Panorama Hardware comes down to a few key pieces. Some are NOT required, but if you want to take the perfect landscape shot or you want to do so more easily without fiddling around as much, some of these pieces can help tremendously. Some of the pieces will help to reduce the Parallax error.
A Tripod is pretty much required for any decent panorama shot. Yes, you can take a panorama without one, but the quality won't be very good. So, consider a tripod a must. You can use any tripod, just as long as you use a tripod.
This is not necessary to take panoramas, but it can make taking pictures (including panoramas) MUCH easier. This is basically a L shaped plate that is screwed directly onto your DSLR. It allows you to rotate your camera in either vertical and landscape mode without changing the composition of your image.
If you have a camera attached directly to a ballhead, what happens when you move the camera from landscape to portrait composition? You've got to physically recompose everything because you have to move the tripod and camera to a different angle. The L-Plate helps you avoid that by simply repositioning the camera itself (rather than the tripod ballhead + camera) to landscape or portraite mode in a couple seconds.
Simply put, this L-shaped plate is fitted to the camera so that the tripod QR plate is positioned at the end of the camera as opposed to beneath. With this fitted, the camera's NPP remains, more or less, centered effectively; i.e., directly above the tripod. This will eliminate parallax errors.
Spirit Level / Tripod Level
To make certain that the tripod and camera are completely level try to use use a spirit level. This will help you to attain straight horizons and so reduce the amount of cropping required later. The type that fits into the hot-shoe of the camera such as the Adorama Double Bubble Level or more inexpensive Hama versions are good and, in the case of Hama, relatively cheap (under £10) This will make a huge difference and give you improved stitching quality, helping to prevent the image from appearing wavy or bent out of shape.