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How to increase carry capacity and manage inventory in Starfield

Managing your inventory is a game unto itself

Starfield player mining resources with a laser cutter. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Like any RPG, Starfield is rife with loot to pick up — from styrofoam cups and copies of Moby Dick to exotic spacesuits and sci-fi weaponry. What you do with what you pick up (or loot or steal) is a lot more complex. Managing your inventory requires keeping tabs on your carry capacity.

Starfield’s inventory — both your suit’s inventory and your ship’s cargo hold — is limited by the weight of what’s inside. There aren’t slots or stacks, so you can carry huge quantities of light things, just a few heavy things, or a medium amount of medium-weight things. You start the game with the ability to lug 135kg on your person, which sounds like a lot but fills up fast. (Your ship also has extra space.)

Our Starfield inventory management guide will explain how carry capacity works, how to increase your carry capacity, and how to offload your inventory to companions or your ship.

How to increase your carry capacity

The more straightforward way to increase your carry capacity is to invest in the Weight-Lifting skill. As mentioned, you begin the game able to hold 135kg of stuff. Unlocking the first rank of the Weight-Lifting will increase that by 10kg, with subsequent ranks bringing that figure to 25kg, 50kg, and 100kg. To complete rank challenges for the Weight-Lifting skill, you’ll have to sprint a given distance while your inventory is 75% full or more.

Managing your inventory in Starfield is all about balancing value (both how many credits you can sell something for and how important it is to you) against weight, and you’ll want to avoid becoming encumbered. When you hit your carry capacity, you’ll automatically consume oxygen when you run, and you can’t fast travel.

But you’re not limited to increasing the Weight-Lifting skill to increase your carrying capacity, though — you don’t even need to do it alone. Let’s talk about other ways to manage your inventory.

Some food helps with encumbrance

In the Aid section of your Inventory, you’ll find your healing items — including things to cure afflictions and injuries — and food. Most food just gives you a flat +5 or +10 health when you eat it. Some foods, though, give you stat bumps that temporarily increase your carry capacity.

Starfield UC Battlemeal Multipack item in a player’s inventory Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

UC Battlemeal Multipacks, for example, bump your carrying capacity by 8kg for 8 minutes. And that’s enough to let you run and fast travel so you unload your inventory into your ship’s cargo hold.

Your companions can carry gear

You can have one companion running around with you in Starfield. Mostly, they’re there as a human shield and extra gun. More usefully, though, you can unload some of your inventory to them. Interact with them in the field and choose the trade gear prompt.

Starfield speaking to Sam Coe and asking to trade gear Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

At that point, you can switch between your inventory and theirs with LB on console or Q on PC. You can have them hold onto their carry capacity-worth of items for you (but not more). When you get back to your ship, you’ll have to trade gear with them again to get it back.

Offload into your ship’s cargo hold

Your ship has a cargo hold that is, unsurprisingly, much bigger than your backpack. Your ship’s cargo capacity is determined by its cargo stat — basically how many ship parts you have stuck to it that have space for cargo.

The Frontier (the first ship you get in Starfield, during the “One Small Step” story mission) can hold 450kg. You can also purchase prefabricated ships at shipyards with cargo holds that range from 200kg to more than 2,000kg.

Starfield ship’s cargo hold panel in the cockpit with a list of what’s stored inside. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

You can access your cargo hold when you’re onboard your ship a couple ways. Some cockpits have a cargo hold panel behind the pilot’s chair. Otherwise, you’ll have to open your own menu, open your inventory, and then hit LB or Q to switch over to the cargo hold.

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