Project Zomboid – Essentials to Always Carry

Here’s a list of items you must always carry.


Ill keep this one short and simple, it is a list of essentials that you should carry always. i’ll add my reasoning why for each item on this list, if that makes sense to you keep it.


  1. Water Bottles

Usually 2x water bottles are enough(in inventory) but you can throw two extra in your backpack if you chose the thirsty trait.

  1. Non-Perishable Food

It’s not a problem if you carry perishables but the idea is so that it doesn’t rot and make you sick. This is backup food, i’d suggest 2-3 cans of food. As for consumption, eat from the households you loot so that this one can be for backup purposes.

  1. Ripped Sheets/Bandages

It’s much better if you have bandages around or a bunch of ripped sheet instead of ripping off your red heart boxers in case of emergency. 4x-5x should be good enough to carry around.

  1. Coffee

This one could be the reason you survived a death. When your character becomes drowsy, the debuffs are significant. That’s why most guides will recommend you not to stay longer if you get drowsy cause that’s a ticket to new character. But sometimes you don’t have option to backout and you’ll often find yourself in this situation. The bottom line if you find coffee, take it. I’d advise to carry 2x units.

  1. Hammer

This one’s pretty standard stuff when it comes to carpentry and can also be used as a weapon.

Note: Club hammer can’t be used to drive nails

  1. Screwdriver

Again standard stuff for electrical and mechanics.

  1. Weapons

I won’t be specific about this so carry two units of your favourite weapon type, more if it breaks frequently.

  1. Lighter

Always comes handy for lighting up smokes, molotovs and sometimes can be used as light source(but flashlights are much better).

  1. Flash Light

You won’t always have a light source, specially after electricity shuts down and you are looting around during night time. 2x batteries for replacement. Btw it goes much better with one handed weapons.

  1. Can Opener

Imagine sitting on a pile of can food and no way to open it. It’s something we often forget and makes us question our plans for rest of the day.

  1. Lemongrass

Out of a billion ways to die, poison is the worst way to go. There’s a bunch of ways such as eating rotten food, wild berries or just sleeping around a pile of ded zeds or just drinking rainwater. Now there’s only one way to survive that i.e. lemongrass. Only way to obtain is through foraging so it’s better if you find it as soon as you can so that at least you have it when you need it the most instead of foraging while you are about to die.

  1. Secondary Backpack

Another storage bag for secondary to haul loot items from point A to point B, even garbage bag is better than nothing.

  1. Scissor

Mostly used for ripping leather clothes from what i can recall, which can be used for patching clothes in later stages of game. But it’s light enough to carry around when you find one.

  1. Nails

I usually carry two boxes of nails with me most of the time, comes handy with doors, securing the place and getting sheet ropes up for escape.

  1. WoodGlue/Duct tape

For early game try to only use wood glue for wood axes because you need to chop trees and it’s rare to find wood axes. Mostly use em to repair my weapons if i’m desperate.

Add to Favourites

Usually during the course of your run you’d often find yourself dropping a bunch of items, changing backpacks here and there and then again it becomes difficult to keep track of these items again and again. Make these items as favourties that way you can’t drop em by mistake and be sure to have em when you need anything.

On a second note, another great use of favourite is when you unloading items you can just use transfer everything option from UI it makes sure that favourite items still stay in your backpack or inventory and rest everything is transferred. It saves you a hassle of selecting each loot item to transfer.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13614 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.


  1. These are all good items to carry, but if you carry all that on your person at all times, your loot runs won’t be very long. I think most importantly is to have a Fanny Pack with:
    2-3x Sterilised Bandage/rag,
    Pen or Pencil,
    (optional) Alcohol Wipes.
    One water bottle in the backpack and some munchies. The rest is situational. If I’m just going around on short raids, there’s no point in carrying a full backpack of “essentials.” We all know that one person who packs a ton for a short weekend trip.. you certainly don’t want to be that person in the apocalypse.

