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Some items in the game can be worn to provide various effects. Clothing has various attributes that will enhance your abilities in ways that are almost essential; to the point where playing a game without them is considered a player challenge.

Clothing in Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead has several attributes that should be taken into consideration. All clothing will take 350 movement points to put on, however they can be removed instantly.

Armor against Cutting/Bashing

Personal Armor in Cataclysm is, with the exception of a select few bionics and mutations, provided by clothing. The armor system currently provides a damage mitigation against incoming attacks. It is possible to bypass a percentage of armor with criticals, and it is possible to fail to completely penetrate armor. When an enemy fails to penetrate your armor the message 'the attacks fails to penetrate your armor!' will pop. When you fail to do the same the message 'the shot bounces off the <critter>'s thick hide!' will appear. Due to damage being rolled as a set number of X-sided dice (3D8 or 1D3 being 2 examples) it is possible for some attacks to fail while others succeed.

Armor against Acid

In the the experimental version there is a rating for armor against acid. Acid protection protects against acid attacks and standing in acid fields.

You need 5 acid resistance total on both feet and legs to avoid all direct acid damage from acid fields. To gain total immunity to acid fields, you will also need 15 environmental resistance on both feet and legs to avoid the damage over time effect.

Armor against Fire

Fires deal up to 3 * density + 3 damage. Small fires damage feet and legs, medium also torso, raging also hands and arms. Fire protection is currently rather impractical as fires are too dangerous to stay near for long, but fire gear often also comes with acid protection.

Armor Against Environment

Clothing offers the potential to protect the wearer from ambient field effects, diseases, or other ailments. Most of the listed effects have a range of 'Strengths' that they will compare against the wearer's environmental protection level. For instance, the influenza can affect a player with up to a strength of 3, targeting the mouth.

Environmental effect rolls are always in the form: (strength)d3 > (resistance)d3

So, against the aforementioned influenza:

  • Wearing a bandana (1 protection) will give 1 in 27 chance of resisting the effect
  • Wearing 9 or more env. protection on mouth (say, a gas mask) gives immunity
  • Wearing 3 env. protection (say, bandana+scarf) gives roughly 50% chance to resist


Clothing can be thought of as having 'Hit Points' based upon their condition. New clothing will have 4 hit points, and degrade through combat, failed tailoring attempts, or other mishandling.

& Wool
Leather Kevlar Paper Wood
& Bone
& Chitin
& Glass
Iron Steel
−1 reinforced reinforced reinforced reinforced
1 ripped scratched marked torn scratched scratched lightly rusted
2 torn cut dented shredded chipped cut rusted
3 shredded torn scarred shredded cracked cracked very rusty
4 tattered tattered broken shredded splintered shattered thoroughly rusted
Can be repaired with Tailor's kit, Sewing kit, Wooden Needle or Bone needle and Rags Tailor's Kit, Sewing kit, Wooden Needle or Bone needle and Leather patches Soldering iron or Welder and Kevlar plates Basic Repair Kit Toolbox or Basic repair kit loaded with Duct tape soldering iron and plastic chunks Welder or Soldering iron and scrap metal

Clothing will be damaged if the amount of damage you are dealt exceeds the protection rating of the item hit. This is why stepping on land mines ruin your clothes; shrapnel does tons of damage (40+) and there is nearly nothing with 40+ cut protection, so after you step on a landmine you will get a lot of messages telling you your clothes got ripped or destroyed. Damage resistance decreases chance to be damaged and amount of damage increases that chance.

While clothing can be repaired by multiple levels with one repair attempt, they will only be damaged 1 point at a time. Clothing can be reinforced to grant them an additional hit point; for a total of 5. Actual armor values of clothing will slightly increase/decrease with the condition of the clothing, with an overall marked difference between tattered clothing and reinforced clothing.


Clothing is the primary source of heat of the game. Since temperatures range from well below freezing sub-levels to broiling lava rifts ambient temperature is an important factor to consider when deciding what clothing to wear. Since it is always possible to take off clothing it may be wisest to bring spare sets with you and 'test' your environment by walking around in it; adjusting your kitout accordingly.


Wind causes temperature loss when the player is outside. Protection from wind depends on item's coverage and material. Wool and cotton will protect only partially, while leather, plastic and Kevlar are very effective.


Another almost-exclusive property of clothing is its volume-storage granting properties. Many articles of clothing will provide some volume storage capacity, however the largest increases to volume capacity will come from bags and packs; whose primary purpose is to grant storage capacity.

As of the the experimental version, the destruction of clothing can result in the forced-expulsion of items that exceed your current volume capacity. Since the game chooses what items to drop for you, you may not even be aware that you lost your items if you missed the notification.

Body Part Coverage

Clothing will cover one or more of the following areas of the body: [none], head, eyes, mouth, torso, left arm, right arm, left hand, right hand, left leg, right leg, left foot, right foot. Each area is considered as a separate entity by the game; and unless explicitly stated coverage extends only to the parts mentioned.

