They have some loan gear for use at Collingwood, but protective gear is a must. Check out the posts on different people's preferences on suits, ESP about gloves.
On woodware, Redpath's have boxes cut with finger joints if you prefer that to rabbet joints. Again, it seems more personal preference than one being proved better than the other.
I think box size is an important decision worth pondering for a while. For example, I have found even 8 frame deeps for brood boxes very heavy to lift (I am a hobbyist and work in an office). I have gone to ideals for supers, but now have two frame sizes. But, everyone has different preferences, so you need to talk to a few beeks, lift a few boxes, and then decide what will be best for you.