Encumbrance is a player statistic that represents the total amount of weight the player can carry.
Players can see the total weight of the items they are carrying on the Backpack screen from the Status game menu. This will include items they have equipped as well as those carried in the inventory. The Backpack screen truncates the amount of weight to two decimal places.
The player's normal carrying capacity starts at 30 kg (66 lb). This baseline can be increased by wearing a moose-hide satchel, equipping a Technical Backpack, or achieving the well fed affliction. These effects can be stacked, meaning that the player can increase their normal carrying capacity by up to 15 kg (33 lb). However, since there is a limit to how many satchels/backpacks the player can equip (only one of each can be equipped at a time), 45 kg (99 lb) is the highest-possible carrying capacity in the game.
|Image||Name||Carrying capacity increase|
|Moose-Hide Satchel||5 kilograms|
|Technical Backpack||5 kilograms|
|Well Fed||5 kilograms|
The amount of weight the character is carrying increases the rate of fatigue. Also, when fatigue reaches 50%, the carrying capacity will begin to decrease at a rate of 0.3 kg for every percent closer to 0. Encumbrance penalties apply as normal. Once the 'Exhausted' fatigue state is reached, the carry limit will be half the normal value (or 15kg). The fatigue meter is primarily restored with sleep, and, once the player has regained at least 50% of his or her fatigue, (equivalent to 6 hours of sleep) the maximum carrying capacity is restored. Coffee may also offer minor relief from a low fatigue meter.
Detrimental effects do not occur linearly relative to the amount of weight over capacity, but at thresholds of 5 kg (11 lbs). This means that a player with exactly 10 kg (22 lbs) over capacity can still sprint, but a player with 10.1 kg cannot. Same goes for slowing down or increasing sprain chances. A player with exactly 15 kg (33 lbs) over capacity can walk significantly faster than a player with 15.01 kg. Being aware of these thresholds is important to properly select the amount of loot you can carry.
|Weight above carrying capacity||Maximum weight||Effect|
|+0 kilograms||30 kilograms||
|+10 kilograms||40 kilograms||
|+20 kilograms||50 kilograms||
|+30 kilograms||60 kilograms||
It is very easy to exceed your carry capacity in The Long Dark, especially on more loot-rich game modes such as Voyageur or Pilgrim. A well equipped character carrying minimum reserves of food and firewood, a basic assortment of tools and a weapon will almost automatically exceed the base capacity. It is hence not always desirable to stay within capacity. Especially when transporting greater amounts of loot, like after successfully hunting an animal, or when moving acquired loot out of a region, exceeding capacity often cannot be avoided.
However, aware of this limitation, a player should carefully consider what equipment to bring, and what to leave behind at a shelter. This especially includes tools and weapons, as those usually weigh in very heavily, but also food and firewood. Even the selection of clothing can be put to question. Balancing the amount of equipment you deem useful against your desired mobility is a key strategic element of The Long Dark.
- Within carry capacity: desirable, but with good equipment can be hard to achieve without adding to it withWell Fed or the Moose-Hide Satchel.
- Up to 5 kg (11 lbs) above capacity: adequate if Rope climbing is not on the player's route as the slow down is negligible. It is advisable to stay within this limit for tasks that require substantial mobility and carry reserves, such as exploring and looting part of a region.
- 5 kg (11 lbs) to 10 kg (22 lbs) above capacity: generally acceptable as the amount of slow down is moderate, chances for sprains are still within reason, and sprinting for emergencies is still available. This is the sane maximum of equipment a player should bring for any task other than reallocating loot to a different shelter.
- 10 kg (22 lbs) to 15 kg (33 lbs) above capacity: still within reason for hauling loot over relatively safe and open terrain, but the inability to sprint must be kept in mind to properly alter behavior towards predators.
- 15 kg (33 lbs) to 20 kg (44 lbs) above capacity: generally inadvisable as the slow down is very pronounced, and even bears can no longer be escaped. At this point it is probably faster and definitively safer to take a route twice with considerably less weight.
- More than 20 kg (44 lbs) above capacity: the player is so slow that dropping excess loot becomes inevitable. Highly dangerous, and in any case inefficient.