    If you’re doing a long raid and you won’t be going to base for days, ok, otherwise that’s too much stuff to keep on you at all times. Way too much.

    • You might want to divide the guide into “Items to carry at all times” and “Useful items to carry”

      If a new player with 12 carry cap sees your guide they won’t know what to do. Two boxes of nails, two water bottles… but no tweezers or pen? I don’t know if you’ve been in your game for a really long time, you have extra points to spend on your new characters, or something else…
      But for an average, early-game player I would advise to drop 85% items on that list and travel light. Like I said, all good items to have (in your car), but certainly not “to carry at all times.”

  2. Some other tips:
    -Bring empty Bourbon bottles instead of normal water bottles to store your water. They have the best weight-to-water ratio in the game. They have a smaller capacity, so bring 2 or more.

    -Bring an extra empty Tote or Plastic bag. They weigh almost nothing, and can easily expand your carrying capacity in a pinch. Just take it out of your bag and equip it in your secondary hand. Best for characters that use 1-handed weapons, but you can easily drop the bag when you need to.
    Very helpful at the end of a looting run to carry more back, or if you unexpectedly need to carry more weight without getting the Heavy Load debuff. Several times I’ve found a gun or something valuable on a random zombie on my way back to your base, and used my spare Tote to make the rest of the trip unencumbered.
    The Plastic bag is lighter unequipped, but has less space and weight reduction than the Tote. Technically works with a backpack or similar, but those weigh quite a bit when unequipped.

    • that’s a good suggestion with regard to bottles. Can be used for molly’s as well, as for tote bags you are right those are lighter when not equipped but i believe the backpack in secondary offers more capacity and weight reduction which for me is a personal choice but if you wanna be more tactical sure.

    • you don’t die from encumbrance. Or you can run back to your safehouse each time you wanna do something important or die from fatigue because you can’t fight anymore why? because you stayed longer than you should have to loot. Or maybe a zed jumped on you because you couldn’t spare a light source while raiding a house. Or you broke your favourite weapon because you can’t patch it up and have to rely on the weapon you never levelled up for. Game is more about survival than looting a shit ton of guns that you never gonna use or every item you find in-game but that’s personal choice or however you wanna play. You can always bring along a car for hoarding stuff, those containers full of loot are of no use if you are ded.

  3. A good thing to carry is something that makes noise, like a clock, bomb, gun or anything else.

    Its one of the best and fasted ways to get hordes into one area if you want to either kill them, or distract them to loot a certain spot.

    • i tried to avoid guns in this but you can always adapt to your playstyle. Personally the only time i carry a gun is when i need to level it up because it takes up backslot which i can use for a more reliable, sneaky weapon. But that’s coz im not a fan of guns so far, maybe down the road it’ll be worth the trade.

  4. sounds like alot of useless things … non perishable food that’s in every single house and shops ? just pick it up at the location you are looting get full and continue .why would you carry nails ? they are only needed in your base you have no use except if you are going out to relocate or find a new base that you want to fortify .secondary backpack makes you unable to use two handed weapons and you find yourself encumbered anytime im trying to fight seems to me like you have no space cause you carry usseles things .. why 2 fanny packs filled w trash ? xD man you just need bandage(you can wash them)desinfectant or desifectant wipes,painkillers,cigs and lighter if you smoker and one two handed and one one handed weapon so you can put it on the belt and 2 hander on back and hiking backpack

    • 1). 2 cans won’t drag you down and it’s just backup food for worst case scenario.
      2). I just like to carry 2 box of nails, sometimes you end up staying temporarily on a location you don’t wanna stay when going to loot runs away from base and you just need a place to crash. I always barricade the windows when that happens. Instead of always planning what i need, having 2 boxes of nails is not gonna affect your ability to carry items. Make it 1 if it bothers.
      3). I like to keep small stuff organised and separated from other stuff so i know exactly where to look for plus the weight reduction kicks in, at least 1 is necessary imo.

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