I'll say it again. You don't need a thousand dollars worth of stuff to carry around on an investigation, leave that to the TV groupies. If you join an investigative group, they may already have equipment to try out before you buy it so for now you will need:
- Good flashlight with extra batteries (keep them in the car in case yours go out)
- Cell phone
- Camera (this does not have to be hugely expensive, a cheap disposable works fine)
- Extra film and batteries
Nice to have:
- Tape recorder with external microphone (it can be difficult to hear the playback if your recorder's inner mechanisms are loud)
- Infra-red video recorders
- Digital camera
- Electromagnetic Field Meters. These are the current favorite toys of many investigators, I find them annoying, unreliable and not easy to get accurate readings from.
- Motion detectors. Fun to have, I have yet to see one actually work with a haunting. It does, however scare the pants off of people trying to use the bathroom with one in there.