Personally, to start out, I would buy a corn cob pipe. Look for the Missouri Meerschaum brand, American made, and a decent enough smoker. They are cheap, and don't require much for break-in (also, they are a good way to figure out if you prefer a bent stem or straight stem). That way, if you don't like it, you don't have much invested.
As far as the essentials you will need, Dr. Grabow pipe filters will absorb the moisture well enough (pipe tobacco is very moist compared to cigarette), and again, are cheap. They usually say to change the filter daily, but I usually change after each bowl. You should also get a pipe tool, I prefer the $10 "pocket knife" variety, that will have a pick, tamper, and scraper/reamer in it. Everyone has their own preference to tobacco, but to start out, you can't really go wrong with Captain Black. It's not expensive, but it's not the cheapest stuff out there either. If you want something flavored, I like Paladin Black Cherry, but it has a slight bitter bite. Generally, I find that long kitchen matches are the best way to light the pipe, as it takes a minute or so , and the head of a lighter will get pretty hot in that time. Pipe cleaners are essential, and each smoker has their preference over tapered/straight and other options. I prefer the straight ones, and will use two or three in cleaning the pipe stem.
Generally, I can get 20 to 30 minutes of smoking from my pipe. I feel pretty relaxed during that time, but it doesn't feel the same as when I smoked cigarettes. I don't notice a nicotine rush, and I don't feel like I need it all the time, like I did with other forms of tobacco use. My advice, relax and enjoy!
Last edited by JLKuehl; 11-14-2010 at 06:01 PM.
Reason: forgot the danged ol' pipe cleaners!
"Shaven like a banker, Lilac Vegetal" - Clutch "Burning Beard"