How to use armor in Dwarf Fortress

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The desert in Dwarf Fortress.
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Just like weapons, armor in Dwarf Fortress is a necessary part of the game. Anything you wear can have protective abilities and save the life of your dwarves should some accident happen. You should use the armor even if everything seems to be well. Since the process of using it is tricky, we've put together a guide on how to use armor in Dwarf Fortress to cover everything you need to know.

Not only will we go over the basics of using armor, but also how to approach choosing the best armor in Dwarf Fortress to get you started quickly.


And while you are here, make sure to check our list of the best mods for Dwarf Fortress. Also, we have a guide on how to get, farm, and get rid of water in Dwarf Fortress.

How to use armor in Dwarf Fortress

Armor coverage chart for Dwarf Fortress.
Credit: Source: Dwarf Fortress Wiki

Even though everything might seem obvious when it comes to using armor in Dwarf Fortress, many players report that their dwarves refuse to equip and use armor sometimes. Mostly, this glitch is caused by players themselves making simple mistakes while using armor.


First, you should make sure that the dwarf you're trying to equip armor to has active duty. Soldiers without any tasks cannot wear armor. To set an active duty, you should open the squad interface using S. Here, you can see available soldiers and manage them. You only need to use the T button to schedule or start training.

After that, you should build a few rooms and put armor and weapon stands inside them. Doing it allows you to designate the built rooms as barracks. It is the final step in using armor for your dwarves.

You should open barrack settings using the Q button. On the settings menu, click the T button and all soldiers will equip available armor themselves.

How to unequip armor in Dwarf Fortress

One of the most likely reasons why your dwarves cannot equip armor is that they already have an equipped armor set or wear clothing. You should press the R button and change the option Over Clothing to Replace Clothing. This problem solves the armor issue for many Dwarf Fortress players, so it might also help in your case.


How to choose the best armor in Dwarf Fortress

Once you know everything you need about using armor in Dwarf Fortress, you'll want to know what the best armor set is. You should know that the game has six layers of armor and you need to use all six layers to get the best protection.

  • Headgear
  • Upper Body
  • Hands
  • Lower Body
  • Footwear
  • Shield

Talking about the best armor, you should take into account that there is no best armor in Dwarf Fortress. Every armor material has unique protective abilities and you should use them in different cases. For example, steel armor has perfect protection against copper weapons.

Also, you should remember that armor in Dwarf Fortress has durability. It can be damaged during the fight and lose its defensive abilities. Therefore, you should not spend your last resources on making powerful armor.

That’s all there is to using armor in Dwarf Fortress. You also need to take into account that every piece of armor has its unique size and there is a special size limit that you cannot exceed. So, think carefully before selecting the best possible armor for your dwarves. And while you are still here, make sure to check our guide on how to feed animals in Dwarf Fortress.