"I really wanted to use bottles, but on all the packs I tried in store, I couldn't easily reach the pocket to pull out a 1L smartwater bottle. I ended up with a zimmerbuilt pack, and I can barely reach the bottles, but it isn't comfortable/easy, and getting it back in is worse. So I'm glad I also got a bladder sleeve, and I'll probably be sticking to my 2L bladder. I don't enjoy the feel of a holsters on the shoulder straps, so that's out.
I guess this is just an unfortunate combo of physiology/flexibility for me."
I never had a pack where I could reach water bottles either. When I got a Golite Pinnacle I found, after I bought it, that I could easily reach and return the bottles. Was a nice bonus.
" I sold my Steripen and I have one or two floating around here somewhere.
Dale, why did you sell your Steripen? I use various methods but when I'm going to someplace I'm confident about plenty of water, I don't carry any water and use the Steripen to drink at the source. I would have thought that would work great in the PNW.