An essential part of the Death Stranding experience is expanding and managing your inventory. Depending on how you choose to maintain the cargo in your backpack and its other inventory slots, Sam speed and posture will be affected. You can eventually acquire vehicles and exoskeletons to help increase your overall carry limit, but it’s essential to understand the basics early on. Carrying too much is a major impediment, but it’s essential to consider what and where on your character you’re carrying things, as this has a significant impact on your ability to stay balanced and on two feet–failing to do so will cost you time and potentially reduce your rewards if your cargo goes crashing to the ground.
Below you can find everything you need to know about the basics of inventory management in Death Stranding, as well as a few handy tips to better deal with the challenges later on. For more Death Stranding features, check out our in-depth beginner’s guide and our gallery highlighting all the most significant celebrity cameos we’ve found so far.
How To Manage Cargo
First, you need to ensure that you’re keeping track of what’s on your body at all times. While exploring, it can be easy to pick up stray cargo, and before you know it, you’ll find that Sam’s stamina is reduced and his ability to balance negatively impacted. There’s a consequence for every item added to your inventory if you’re not careful. Even if you’re far under the carry limit, you can still notice an impact on your movement speed and balance with enough things stacked on you.
Once Sam’s backpack fills up, he’ll eventually begin to stack objects on top of his backpack. While this is fine for a few items, a full stack of cargo can make it difficult for Sam to maintain his balance. It’s especially noticeable when walking, as making slight movements to the left or right can cause Sam to struggle under the weight, prompting you to grip onto his backpack to avoid tumbling to the ground. Failure to counteract a loss of balance will cause Sam to fall, and his cargo to tumble out of his pack. Center of gravity is a real thing in Death Stranding, so be mindful of whenever Sam starts to lean too much in any direction and pay attention to the button prompts the game gives you.
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While you can organize your backpack manually, you also have the option to have the game arrange it for you. By pressing the triangle button in the inventory menu, you can quickly optimize your cargo’s layout, placing heavy objects at the bottom and filling out other cargo slots on Sam’s suit. It’s a useful feature for optimizing Sam’s loadout and ensuring you have the best posture possible. However, a downside to this is that the auto-arrange option won’t acknowledge sensitive cargo. The option isn’t always your friend, so be sure to check out our feature explaining why.
As you progress, you’ll unlock accessory upgrades that allow you to put specific items into them. For example, you get a small utility pouch that holds all your blood packs. These accessory pouches are automatically loaded after selecting auto-arrange, so you don’t have to worry too much about what goes in them, but it’s something to consider when managing everything on Sam’s person. Another handy tip to better maximize your carrying space is to place weapons like the Bola Gun–which takes up two small cases worth of space in your bag–onto your tool rack instead of your back. Though it’s worth noting that the moment you equip a different tool in-game, the weapon will return to your backpack.
Sometimes the burden you need to carry is too much no matter how you redistribute the cargo on Sam’s person. Fortunately, you do have a few tools that can help with this problem. As stated above, vehicles like the Reverse Trike and the Truck can assist with what you can’t carry. When you fabricate a vehicle, you’re free to distribute cargo onto it. Though be mindful that too much cargo on a vehicle will decrease its top speed. And when you’re plotting your route, it’s important to note if there are BTs on the way. A vehicle packed with cargo you can’t carry on your own is helpful, but if you’re forced to leave it behind, then what’s the point? Be smart about when to use vehicles to support your ever-expanding cargo inventory.
The last tool at your disposal when there’s too much cargo to carry without being over-encumbered are exoskeletons. You can earn your first pair by completing deliveries to the Engineer located south of Lake Knot City. Many of the exoskeletons expand your carrying weight by a decent amount, but the one that does so the most is the Power Skeleton. As you increase your rank with the Engineer, you’ll get upgraded versions of the Power Skeleton, which can carry even more. It comes at the sacrifice of carrying two pieces of cargo on your legs, but it’s well worth it for the expanded carrying weight.
In Death Stranding, it pays to always be aware of what’s in your inventory. Though you may be tempted to stack everything into your backpack without thinking, you’re sometimes better off rearranging items, offloading them, holding them in your hand, or loading them onto a vehicle.