Okay, you wanna start with: what are the two most important things you could have. I can't say just one because these are of equal value. The most vital equipment is:
1) A cell phone
2) a sharp knife
In no particular order.
Let's make a test to see if you understand this:
You're stranded on a... sandbar, having been let off there by a haunted garbage scow, and you're on your belly, you're wet, and you stink. You also have no weapons. On the sand are: a wet, sand filled cell phone, some poly rope, probably off a boat somewhere, your own boot that came off your foot, and a futuristic atomic ray gun that can obliterate anything in its path.
And you can take just one thing, one item off that sandbar before the tentacle of a river Malevolence yanks you by the bare ankle and pulls you backward off the sand.
What do you grab?
WRONG. You grab the cell phone.
Also, the atomic ray gun is cool. Definitely go back for that.
If there'd been a knife, which do you grab off that sand?
Correct. Whichever is closest-- the cell phone or the knife.
If the knife looks dull..?
The cell phone.
Remember I didn't say a working cell phone, a dry cell phone, a cell phone you recognize, or a charged cell phone. Back before cell phones, all monster hunters had in their number one spot was a sharp knife.
I don't care what kind of shape it's in, a cell phone contains information, and there are a lot of ways and a lot of people who can help you get that information out of it even if it's covered in bodily fluids or sand.
The sharp knife will help you free yourself and others from potentially gruesome situations. Remember, most monsters aren't thinking about what they're going to do next with you. They couldn't care less. They just leave you there, tied up or cocooned. If you have a knife, or your partner has a knife, if you have a partner, you can go home and monsters usually forget about you. Or you can find some more weapons and go after the sonofabitch. Here are some weapons you might consider after your knife:
1) Always a knife. Then you can go on to:
2) a wooden club-- stick of firewood, anything made of wood. Never plastic. Never those new plastic nightsticks, make sure it's wood.
3) Some way to create a flamethrower. All of these are fun, so knock yourself out.
4) You can buy an actual flamethrower if you want to.
5) A bow and the knowledge of how to use it. Make sure you've got one you're comfortable with using, and get some lessons if you don't know what that should look like.
That's about it. You can get a .38 or a shotgun or both. A .38's better than a .45 for sure. You can get all kind of weapons and local items when you know what you're dealing with.
Other equipment, to keep on your person or in your car or ... lair, if you're that kind of monster-hunter:
1) Salt. The big bag you keep in your car anyway will be fine, softener salt or de-icing salt or whatever. As long as it's salt.
2) Extra cell phones
4) McDonald's apple pies at two for a dollar. If you aren't absolutely certain whether you're dealing with a corporeal or a spiritual enemy, then use the apple pies. Most corporeal animals and people will react to pies somehow-- they either accept them or reject them-- slap them aside. If they ignore them completely they're probably spirits. You can get a McDouble for a dollar, but it doesn't keep as well in the car. I have problems with mice getting into my trunk. If that's the case with you, keep your apple pies in some kind of box. Also you can use them yourself if you get hungry in the woods or on a stakeout.
5)A tire iron or a crowbar
7)a flare gun
8) another flare gun
Don't worry, this isn't a movie. The flares actually work the first time.
Um... let's see what else is in here.
-A full deck of cards with jokers ... with two extra jokers already put in
-a mini grill
-a fishing pole
-holy objects and crosses
-laptop-- going online gives you access to all the directories and professionals (besides yourself) you could need
Don't use glass vials of anything. Don't bother with empty glass vials for sample collecting. By the time you get samples analyzed, you're just backing up a hunch.
Machines can be overrated. I use some. I like to make and adapt them. When you use a device, you probably expect it to find something-- and that's interesting, but you might as well skip right to the part where you go kill that something.
If you could get ahold of a cat that's a good idea, and I'm sure monster-hunters besides me carry one in a crate in their car. But you can use the local felines to help you. Cats are nature's perfect barometer of spirit activity. If the cats are okay, you're okay. You can relax. Learn to speak cat so you know when they're upset. But a sure good sign you're okay and everything is fine is a cat with her tail and head both in the air, looking up at you.
If a cat's just coming in and out on the side of your path, or a few cats are out here and there, then it's just normal every day. If a cat of any kind, not just black, any color, crosses your path, the area is crawling with spiritual activity.
Now to the way you behave. How you conduct yourself.
2) look up and smile. People will usually talk and give you information.
3) Assume you got some on you.
4) Time wasting kills more people on monster hunts than anything else. Anything you want to say can be said in the car.
5) Get in the car.
6) I said get in the car. Look, standing in front of your car to explain things to your babbling new partner or local victim, chances are good-- I mean nine times out of ten-- the headlights will come on and you have no control of your car. Why are you talking outside? If you're bigger than your problem partner, or you can possibly overcome him, then for god's sake do so and get in the car.
7) Even a tent is better than nothing. Even an outhouse in the middle of the woods with several recent fatalities is better than nothing. Much better.
8) Posture. Posture.
9) Don't worry too much about how much fighting you know or what kind of skills you have. If you can't fight someone, don't.
10) *smack* Stand up straight!
11) Let me explain about this posture thing. Let your fear right out the front of your chest. Square your shoulders. Look at things. Don't go shyly into dark corners. Square up and walk. Never stay down. If you're on your knees, or sitting down, you'll be more frightened than if you stand. Plan to be straightforward and brave. Injuries hurt less when you're holding your shoulders up right. That includes mental, emotional things as well as physical ones.
In fact it's a trick test I gave you at the top there because if you're on your belly... even before you grab a cell phone, the first thing you should do is stand up.
12) When in doubt, use the crowbar. You can work it out later but at least be doing something. It's always clear how you should use the crowbar. So go for it.
11) Stand up straight and look around. 29 times out of 30, there's nothing to be afraid of.
12) That 30th time, those flares come in handy.
Take care of yourself out there.