So, my little vault was doing nice, so i decided to send my dearest Lisa Powell into the wasteland. I got a power armor and a minigun from the lunch boxes which appears to be a good starting gear since she can kill pretty much everything - at least she never looses a fight.

Now, shes on the hunt for 11 hrs and 35 minutes, and i was wondering about a few things:

  • Is there a maximum amount of time a dweller can explore the wasteland?
  • Does the level of the dweller matter? Like, can a high-level dweller find better gear than a low level dweller?
  • How much time has to pass so i can get the best stuff out of the exploration?

5 Answers 5


There seems to be no limit to the exploration time, some events occurr at 75 hours of exploration, but some player touched the 90 hours mark.

The level of the dweller does not matter for the chances at finding gear, but the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. do, because some fixed events are based on tests on the dweller S.P.E.C.I.A.L.; plus, as a rule of thumb, Luck always helps in finding gear and caps.

Generally the more your dwellers are out, the better gear they will find, even though there seems to be a cap of 1 legendary for expedition, and there is a confirmed cap of 100 items for expedition. After getting 100 items your dwellers will come back on their own.

  • 1
    Can you confirm that they come back on their own?
    – simbabque
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 14:33
  • 2
    Yes, I usually let them go until they have 100 items, that actually happens all the time since they have full 70 S.P.E.C.I.A.L. As you can see here imgur.com/ERsdlSQ when your dweller reaches the 100 items cap, the explore button becomes gray. The las log line is something like "this is my maximum capacity, better to go back and show the overseer what I found"
    – DocKuro
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 13:07
  • @DocKuro thanks for that bit about automatic return! So, when they're finally loaded up with stuff, they will return by themselves? That's good to know :-)
    – pepoluan
    Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 8:26

(Note that this post was written early in the life of the game is likely out of date.)

In theory you can just keep reviving any explorer that dies in the wasteland to keep them out exploring indefinitely. I had an explorer out over 200 hours (more than 8 days) this way. However explorers can only carry 100 items, and they'll reach this limit long before that. With the latest patch explorers automatically stop exploring and start heading home once they reach 100 items, so it's no longer possible to have an explorer out this long.

Maximum Time Exploring

An explorer will collect 100 items after 3 to 4 days of exploring, so the current maximum time is about 100 hours. Since having higher stats means that the explorer will find more items, its actually the explorers with the lowest stats that can stay out the longest.

Maximum Time Without Dying

To maximize the time an explorer can survive in the wilderness without dying, you need three things. High hit points (HP), a high damage weapon and 25 stimpacks. To get explorers with the most possible HP you need to raise their endurance to 10 while they're still level 1. You then need to equip them with the outfit that gives them highest endurance bonus (ideally +7, but +5 is probably the best you'll be able to manage), and then start levelling them in the wasteland. Once they're level 50 and equipped with a good legendary weapon (20+ damage) they have a decent chance of surviving 100 hours in the wasteland without dying.

(Actually, sending them out before they reach level 50 can increase the amount of they survive in the wasteland. This is because levelling up restores the explorer's HP without using a stimpack. I'm not sure what the most optimal level is, but you can only do this once per explorer so it doesn't matter too much.)

Maximizing Item Quality

Length of time exploring does increase the quality of the items you'll find. However even after 200 hours my explorer was finding mostly junk. So it never gets that good. The one possible exception is a specific encounter that explorers will find after about 60 hours (2 days 12 hours) of exploring, the National Guard Depot. I've never gotten anything better than a "rare" blue item from this encounter, but others have reported getting legendary (gold) items from it. So you want to have your explorers out for a least 60 hours to have the best chance of getting the best items.

Recommended Strategy

At the start of the game, don't worry about any of this. Just send out explorers to get whatever stuff they can. Once you've unlocked endurance training rooms, fill them with level 1 dwellers and raise their endurance stats to 10. Then make those dwellers your main explorers. You should raise their other stats eventually, but once they've levelled up and you've equipped them with a good rare weapon (15+ damage) they should survive long enough to reach the National Guard Depot.

There doesn't appear any point of exploring beyond the National Guard Depot encounter. I always recall my explorers once they're past it. The sooner they're on their way back home, the sooner they can be sent back out for another chance at the depot. With the new limit of 10 explorers in the wasteland this is even more important.

So in other words, 60 hours is the amount of time that has to pass for you to get the bust stuff from exploration.

  • Excellent point about hitting the depot over and over making 60 hours the measure for getting the best stuff.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 17:31

I've been testing various things. I currently have a dweller out for 105h 55min and she still has 5 stim packs. I go through a rather extensive training regime starting with training at level 1. I leave them in training until they are 10 in all 7 SPECIAL attributes. The endurance is most important because it seem to influence how many HP they get when they level up. Next I send them out into the wasteland for their alpha run which only lasts about 24h because they are so low level. It is important to give them a high endurance outfit to boost their HP when they level. When they come back they are usually near level 12-15. I heal them and send them right back out. This beta run will last much longer approaching 48h. I often cut it short when they are near level 30 which so far seem the optimal level for a max run. I need to test some at level 25 to see if that works any better. When they get back I have a dweller with the most HP I can give them, max SPECIAL stats, and at or around level 30. I give them the best weapon I have which right now is a hardened missile launcher (20-23), the best high endurance armor, and typically my best sphynx or husky variant to get them back sooner. They typically go for 48h without using their first stim pack by leveling up before they need one. After they hit level 50 they must rely exclusively on stim packs and by then encounters still do 2 dmg even when they succeed in killing it. They will kill behemoths (4000exp) but the 2 dmg will eventually whittle them down. Things I still want to test are different pets, the Abyssinian seem like it might help, I want to see if the DR reduces the 2 HP attrition. I doubt the pets that increase healing speed will help because dwellers don't have a healing speed while exploring.

Anyone know of pets that really boost wasteland survival time?

edit: One last observation, legendary dwellers are at a disadvantage because they start at level 20-35 and don't get the extra HP from having max endurance from level 1 up. I still keep them but they won't last as long in the wasteland. Yes, Colonel Autumn I'm talking to you, ya big pansy!

  • 1
    This would be a lot better if you broke it up a bit. It's just a huge wall of text right now. I agree that level 30 or so seems to be the best level for a long expedition without dying. I've had a lvl 33 guy with a Plasma Rifle and Sturdy Wasteland gear with all max SPECIAL as of level one stay out for 5d 8h 15m.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 17:35
  • My pet with +63% HP is real wasteland booster xD....however I never got anything from national depot than 125xp.... O_o Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 12:51

I just logged back in after a little hiatus and I had a lvl 26 and 38 specials not maxed that survived for 38 days and 19 hours. They died fighting super mutant behemoths and super mutant overlords doing about 9 dmg per fight to my guys.


I find that my level 38 Sarah Lyons is mostly collecting junk and once in a while, she will find something like an enhanced laser rifle, but then she always seemed to run from some deadly creature. So the point is, if you find something incredably good, your explorer will always get low health as a result of finding a death claw or something deadly to an level 20-35 explorer. But if you're explorer is out for a day or two,you will find that instead of fighting radroaches you're explorer will start to fight radscorpions and fire ant soldiers and after 3 days or so out in the wasteland you're explorer will get more adventurous and start to fight super mutants and explore abondoned houses instead of broadcasting towers.

Always carry StimPaks and RadAways.fighting super mutants etc. Can be hard after a while. P.s tap the weird guy who you see in the vault and he will vanish into caps.by Steve 73,3:44


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