How buggy are npc's?

So I befriended the npc in my starting bunker, and another one I found in a cabin after I found him an inhaler. Things are going super swell and stuff. So after reading their VERY verbose instructions (lol) it seemed like I could have them help me carry some loot. Then it sounded like, in order to get the items back I had to choose the sort armor option in thier menu. But when I did and told them to take off or whatever, the items I wanted back, they disappeared from the list, but they are also not ANYWHERE around on the ground or in my stuff either. They are just gone. Tried several times, different items, same result. Is this a bug or am I not understanding something?

Without a version we can’t verify if they are broken or not.
Also, did you check their inventory? If they had enough space they might have just stashed it away.

The sort armor option is to determine what they wear and what they don’t (as well as shifting layers around, which I haven’t done yet).
To trade you need to talk to them (C-a-e, if I remember correctly, although I think you can initiate talk with ‘e’ as well, but C works at some distance). As Valase said, the items you ordered them to take off are probably in their inventory.

Normally I use trade to give items to the companion for carrying, and then trade again to get them back, but with armor I want them to use I have to order them to use the items (one at a time), and then sort armor to remove the items (e.g. when changing the loadout), followed by trade to get the “old” items back.

Sorry guys I forgot, build 10916. Hmm ok I will try to look in the trade window later.

to get stuff back ask to trade with them
they should accept the trade regardless of value