How much can my follower carry?

  • Basically, I want to dump everything on my follower as I'm traveling around to free up my own inventory space. I want to know how much he/she can carry. Is it a mirror of my own weight limit? Are there any limitations as to what kind of items he/she can hold? Can I buff his/her carrying capacity with armor or other items?

    I didn't know that was even possible, so thanks for asking!

    I believe it's around your own weight, possibly 300 or so

    @Domocus - That's my guess too, I'm just hoping someone knows exactly or at least how it's calculated.

    Presumably, the follower should also benefit from armor with the Carry Weight enchant. For example "Steel Plate Boots of Brawn" which give +40 Carrying Capacity.

    Nope. says the Fortify Carry Weight enchant is ignored by followers :-(

  • Correct answer

    9 years ago

    Short Answer

    In terms of what they can carry, it's anything that's not a quest item. If you can drop it, store it, or barter it, you can give it to your follower.

    In terms of how much they can carry, after some testing, I've determined that follower capacity is incredibly buggy: every time you switch followers, the weight capacity will go down.

    So it starts out at 3001, and goes down from there. You can fix this by resetting your follower, either by the console (if on PC), or using the Wabbajack glitch (if on a console):

    Long Answer

    To test this, I tried testing with two followers: Lydia and Faendal.

    Initial testing

    I first took everything Lydia was carrying, which brought my carry weight up to 414. I then gave her stuff until the game refused to allow me to give her anything more, producing the error:

    This item is too heavy to carry.

    Once this occurred, everything on my side of the trade menu greyed out. My carry weight at this point was 180, which means Lydia maxed out at 234.

    I then took everything Faendal was carrying, bringing my carry weight up to 491. Like I did with Lydia, I gave him stuff until I got the error message and my inventory grayed out.

    He maxed out when my carry weight hit 207, which means his carry capacity was only 284.

    Thinking this was kind of odd, I decided to try Lydia again, with my carry weight being 491 to start. Surprisingly, she maxed out when my carry weight hit 271, which means her carry weight was only 220 this time.

    To ensure I covered all the bases, I cleared up my inventory so my carry weight was 414—as it was with Lydia the first time—and tested Faendal. He maxed out when I was at 144 carry weight, giving him a carry capacity of 270.

    Testing a capacity scale factor

    At this point, I had the idea that maybe the more stuff you have between you and your follower, the less they were willing to carry: that is, there's some negative scaling factor for follower capacity.

    I decided to test Faendal's capacity, to see what that scaling factor was. To my surprise, I found it capped out at 269:

    Total Weight | Faendal Capacity 
              50 |               50 
             100 |              100
             150 |              150
             200 |              200
             250 |              250
             300 |              269
             350 |              269
             400 |              269
             450 |              269
             500 |              269

    This contradicted my earlier findings.

    Combined follower cap?

    I'm then considered that there is capacity cap amongst all your followers, not just your current one.

    If this is true, one of two hypotheses should be validated:

    1. Lydia should be able to hold as much, if not more, than 269 weight.
    2. Once Lydia is stripped of everything, Faendal should be able to hold more than 269 weight.

    I tested the first hypothesis: having stripped Faendal of all his possessions, I traded with Lydia several times, increasing the total weight each time. She capped out at 213:

    Total Weight | Lydia Capacity 
              50 |             50 
             100 |            100
             150 |            150
             200 |            200
             250 |            213
             300 |            213
             350 |            213
             400 |            213
             450 |            213
             500 |            213

    So this hypothesis is incorrect.

    That just leaves second hypothesis: if Lydia is stripped of everything, Faendal should be able to carry more than 269 weight.

    Except that he didn't. He carried exactly 263 weight even after Lydia has been stripped.

    What is this I don't even...

    Random, or something else?

    I thought maybe, just maybe, it's random. I decided to use the same set of items and same carry weight (289/300) and switch back and forth between Lydia and Faendal. This is what I found:

     Round | Lydia Capacity | Faendal Capacity
         1 |            213 |              263
         2 |            206 |              256
         3 |            199 |              249
         4 |            192 |              242

    Well, that's odd: every time I switch, the follower capacity goes down by 7. Continuing on:

         5 |            185 |              235
         6 |            178 |              228
         7 |            171 |              221
         8 |            164 |              214
         9 |            157 |              207
        10 |            150 |              200

    After 10 rounds, both Lydia and Faendal lost 63 weight capacity.

    I got my programmer thinking cap on, and I wondered if it was a runtime issue: I decided to save the game, quit out, and reload.

    No dice: Lydia and Faendal kept going down. Immediately after the save, it went down to 143 and 193 for Lydia and Faendal, respectively.

    I then tried loading up an earlier save created before I did all these tests. Lydia shot back up to 234, and Feandal went back up to 284. These are the same as my original numbers.

    One more round of follower trading, and both Lydia and Faendal went down to 227 and 277 capacity, as predicted.


    Follower weight capacity is buggy as all get out. If you want to maximize your follower weight, do not switch between them.

    Note 1: You can have your follower 'pick up' items without a weight capacity check, thus allowing your follower carry unlimited items.

    What was your own maximum at the time? and what level were you?

    @GmNoob Added the full methodology. Still in the process of testing.

    that is really weird. Do you remember what your own actual limit was at that time? Also, did you use small items like potions and ingredients to fill in extra pounds? Lastly, is there maybe a maximum of items as well as weight?

    @GmNoob Follower weight is bugged to hell: added my final findings.

    You should probably send this info to Bethesda, I'm sure some developer will be happy to get this much info :)

    @Holger Good call: I pinged Pete Hines about it on Twitter: he's been fielding complaints about the lack of a patch.

    This answer makes me proud to be a gaming.SE-er (-ite?).

    @MattTrapp You are now my favorite person - thanks for going to all this trouble. Even if we still don't have a definte answer, at least I know not to switch between them if I want to basically use them as a pack horse :) Thanks!

    Also, I'm going to accept this for now but make a note that if the bugs are fixed, we can update this answer. And I second that devs should be told about this!

    Ladies and Gents, this is science..

    I <3 original research.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that they both have a 7-weight item that is mistakenly being added to their personal inventory each time they join you.

    I just read that using `disable` then `enable` on your follower allows their stats to advance, which normally doesn't occur. Might be worth checking to see if it also resets their max carry.

    @BenBlank Unfortunately, I play on the PS3 version, so no console. Would be an interesting thing to test for someone with the PC version, though.

    So I just found out something very interesting: ShowInventory showes that Lydia has 3 Hunting Bows, the invisible-from-inventory NPC version, which just happens to weight 7, and IIRC, I've switched followers twice. Soooooooo, I think Raven Dreamer is 100% right and the game's giving them a Hunting Bow every time you switch. Give me a couple min and I'll confirm.

    Well, switching between Lydia & Aela didn't give Lydia an extra bow, but Aela did get a second set of Hunting Bow (the normal version) & NPC armor the first time I asked her to follow me. There might be something going on there.

    @Kyte I started a new game a few days ago and noticed Faendal's carry weight topped out at 293, which would be 7 weight to account for his bow.

    @Mark Trapp: So it appears we've got rogue Hunting Bows popping up, then. Simplest fix would be to mod the NPC bow to be weightless, I suppose.

    Can the hunting bows be stolen when they are not your follower?

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM