Going to take an open water diving course. No previous history, but I’m very excited. Anyways, Im a student, and my parents are going to help pay. What should I absolutely buy in a shop?

I heard some people go try on equipment (fins, mask etc) and buy the exact same one online. Is this a good idea?

Also, where can I buy the most recent Padi course book? The one that they will require you to fill out. I just dont know how to tell which one is most recent, and I dont want to pay 60-90 bucks for it in store.

Any advice is welcome. Thanks everyone!
Well its like 299 +course materials. Ugh. 80 bucks for a book and some dvd :/

As mentioned there are some things that are fine to buy online. It will mostly be the small parts. And yes they are in many cases less expensive. However, a knife is not a knife, and BC is not a BC. And in the early stages of your diving, you are going to be looking for information on what a good "X" is. Also for anything with sizes, you will want to try it on. In order to do this you have to visit your LDS (local dive shop) When you walk in there, you are normally going to ask questions. The extra cost the dive shop charges is to pay that guy the 10 bucks an hour to be there to answer your questions. If you really get into diving you will build a relationship with your LDS (or a few) as you are in there all the time to get air/gas fills to pick up pieces and parts etc. So when you utilize their knowledge and then go save a few dollars by buying it online it hurts their business. And when you have a question about it or it needs service or repair they are less willing to help. So it’s good to have a good relationship with the shop. Also when it comes to annual service you can run into issues. Each year things like BCs and Regulators need to be serviced. (the o rings get hard, things loosen up, get a little corrosion etc) If you buy a brand that a local store doesn’t carry, it may be tough to get it serviced or fixed. lastly there are some on-line places that sell gray market items. You just have to watch out and know where you are ordering from.

That being said, their are some great online stores. They are usually associated with brick and mortar dive shops. There is someone that can help you if you have questions, but you generally need to know what you are after. So what should you get at a shop. Your first full setup. Fins / mask / weigh / booties. BC / reg / gauge or computer Then when it gets to the little stuff, online may make sense.