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In the Fallout series, the weight of a player character's items is measured in pounds. Most items have a weight value; the total weight one carries is the total weight value of all items being carried, including those equipped. Carrying too much, i.e. when the total weight of items exceeds the player's Carry Weight, can affect a player's movement speed and other abilities.
Weight Relative to Limit
The amount of weight the player is carrying compared to the weight limit is shown on the Pip-Boy along the top of the display when on the items screen. The weight values show up as a fraction next to the Wg label, with the current total weight carried versus the weight limit coming after the /.
In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, the weight limit will not forcibly stop you from carrying more if surpassed, rather it prompts constraints on the player's movement speed and physical capabilities. Being exactly at the weight limit will not affect player movement; the player is only penalized for going over the limit. The Strength ability increases the player's weight limit by 10 weight per 1 strength gained and decreases by 10 weight per 1 strength drop.
Once over the weight limit, the Lone Wanderer and the Courier will be unable to use the fast travel feature, however, a perk was introduced in Fallout: New Vegas that allows the Courier to fast travel when over-encumbered. Being over the limit does not affect the player's ability to sneak, engage in combat, or any other normal functionality, but does restrict movement speed to a slow walk and removes the player's ability to jump. The Sole Survivor can jump while over-encumbered without any special perks.
Most items have a weight value listed in their description.
- In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, any item with a weight rating of - - has no weight, and therefore may be carried in any quantity without contributing to the weight limit. For the Vault Dweller, the Chosen One and the Warrior, very few items they encounter will have no carry weight, most items notable for having no carry weight are chems. However, for the Lone Wanderer and the Courier, ammunition (with the exception of the Courier on Hardcore mode), quest items, and chems have no weight rating. An item with a weight value of 0 DOES have weight, it is simply less than a hundredth of a pound. The collective weight of these items will be added to the overall weight currently being carried, a good example is lead, which is often held in large quantities but displays a weight of 0.00.
Because the effects of being over the limit are counterproductive, it is important to remain in control of your inventory. There are some steps the player character can take to having a manageable and flexible inventory, they are as follows.
Storage, Player Housing and Companions
For Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics players; deciding to pick a memorable, easy to get to the location on the world map is a typical means of storing unused items. Fallout 2 players can also use the Highwayman.
In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, the previous principle still applies, although one must be wary as some locations revert to default condition with certain triggers, storage containers such as lockers, boxes, or vending machines are very common and available to use for temporary storage until you get a long-term or permanent home.
- For Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, most containers are world objects, and therefore, cannot be carried; however, despite what it says on the Grab page, enemies (and friends) that you kill in the wasteland are containers with infinite inventory, and can be grabbed. You can utilize this in partial, to bypass the over-encumbrance mechanic. See the Fallout 3 exploits page for more details.
Player housing is an area or location with a usable bed. Most have storage facilities, basic or a variety (although you technically only need one, as they have an infinite capacity, having a variety allows the player character to separate and organize as they see fit). In Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas optional, but permanent player housing is provided. In Fallout 3, My Megaton house and the Tenpenny Tower suite are available to the player as safe storage for items and telling companions to wait. In Fallout: New Vegas, there are 3 available in the Strip's casinos (Lucky 38 presidential suite, the Tops presidential suite, and the Bon Vivant suite in the Ultra-Luxe). Another can be acquired in Novac. All but the Lucky 38's housing have specific conditions, but all are optional. The only difference in Fallout: New Vegas is that companions will not wait indefinitely in permanent player housing, but can however be dismissed to the Lucky 38 if one wishes. In both games, there are apt and expandable storage facilities to use and purchase.
Companions are the player character's followers are capable of carrying items the player character offloads onto them. Their carry limits vary and they are set to not carry any more than specified. If a companion is killed, the items can be retrieved from their body. If they are dismissed, the player character must re-hire them or kill them to reclaim their items. If a companion leaves permanently due to player actions, their inventory is automatically offloaded onto the player character. Temporary companions that have been given items will have to be pickpocketed, reverse pickpocketed or killed.
Planning, Accumulating and Dropping
Planning is advisable in certain ventures, for example; entering Zion Canyon to start the Honest Hearts quests in Fallout: New Vegas requires the Courier to enter with 100 weight. or less of items. If you can anticipate what you may, or may not, need for specific ventures, it is advisable you plan accordingly.