Coverage of an area implies that the location will be encumbered and protected by the full amount listed. Multiple areas that are covered by the same article of clothing receive the full encumbrance, acid, environmental, and armor values of the clothing; however storage space is considered absolute and will not increase no matter how many areas are covered.

Percentage Coverage

Clothing will provide a coverage percentage, represented by a number from 0 to 100. The higher the number, the less likely the clothing is to be bypassed by any one attack. 100 guarantees the article will act as armor for every attack targeting its coverage area, 0 implies that it will never.

Articles of clothing that are not bypassed by an attack have a chance to be damaged, however they cant protect you if they are never hit.


Encumbrance is the primary limiting factor for the amount of clothing a survivor can wear. Encumbrance represents how much the clothing inhibits activities like running, lockpicking, aiming, swinging, or observing. Encumbrance values directly add to your encumbrance rating, and the penalty for encumbrance on any individual body parts increments every 10 encumbrance.

The game considers encumbrance below 10 as completely unfettered. Values between 10 and 39 are considered mildly encumbering, resulting in a modest penalty to activities and skills that can be overcome with skill. Values between 40 and 59 are considered encumbering, resulting in heavier penalties that may be too hefty for an early-game character to easily overcome. Values over 60 are considered heavily encumbering, and the severe penalties never max out; still increasing every 10 encumbrance.

You can check how your equipped gear is encumbering (and warming) you on the Character Stats screen. Each body part will have a display: (U)V+W=X[Y], where

  • U - the number of layers equipped (should equal N in the formula above)
  • V - the encumbrance from equipment (should equal E)
  • W - the encumbrance from excess layers
  • X - the total encumbrance (truncated version of T)
  • Y - the warmth rating on this body part

Encumbrance mechanics such as layering penalty calculations are described in depth on Clothing Encumbrance page.

Fit/Additional Modification

Some clothing can be refit with their respective repair tool to make them less encumbering. This will only happen if the item is not already sized for you and then only if the item is at 4 hit points (fully repaired). Fit items will never lose this property, even through further modification or damage.

Any clothing can be further modified with fur, leather, or Kevlar to make it either more protective or warmer. Each material has its own benefit, and each enhancement can be removed at a later date should you so desire. Modifying clothing in this manner will result in an increased encumbrance value. The current penalty for enhancing a low encumbrance item is much higher than modifying a higher-encumbrance item.

Clothing Layer

In addition to the body parts clothing covers, they occupy a layer on each body part. Layers are identifiable from the advanced Clothing screen +, where the text given upon highlighting each article will help you identify the layer they belong to. Current layers are, named for their text:

- 'Next to the Skin'

- 'Tied around the waist'

- [default]

- 'Strapped to you'

- 'Over your other clothes'

Only 2 of any one item can be worn at any time, with the exception of some helmets which limit you to 1 of any kind at once.

In addition to base encumbrance values, any clothing past the first that occupies the same layer on any body part will incur an additional encumbrance penalty for bulk. The base value for this seems to be 2 per additional article, but in some cases it can increase if the items are marked as bulky or otherwise awkward. It is for this reason that wearing several undershirts and compression tops will result in a large encumbrance penalty despite each individual article having a value of 0 encumbrance.

The order of putting clothes on is important for their protection. Items with low protection worn over items with high protection will be ruined much faster than in the reverse. Use the + key to open the layer clothing menu, and the s key to reorder clothing.


Water-affinity refers to the items response to varying levels of water. Currently the largest effect getting wet has is a morale and warmth drop.

Some items will be water-friendly, and resist rain. If all the outer layers clothing covering your head, torso, and arms are water-friendly or better you will not take morale penalties for being rained on. Rain mechanics are further discussed on the wet page.

Some items are actually water-friendly, and can grant morale boosts when wet.

Utility/Special Purposes

Many clothing items in C:DDA grant special benefits to the wearer that are not so readily identified or classified. Some hold items, freeing up volume (but not weight) for other items, some help you wield weapons faster, and some provide minor but unique benefits.

Items like holsters, sheathes, scabbards, and survivor vests will decrease the time required to draw a weapon, as well as removing its volume from your inventory. With skill a survivor can decrease the chance of fumbling while drawing/holstering the weapon.

Items such as toolbelts will hold tools of varying sizes, such as a hammer or wrench. The most impressive of these items is currently the Firefighter's Toolbelt of the 0.C experimentals, which is capable of holding a crowbar. The Survivor's toolbelt actually carries the better part of a toolbox on it, to remove the large metal box from your inventory.

Items such as Light-amplifying goggles will increase night vision without creating traceable light.

Items such as sunglasses will eliminate the glare penalty from sunny days.

Items such as wrist watches will put the precise time onto your hud.

Items such as the bio-monitor will detect and read out your current radiation level when used.

Items such as canteens or waterskins will hold fluid, even deleterious materials such as concentrated acid or bleach.

Morale Boosting

Clothing in the game can qualify as 'religious', 'fancy' or 'super fancy', which by themselves grant no benefit but will increase morale if worn by a survivor with the spiritual or stylish trait respectively. Its always good to look good, but when the benefit is feeling good it becomes more worthwhile.