Much like prior Bethesda titles such as Fallout and The Elder Scrolls, Starfield is a loot-centric game. You can pick up just about every item that isn’t nailed down, and the game encourages you to mine ore veins and animal corpses for resources. Eventually, you’re going to run out of pocket space. When this happens, you either need to drop off items or just increase your character’s carrying capacity.
While the former solution is arguably easier, it’s a band-aid at best. Unless you do something about your character’s carrying capacity, you’re going to have to keep making frequent stops at your stash to prevent your character from becoming overburdened. However, increasing your hero’s on-person storage isn’t as straightforward as depositing your spoils in a storage chest, partially because you have several options.
How to Increase Your Character’s Carrying Capacity
Arguably the “easiest” way to make your character carry more loot is to just improve their Skills. For instance, when leveling up, just pick the “Weight Lifting” skill under the “Physical” tree to instantly increase your character’s carrying capacity by 10 kilograms. By completing that skill’s challenges (sprinting across increasing distances while at 75% capacity), you can eventually improve Weight Lifting’s Rank, which increases your personal carrying capacity up to a maximum of 100 kilograms.
Additionally, you might come across items that temporarily, or permanently, increase your character’s personal storage. If you pinch every food item you come across, you will find that many of them only restore a bit of health, but some include extra benefits such as temporarily increasing carrying capacity.
To get the most out of these items, combine them with the “Nutrition” skill, also in the “Physical” tree, to improve their overall effects. Just like Weight Lifting, the higher your Nutrition Rank, the more you can squeeze items for all they are worth. However, if you picked the “Alien DNA” Trait during character creation, food item buffs will be weaker, and that includes the amount of loot they let you carry.
If you also loot spacesuits and other outfits, you might also come across a few that increase your character’s carrying capacity, either by letting you haul more or by decreasing the weight of certain items. Even better, you can actually add similar functionality to your existing gear without having to prioritize carrying capacity. At Pack Mods 2, you can add the “Extra Capacity” mod to boost packs, which lets you carry 10kg more. At Spacesuit Mods 2, you can unlock Pocketed, which adds 5kg to your selected item. It’s not much, but it adds up in the long run.
How to Use a Companion’s Carrying Capacity
Another readily available way to improve your backpack space is to utilize your companions. Simply talk to them and select “Let’s trade gear.” This option brings up the NPC’s inventory menu. While you can take anything they have by selecting the item and selecting “Take” (A on the controller) to make them share your burden, you have to navigate over to your personal inventory (LB on the controller). Then select the item they will carry and hit “Trade” (A on the controller).
Since companions are NPCs, they are subject to the same weight rules that dictate how much players can carry. Every item you add to their inventory increases their mass, and if it goes over their limit, they are overburdened. While most side characters will gladly haul things around for you, don’t treat them like pack mules.
At present, the only way to increase your companion’s carrying capacity in Starfield is to invest two points into the “Leadership” Skill found in the “Social” tree. That will allow them to 50kg more than usual, which is actually a pretty generous buff.
How to Increase Your Ship Carrying Capacity
Whenever you’re done stripping a mine or abandoned outpost clean of resources, you should always return to your ship and deposit items in the cargo hold. Otherwise, all of those heavy metal ores and looted weapons will weigh you down.
While inside your vessel, open your inventory, select “Cargo Hold” (LB on the controller), and open your inventory from the Cargo Hold menu (LB again). Then pick what you want to deposit and select “Store” (A on the controller). Alternatively, you can transfer all your resources to the hold by selecting “Store All Resources” (RB on the controller while on the Resources page). Simple, right? It certainly is, at least until your ship runs out of space.
Increasing your ship’s carrying capacity is not quite the same as improving your character’s pocket space, as it mostly hinges on a ship’s cargo hold size. Your first vessel, the Frontier, has a 450 kg capacity, but you can also find and purchase pre-made ships that can lug different amounts.
Alternatively, you can build your own piecemeal with modules sold by shipwrights waiting in shipyards. Since this game mechanic gives you full control over what you do and don’t put onto your ship, you can weigh it down with more cargo bays than you will ever know what to do with, but that will come at the cost of performance.
Also, keep in mind that each individual ship merchant only sells modules from one specific manufacturer. So, if you want to create a vessel built from the best parts around, you will have to shop around a bit. And if you want to store contraband, you will need special shielded cargo containers and scanning jammers.
Say you have maxed out your ship’s storage capacity but think it’s too small. You can squeeze just a bit more out of your cargo holds with the “Payloads” Skill in the “Tech” tree. As with Weight Lifting, just select it when leveling up to unlock your first rank, which increases each ship’s cargo hold’s capacity by 10%. At Rank 4, each hold’s maximum space jumps up by 50%, so the more cargo bays on your spaceship, the better the skill investment.
And that’s all you need to know about getting the most out of carrying capacity in Starfield. Please note that Bethesda might introduce patches that add or remove certain methods or balance specific mechanics, so this guide might become outdated in the future. Let’s hope not, though.