On one's travels, a great variety of weapons, consumables, miscellaneous items, clothing and armor will be encountered. It is important to resist the urge to pick everything up. Consumable items such as food and drink are common across the wasteland, therefore there is only really a need to carry enough to regain health, acquire bonuses or hold back starvation or dehydration in Hardcore mode on Fallout: New Vegas.
Weapons and clothing should be limited to that which the player character feels they require or favor as they make up some of the heaviest items in the game. Additionally what appears to be a small weight, such as 0.5 for most explosives, will add up in high quantities. Miscellaneous items are picked up and carried around at the player character's choice but are often weightless, worthless, or easily discarded.
Unique items are one of a kind, therefore if you find them desirable pick them up as one find them or remember where they can be found.
In Hardcore mode on Fallout: New Vegas, ammunition has a weight value, therefore it is important to keep an eye on how much carry weight it is occupying and keeping it under control by storing it, using it, or selling it.
On the Pip-Boy when an item is selected you have the option to drop it, effectively discarding it where you stand, it will be its physical representation on the ground and, in Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas and Fallout 4, able to be physically picked up and moved. Items dropped on the ground in the Capital Wasteland have a chance of being picked up by non-player characters, and companions dismissed to the Lucky 38 will pick up and occasionally consume food items and equip weapons even if they are stored in containers.
Some items are worth very little yet have a lot of weight, such as fission batteries, or heavily damaged big guns or armor. Unless unique or planned to be repaired, they will provide relief and flexibility if dropped.
Quest items cannot be dropped or sold and can only be removed when it has fulfilled its use in the quest, whatever that may be. Up until Fallout: New Vegas, quest items could have a weight value. In Fallout 4 some quest items have weight again.
If one plans on traveling by foot and not using fast travel, dropping an object and pressing 'Z' on PC or clicking the right thumbstick/analog stick down on the 360 / PS3 will allow you to carry the object without it being in your inventory. While this allows one to move at full speed if you would otherwise be over the weight limit, it is limited to one item at a time and effectively prevents combat unless dropped again, it cannot be fast traveled with or enter buildings when not in your inventory and some items will not travel at the same speed as the player character when being carried.
Selling and repairing
By selling undesired items to traders one can free up the weight limit and can effectively de-clutter one's inventory. Traders will buy any item at a price determined by the player character's Barter skill.
Merchants have limited funds to pay for the items you are selling, and some are not available at certain times of the day. Alternatively, using items in one's inventory as a means to pay for more expensive items is a practical solution to lowering weight.
The game rewards a high Repair skill. The higher the player character's repair skill, the more useful multiple copies of repairable items are, for example, one may find yourself transitioning from 3 sets of raider painspike armor, worth an average of 20 caps each and weighing a total of 45 lbs., to a single set of painspike worth 100 caps and weighing 15 lbs.
Temporary and Permanent Boosts
Ant nectar, any alcohol, and Buffout all raise one's Strength skill for a limited amount of time. one can use these drugs to temporarily increase the amount one can carry and maintain a fast rate of movement and retain the ability to jump. Fortunately, if you are under the effects of these drugs, one can still fast travel even if the effect would have worn off during normal travel of that distance. In that case, the effects will wear off once the destination is reached from fast travel mode.
There are various types of armor that also boost one's strength and increase carrying capacity, including power armor.
Permanent solutions and boosts include:
- Intense Training, which allows the player character to permanently increase 1 SPECIAL stat, which includes strength, in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas.
- Strong Back, which grants the player character additional carry weight:
- 50 lbs. in Fallout, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout Tactics
- 25 lbs. at first rank, and 50 lbs. at second rank in Fallout 4. At third rank, the player character may run while over-encumbered at the cost of AP. The fourth rank allows the player character to fast travel while over-encumbered.
- 10lbs., 20lbs, 30lbs, and 40lbs. with successive ranks in Fallout 76.
- Burden to Bear, a perk with the same effect as Strong Back in Fallout: New Vegas add-on Lonesome Road add-on, stacks with "Strong Back".
- Hoarder, which grants a 25lb. increase to the weight limit at the cost of all attributes being decreased by 1 when the player character has below 160 lbs of carry weight.
- Pack Rat, which in Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics increases the weight limit by 50 lbs. However, this was changed in Fallout: New Vegas to halving the weight value of all items weighing 2 lbs. or less.
- Long Haul, which allows the player to fast travel when over-encumbered in Fallout: New Vegas. This was replaced by the fourth rank of Strong Back in Fallout 4.