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The stockpile is an inventory system which you can access from anywhere in the world. By pressing the "I" key, you can open the interface to put items into or take items out of it. This is not to be mistaken for an inventory. The items in your stockpile will remain even if the player dies, even though the player's actual inventory (the hotbar exclusively) is reset upon death. However, your colonists can not universally access the stockpile. They require crates to do so, and the crates must be within walking distance. All jobs except guards require a crate to take items from and put items into the stockpile. This can be a bit confusing at first, but ultimately incredibly helpful in automating the production of key resources in your colony.]]s.