For the beginning ghost hunter, the cost of equipping yourself can be staggering. My advice is to be frugal. You don’t need to buy every gadget on the market. Most ghost hunters that I know have cases of equipment they never use. Only buy the equipment that you believe will used most frequently. Even though I recommend being frugal with your purchases, I strongly advise to shop for quality products. This will require that to shop around for the best prices and perhaps force you to consider buying used. If you can buy a used piece of equipment that’s well maintained for a reasonable price, I consider that money saved. Remember, you’re buying for a particular purpose, not for everyday use, so keep this in mind when deciding how much you are willing to pay for equipment.
If you’re handy and not scared of taking things apart, Goodwill Stores are an excellent resource for equipment. Most “full spectrum” or “night vision” cameras have been modified by someone other than the manufacturer. With a cheap set of precision screwdrivers and few minutes invested in watching YouTube videos, just about anyone with some mechanical skill can modify a camera. So if you’re going to modify a camera, buy a used one from your local Goodwill or resale shop. It doesn’t matter how many megapixels the camera has, because most photos taken under infrared lighting conditions are somewhat grainy.
For equipment bags, Goodwill and other resale shops are good places to look. Another good place to find ghost hunting equipment and supplies is Craigslist, Facebook Market Place, and eBay. Also, don’t be in a hurry to buy something. Again, take your time and shop around.
Another consideration when buying your equipment is batteries. Some cameras use proprietary batteries. I guarantee you’ll use more than one battery during an investigation, so see how much replacement batteries cost. It’s not uncommon for the replacement batteries to cost almost as much as the piece of equipment you are buying. The best advice I can give is to look for equipment that uses standard off the shelf batteries, like AA, AAA, D, C, and 9 volt. An excellent place to buy regular batteries is at “Dollar Tree” stores. Harbor Freight is good place to purchase rechargeable batteries. Remember, when purchasing rechargeable batteries; buy the ones with the highest milliAmp hour rating (mAh). They’ll last longer in the field.
You will need a couple of good flashlights. Look for these at Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, or Home Depot. You do not need to purchase the most expensive flashlight, but do choose a sturdy one. You want a flashlight that can survive a hard drop. Also, get a flashlight that uses standard batteries, not a rechargeable. When your flashlight dies, you want to be able to change batteries and get it working again. You may consider buying a flashlight with a focusable beam. I frequently use my flashlight to augment my camera flash.
If you’re starting a team, consider pooling your money. Sometimes you can buy equipment in bulk and reduce the cost per item. Also, consider giving each of your team members a specialization. This way not every member of your team needs to buy the same piece of equipment. Reducing the need for redundancy in equipment will save in your team’s initial startup costs.
Ghost hunting is a rewarding but expensive pastime. Be smart with your money. By shopping around, being creative, pooling your resources, and sticking to a budget, you can save a lot of money. The best piece of advice that I can give is to be patient. You do not have to purchase all of your equipment at once. Take your time to get what you want, and what you will be happy using. Also look at product reviews. They will tell you a lot about the quality and usefulness of an item. Never buy on impulse, do some research on the item you’re going to buy. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen investigators purchase something on a whim, and end up with a piece of useless equipment.