The player can hold 15 different stacks of items in the inventory. Equipable Items can be placed in their respective equip slot.
- The First 15 slots hold any item and equipable item except Backpacks.
- The Hand slot allows the character to hold Tools or Weapons.
- The Body (Chest) slot allows the character to wear body Armor, Clothing or Backpacks.
- The Head slot allows the character to wear head Armor or head Clothing.
Using the equip slots, one can equip armor, clothing, weapons and tools applying them visually to the character. Most equipped clothing gives the character resistance to freezing or overheating or helps restore Sanity. Equipped armor gives the character resistance to enemy attacks. Tools let the character harvest trees, mine boulders, catch bugs, destroy structures, and more. For example: in the inventory below, the player has equipped a Walking Cane, letting them walk faster.
Most items in the inventory can stack, allowing the player to carry multiples of the same item, leaving more space for other items. Items can only stack up to 40, 20 or 10, depending on the item, thus causing the player to flood the inventory if too much of the same item is collected. There are some exceptions, like Tallbird Eggs, which cannot stack due to the fact that they hatch individually. Beefalo Horns also cannot stack, since they can be used as tools and each have limited durability.
The first ten inventory slots can be quickly selected by pressing the number keys. Selecting most items with the number keys triggers the character commenting on the item. This does not apply for foods and tools, which causes the player to eat or equip the item, respectively. The 11th and 12th slots can also be selected by pressing the - and = keys respectively, though on some computers these two keys will not be next to the number keys, making it harder to do so.
There are a few ways to expand how much space the player has to store items. Making a Backpack allows the player 8 more slots to store items, and making a Piggyback gives the player 12 more slots, but slows down the player when moving. The Krampus Sack is a very rare drop from killing Krampus, and gives the player 14 more slots, without a weight penalty. These three items can only be equipped in the Body slot.
Some structures can also be used to store items. They cannot be moved once they are placed, but they can be destroyed with a Hammer. The simplest storage structure is a Chest, each of which has 9 slots to store items. Ice Boxes are like chests, but they can only store food, and they reduce the rate at which the stored food spoils. It is recommended to store food in Ice Boxes so the food spoils at a slower rate. Another option is to make a Scaled Chest. Though hard to make, it provides 12 slots to store items, and it won't burn down. Finding the Eye Bone will summon Chester, a passive mob who will follow the player around. Chester's mouth can be opened by clicking him, to access 9 storage slots in his belly.
Another alternative is to just drop items onto the ground. Items from the inventory can be dragged over the ground to place the item there. However, this method of storage isn't reliable, since some Mobs will eat dropped food, and Moleworms in Reign of Giants (RoG) will steal any minerals, rocks and similar objects left on the ground.
Using the inventory can be simple, and there are also some helpful keyboard shortcuts. Clicking on an item or stack in the inventory will bind it to the cursor. Then, hover the mouse over the ground and click, and the character will proceed to drop the item or stack on the ground. Also, it is possible to place the item or stack back in an inventory slot by clicking the wanted slot in the inventory. If the selected slot already has another item in it, the held item and the item in the inventory will swap, binding the new item to the cursor.
When the character's inventory is full, a newly picked up item will bind to the cursor and will be 'carried' around, similar to having an extra inventory slot. This disables the character to pick up other stuff of the ground, though, suggesting quick inventory organizing. Multiple smaller stacks of the same items can be combined in the same slot, until their stack maximum is reached, potentially saving some inventory space. The game will use items, e.g. for crafting, from the first inventory slot they are available, which may cause multiple item stacks if there is a smaller stack further right or in a Backpack. Combining stacks of food items will average their freshness, which may not be desired.
Holding the Ctrl key and clicking on a stack of items will split the stack in half. Ctrl-clicking in an inventory slot while holding the half stack will cause a single one of the items in the stack to be placed in the slot. This only applies if the selected slot is empty or contains the same item. Holding Alt and clicking on an item in the inventory will cause the character to make a remark on that item. To easily switch items between the inventory and a chest, Shift key can be held while click on an item, and it will quickly move to a selected chest if that chest is not already full.
In the Shipwrecked DLC, Boats gain their own equipment slots for Lights, Cannons, Trawl Nets and Sails. In addition, the Cargo Boat provides the player with an additional 6 slots to store items inside it.
- Backpacks can be a gamble during 'extreme' seasons like Winter (and Summer in the Reign of Giants DLC). This is because the player is sacrificing the option to wear insulated or cooling body clothing and staying warm/cool longer. This can be countered by storing a Thermal Stone in the backpack, allowing the player to stay warmer or cooler longer.