Same with weapons. You cannot equip a weapon without putting it on your quick bar. Again, why? If I have a rocket launcher, I'm probably going to only want to pull it out for a big or really tough foe. So again, wasting a quick slot to have it on 24/7. This makes any kind of context-sensitive options almost impossible, unless you retreat all the time to re-arrange your quick bar every 3rd fight.
My quick bar at the moment is as follows, as there is always going to be some essential items: melee weapon, primary ranged weapon, heavy weapon (which I'd prefer to just equip from inventory when required, had to sacrifice shield in the process to make room), 2-3 combat chems, fried meat, healing potion. And the other slot, which I'd like to use for a shield or perhaps another weapon, will be taken up by context-sensitive chems such as resistances or dialogue skill buffs. This also prevents me from being able to use any of these alb power items I've encountered because, yep, can't use them from inventory either.
Sorry for the ramble, but I just exited the game to post this, so the frustration is still fresh and very real. I'm otherwise loving the game, faulty melee hit boxes notwithstanding, but this issue/design choice is infuriating. I'm hoping it's a bug or oversight that will be patched, but if it's a design choice (PB is not immune from bizarre decisions) then all I can hope for is a mod to either make chems available to use from inventory, or a mod that simply adds more hotkeys. A second quick bar using the num pad would solve this problem.
I can only imagine how woeful this must be for controller users, with a mere 4 hotkeys. Am I the only one frustrated by this?