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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?

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I didn't know that was even possible, so thanks for asking! –  Ivo Flipse Nov 17 '11 at 1:04
    
I believe it's around your own weight, possibly 300 or so –  Domocus Nov 17 '11 at 1:24
    
@Domocus - That's my guess too, I'm just hoping someone knows exactly or at least how it's calculated. –  spugsley Nov 17 '11 at 2:00
    
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. –  faB Dec 14 '11 at 22:13
    
Nope. uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Followers#Enchanted_Follower_Equipment says the Fortify Carry Weight enchant is ignored by followers :-( –  Alex Chaffee Jan 12 '13 at 22:15
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7 Answers

up vote 82 down vote accepted

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.

Conclusion

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.

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9  
You should probably send this info to Bethesda, I'm sure some developer will be happy to get this much info :) –  Holger Nov 17 '11 at 10:35
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+1 for a totally awesome answer, your word is law. –  DavidYell Nov 17 '11 at 13:19
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Ladies and Gents, this is science.. –  Bora Nov 17 '11 at 13:29
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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. –  Raven Dreamer Nov 19 '11 at 18:20
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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. –  Kyte Nov 26 '11 at 5:48
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I found the cause of mentioned by Mark Trapp. This is clearly a bug.

I was playing around with the console, trying to find a workaround for this. Then I realized your follower's maximum carry weight stays the same at 300 (getavinfo CarryWeight). It is actually his/her inventory weight that is increasing, rather than the maximum weight decreasing. You can check this by using the getavinfo InventoryWeight console command.

So, this is the cause of the problem:

The developers wanted to make sure your followers always have default items on them to make sure none of them walk around naked. You can see this by using showinventory console command. For example, Lydia has a steel armour set and a bow on her even if you don't see them when you trade with her.

The problem is that there is a bug which adds some default items to the followers every time they get re-employed by you. For example, when you re-employ Lydia, she will get another bow in her default, hidden-away inventory. You cannot see this when you trade with her, but showinventory will show you the additional bow.

The only way to solve this problem is to remove all items from your follower and re-enable him/her. You can do this by selecting your follower in the console and entering the following commands. (Make sure you empty their visible inventory first, so you don't lose any "real" items.)

removeallitems
disable
enable
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Testing this, it looks like (at least in Lydia's case), it isn't her entire invenory being duplicated — just her bow. –  Ben Blank Nov 25 '11 at 17:42
    
@BenBlank When I tested this, Lydia got 1 bow, 12 arrows, and 1 shield everytime I re-enabled her. Based on her, I am assuming (with no concrete evidence) armours are fine, but we need more tests to prove this. –  Peter Nov 26 '11 at 1:23
    
I don't have access to the console (PS3 version), but I started a new game, and Faendal's carry weight topped out at 293, which would be 7 weight to account for his bow. –  user3389 Nov 26 '11 at 10:49
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Have anyone tested if this bug still exists with the latest patches applied? –  Pete Jan 8 '12 at 15:45
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First off, thanks to Mark Trapp for finding out what is happening to the characters and their weight. It seemed that I had been switching between Lydia(my main companion) and extra ones too often, resulting in Lydia having a whopping maximum carry weight of 58.

Needing to find a fix, I managed to solve the problem, at least for PC users. If you are not against using the console command, you can select the affected NPC character by clicking on them and then typing, "modav carryweight #" where # is the amount you want to increase their carrying capacity by. So while in the console command, I clicked on Lydia and then typed "modav carryweight 200" to give her approximately how much carrying weight she had initially.

I hope this helps some of you guys out!

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This is really helpful! Thanks! –  spugsley Nov 20 '11 at 15:27
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I don't know the actual limit. Maybe some console commands can explain this. But I can tell there is a limit.

Some of the equipment you give them will be equipped if better than the originals, so if there is not a specific limit set and it's statistics based, I guess bonuses would apply.

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Carryweight Enhanchment items doesnt effect on follower. I tested it on Lydia, normally shes carryweight is 220, then I added carrying enhancment items and she shoud have been able to carry 262 but still she could only carry 220. I dont know does the other enhancement items effect on followers attributes

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Companions can carry as much as you want them to. Just put all of your stuff in a chest and tell them to take all in order mode. My Lydia held 4375 items before I got rid of her.

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I am so testing this when I get home! –  Ben Blank Nov 19 '11 at 1:19
    
I want this to be true so bad...off to test it! –  spugsley Nov 19 '11 at 3:05
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just to note, when i tried the follower take from chest deal it made all the items show as stolen, so they couldnt be sold –  user14971 Nov 21 '11 at 15:43
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If you tell Lydia to pick items up, she has no limit.

Try it: loot a dungeon or cave and drop 20-100 items. Tell her to pick them up and they will be in her inventory.

Glitch: If you have her remove any items from containers or pick up from inside merchant zones they will be tagged as stolen.

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If she gets to the max, she won't pick them up. She'll say, "I can't do that." –  spugsley Nov 27 '11 at 4:19
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protected by Community Dec 5 '11 at 12:41

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