Carry Weight is the maximum weight of all weapons, armor, and other items that you can carry. It is the equivalent of the Encumbrance attribute in Oblivion. All characters start with a Carry Weight of 300. Choosing to increase Stamina when leveling up increases your maximum Carry Weight by five points. If you try to carry a combined weight that is greater than your Carry Weight, you will not be able to run or sprint; instead, your movement speed will be substantially decreased to an almost unbearably slow crawl. You will also be unable to fast travel while overencumbered unless on a horse.
Your current Carry Weight is displayed in the bottom right of the inventory screen. This number can be increased by 100 through the Extra Pockets perk in the Pickpocket tree. The spell effect provided by the Steed Stone also adds 100 points to your total, as well as completely negating the weight of any equipped armor. Carry Weight is only controlled by your base Stamina, and therefore temporary changes to Stamina, such as Fortify Stamina, do not have any effect on Carry Weight; this is also why you do not become overencumbered every time you swing a weapon or do other activities that deplete your Stamina.
- Moving faster. You can walk at a faster pace while overencumbered if you repeatedly do forward power attacks and sheathe right before the stamina drain, ideally with a dagger. The Whirlwind Sprint shout can also aid moving forward, especially if you unsheathe a weapon during the sprint, which causes you to run a vast distance at incredible speed.
- You can also walk at a slightly faster pace if you have a bow fully drawn while moving forward.
- Potions. You can drink a Potion of Strength (or a better quality version), and fast travel before it wears off, provided the weight you are carrying does not exceed your increased carrying capacity.
- Enchantments. You can carry gloves, boots, and/or pieces of jewelry enchanted with Fortify Carry Weight, and equip them when you exceed your limit in order to fast travel. Clothing such as the zero-weight shoes are particularly useful for this.
- Transform. Werewolves using their beast form have their carry weight limit increased by 2000 points.
- Horses. Horses will take you where you want to go regardless of overencumbrance. You can also fast travel after mounting a horse. ArvakDG is especially handy for this, as he can be summoned when you need him, then released when you don't.
- Drop and drag. Drop a heavy item to remove overencumbrance, and hold the Activate key to drag it while you move (be cautious when loading a save, as this will move the item back to where you've dropped it).
- Depositing items in a small dead body, such as a Skeever, can be particularly useful, as it can hold any number of items.
- You cannot execute a sneaking forward roll (ordinarily usable with the Silent Roll perk) when overencumbered.
- Carry Weight enchantments (even multiple) work on followers, but with a bug: As soon as you reach the normal (unfortified) carry weight limit, every single item you put on your follower makes the inventory menu react as if the carry weight limit would have been exceeded. To become able to add one (!) more item, you have to leave the dialog and reenter it, for every single item up to the real (fortified) carry weight limit. After reaching the latter, toggling the inventory menu no longer opens space for more items.
- In most of the cases when your follower's Carry Weight limit is exceeded (e.g. by ordering them to pick too heavy/too many items), they will not suffer any apparent overencumbrance effect. See the Followers article for details.
- When overencumbered and slowed, your speed moving with a drawn arrow is unaffected and significantly faster.