Luggage and bags:
you will not regret if you bring some protective equipment, while it is not commonplace to use it when doing risky work here. I dont know whether these things are available in shops, they should be there. But the locals are used to save money not buying gloves, facial masks etc. When you give notice that there are loose wires and sparkling when you manipulate with the water, they just place a sheet of paper with a handwriting LIFE DANGER VOLTAGE! but you are still expected to use the water tap there. Uh..
What we appreciated, that they saved us from the terrible dust by these self-made masks made of bandages :o)
Luggage and bags:
I brought a back pack with me to Samara as I had arrived via the Trans Siberian Railway and couldn't be bogged down with bags. Most Russians seems to travel with the ubiquitous plastic zipper bags in various sizes. They are made in China and are of VERY BAD quality. When I left Samara I had more stuff than would fit in my backpack so I bought one of these... the zip broke on my Samara-Moscow train trip and I still had the flight left to go!!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In the summer it is a nice warm temperature and with the beach on the Volga you should definately bring a swimsuit! Russian women wear as little as possible at this time of year! In winter (and also autumn and spring to a certain extent) it is pretty damn cold! You will need a VERY WARM winter coat, boots, gloves, scarf and hat. The coats available here are cheap enough but I doubt the quality.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Everything you need in this department is available.
Photo Equipment: I developed my photographs in Russia but wasn't happy with the quality. Film was available but was quite expensive.