The beauty and attraction of long distance hiking is that it provides an opportunity to truly disconnect from the modern, hectic world for an extended period of time. The flip side of that, of course, is that being away from it all also means being away from medical care and assistance in case of an accident.
Bringing along a first-aid kit with the requisite bandages, band-aids, disinfectants and bug spray is vital. McKinney says it's important to keep in mind exactly where your route will take you. "Much of this is region specific," he says, pointing out that hikers in, say, Alaska would be wise to carry bear spray while those headed through the desert Southwest would be smart to pack a snake bite kit.
It may also be helpful, says Alt, to think of outfitting your first-aid kit to address non-medical emergencies. A Swiss army knife, matches and a lighter, for instance, are always handy, while duct tape to aid in fixing shoes and clothing can also be a big help. Some means to summon assistance is also essential, which is why carrying a whistle to alert other hikers, as well as a cell phone for true emergencies should find a place in a pack [sources: Alt; Davis].