Actually, you don’t need to have professional equipment to shoot panoramas. If you want, you can use almost any camera and even a smartphone. It is best if you can fix the camera’s exposition setting or if it has a panoramic mode. But if you are really willing and you know how to use Photoshop, you can do this with any camera. Photoshop is not the only software that can be used to stitch the shots into the panorama. Still, if you want to shoot a high quality panorama you should use a good camera and some equipment, plus use the multi-exposure shooting mode.
You can shoot a panorama without a tripod, but it is much easier if you have one. The most comfortable way is to use a panoramic head for your tripod. It fixes the camera at the nodal point, which means that you can match the shots in the panorama without any problem (see the explanation of terms here).
Be careful with ultrawide-angle lenses, as they can produce a great deal of distortion. However, software can deal with wide-lens shots. Wide lenses are useful because they show more space and you can take fewer shots.
Remote camera control devices
You can use a cable-release, time delay or remote control to take shots without camera vibrations.
If you need to know where north is, take a compass with you.P.P.S. If you want to know what to do with the equipment, here is an article about creating panoramas.