I own a basic SLR Cannon Rebel. It takes 4k images which is probably the minimum you need. I have a zoom lens that goes from 18 mm to 250 mm. I like the versatility of of being able to shoot wide and then be able to zoom into something really tight. There are some compromises to a long lenses like needing longer exposure times but I think it is worth it. A Tripod is nice, one that you can fit on your back for hiking around is great. I mostly would use a tripod for low light photography or sky domes. Like I said I am kind of wanting a more souped-up camera—those canons that can shoot video look very cool.
Storage and Backup
I have had several configurations of storage and back up systems for shooting. Every situation is different but this is generally what I think works out the best.
[list class="bullet-4"][li]Digital SLR Camera[/li][li]Bunch of Large Capacity Flash Cards 32-64 Gigs[/li][li]Extra Camera Batteries[/li][li]Laptop[/li][li]External HD[/li][/list]
Memory cards are relatively cheep so shoot a ton of photos of everything. The extra batteries are to make sure your camera can be used all day long without having to go back to your home base to charge up. The laptop is to check your photos at night when you are back at home base—make sure your images are turning out like you would expect. Lastly, have a external HD to back up all your cards but do not delete your cards when you are done backing up--the idea is to have two copies of everything. The equipment may be expensive but think how expensive it would be to loose all your work. I think every Matte Painter could weigh in on storage and backup but this is what I have found to be the best.
Take a Buddy
If you are shooting a distant location at some expense you will want to make sure you have a buddy with you. Both of you should have cameras and you both are more or less duplicating the work. This redundancy is to make sure nothing goes wrong. And this is probably the Eagle Scout in me coming out but it is really safer to have someone with you—especially in some of the dodgy places you might be shooting.