I’ve died a few times before reaching the point where I can get some action going; after each death I was unable to recover the contents of my inventory.
- Is my inventory lost forever after death?
- Does storing items in chest help persist them after a respawn?
- What happens to the contents of a chest if it is destroyed?
No answer seems to get the full picture, so let’s do a summary.
Here is what happens to your items after you die:
- Items can be picked up.
- When you die, all the items in your inventory are dropped on ground.
- Items on the ground are destroyed by explosions (creepers and TNT), lava and cactus.
- Water streams move items. Items float in water in 1.13+.
- Items on the ground get deleted after 5 minutes (time only counted when chunk is loaded).
- Items are affected by gravity and have no explosion resistance, health, etc. which other blocks/objects have. This means that even after they are dropped, a small explosion can kill all of them.
- Items placed in a chest are stored infinitely until removed, or until the chest is destroyed. The rules above then apply to the items dropped. Chests cannot be destroyed by fire, lava, or water, but can be destroyed with explosions.
- If you had any experience on you, a fraction of it will drop and be allowed to be picked up.
Keep in mind things don’t happen such as mobs moving, creepers exploding etc. if the chunk is not loaded.