot of possible bolt placements!

Its most unique feature is the ability to mount along either side of the cradle in addition to the center spine. Admittedly this isn’t a feature most people need, but it can spark some creativity, and if you do need it you’ll be overjoyed to have it. Spots where this might be useful include angled fork mounts, smaller or folding bikes, the elusive seat stay mount, and probably others I’m not creative enough to think of.

I have no idea if this actually works in practice, but if your bike has seat stay mounts the side mounting option could keep the cage tucked away and the cargo further from the wheel.

For the folks who don’t have bolts in the right places, I’ll note that the Morse’s thin mounting plate and plentiful slots seem well-suited to a scrappy electrical tape or hose clamp mounting setup.

Straps and Routing

The Morse Cargo cage is available both with and without straps. Since many of us already have a pile of Voile straps in our gear bin, it’s nice to have the choice.

The straps, if you do choose to buy them, are good quality rubber Voile-style straps. The 20″ length seems about right to me given the cage’s suitability for smaller bags. You’ll probably have some extra tail left over, but the straps have a tail keeper and you may be glad for the extra length if you ever want to use the straps for a different purpose.

The cage is available by itself or with two quality rubber straps.

The Morse’s theme of flexibility continues with many options for strap routing. Whether you use one, two, or three straps, you’ll find evenly spaced slots (though two is the ideal number in my opinion). The outer slots work well for retaining the straps when the cage is empty, or for routing straps around the fork blade or tube for extra support.

Weight

It’s no ultralight carbon bottle cage, but for a cargo cage the Morse is fairly light at 60 g (2.1 oz). For comparison that’s less than half the weight of the larger Salsa Anything (5.2 oz) or Blackburn Outpost (4.4 oz). This is another reason I don’t mind leaving the Morse Cargo Cage on my bike even when empty.

Durability

The Morse Cargo Cage is made from 5052 aluminum that starts as a flat sheet which is stamped and bent into shape. It’s corrosion resistant and fairly durable. However, I did notice one weak spot during my testing.

The base of the cage is connected to the cradle by a strip of aluminum, and it’s possible to bend the base out of 90 degree alignment. I first noticed this when I accidentally cinched the strap with my bottle not properly seated in the cage. I was surprised to look down and find the base pointing about 45 degrees downward, but I was able to bend it back by hand.

I’ve been more careful since then and it hasn’t happened again, and it doesn’t seem to happen from normal use. But I would worry about potentially weakening the material in this critical spot if it happened multiple times.

This issue seems like a byproduct of how the cage is made. Given that it starts flat and is bent into shape, I can see why they weren’t able to attach the edges of the base to the sides of the cradle. Perhaps the connecting piece should be a bit wider to compensate. In any case, I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker but is something to be aware of if you plan to use this cage hard.

Price and Value

The Morse is one of the more expensive cargo cages on the market at $40 (ok, $39.95) without straps and $52 with straps. The Salsa Anything EXP cage, by comparison, retails for $35 including two rubber straps.

But it’s not the most expensive cargo cage out there either. I believe that honor goes to the King Cage titanium Manything at $66 including straps, or perhaps another spendy I option I have yet to hear about.

If you buy the Morse cargo cage plus two straps the price is $12 more than the cage alone, which is a good deal on the straps. A pair of rubber straps like these would typically cost $16 or more.

Alternatives

The closest alternative to the Morse Cargo Cage seems to be the Widefoot, another made-in-the-US aluminum cage with similar dimensions, similar price, and a similarly adjustable mounting style (minus the side mount option). I haven’t tried the Widefoot so won’t comment on the relative pros and cons.

Conclusion

I think the Morse Cargo Cage is a great option for bikepackers running small fork bags or large bottles. It’s not a direct competitor to larger cages like the Anything EXP and Outpost, which can handle bulkier and lumpier loads more securely. But in exchange for the smaller capacity you get a svelte, lightweight, flexible cage that can fit into the tightest spaces and won’t seem out of place if you occasionally run it empty.

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About the Author

Hi there, I’m Alissa, founder of Exploring Wild. I’ve traveled over 19,000 miles by bike and still can’t stop planning my next ride (and helping you plan yours). Pavement and panniers or singletrack and seat bag, I love it all. On my bike I feel free. Learn more about me here.

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