Disclosure: Please note that links to merchants posted in this entry may be an affiliate link which means that I may receive a commission from any purchases made using the affiliate link. This is at no additional cost to you.
Each year the school posts a list of items that incoming cadets must bring. The list is published to the school web site and available in late May or June.
The official list for 2018 is now posted. See pages 6-7 and 13 – 16 of the Success Packet
Be sure to read all pages and links on the Matriculation Headquarters page
Always call the Commandant’s Office with questions about what to bring if it isn’t on the list: (843) 953-3020
PLEASE NOTE: In the past the Citadel Family Association posted a “Nice to Have List” there is NO list this year. The commandant’s office felt knobs reported with too many items. in the past. Just purchase what is on the Success Packet list.
Parents of incoming knobs in the Class of 2022 can join the Facebook group for 2022 parents to read other tips for new families. The group is for parents only. Extended family members can follow the public Facebook groups posted by the school.
The required items for 2018 are list below. I’ve added notes about the items in Blue. This advice is a result of talking to parents and cadets and just suggestions. You may find other brands and suppliers for the items on the list. The items listed and linked are just a suggestions.
Links are provided to items as an aid to help you see what types of items you can purchase. You can purchase these items through these underlined links or your preferred merchant.
You are sending your student to a military college with a strong leadership program. Since most students have to rely on their parents for financial support, it naturally follows that many parents are involved with the process.
When deciding what to purchase, is it best to ask your son or daughter what they want to purchase. The student is the one who will have to live with the decisions on the type items they bring. Throughout the first year the hardest thing for most parents of cadets to get used to is having their son or daughter make the decisions.
Many families find Amazon Prime for students is a great way for cadets to order what they need/want or to send items to your cadet. Prime also gives access to streaming movies and video.
One pair of conservative style pajamas (optional) –
Most cadets sleep in their PT clothes or school sweat shirt and pants. Be sure to ask your student what they want to bring.
Here are a couple types that can be worn – there are many others:
Twelve white, cotton, crew-neck tee shirts
The cadets like to wear the t-shirts on the snug side so they will not bunch up under their uniform shirts. It is a good idea to double the number of t-shirts. Six will be folded and kept in their inspection drawer and not worn. It is very hot and humid in Charleston and having a few extra t-shirts means they will have fresh clothes to change into.
Twelve pairs of white cotton underwear – briefs, or boxer briefs (male)
Six white briefs will be folded and kept in their inspection drawer. Many cadets prefer to wear boxer briefs. The ones they wear do not have to be white but should be a solid color, like blue. Just like the T-shirts it is a good idea to have a few extra pairs of underwear.
Twelve pairs of white cotton panties (female) – NO thongs
Try to find breathable wicking fabric. Pack few extra panties so they will have something fresh to change into.
One pair of “long johns”
These are worn with the wool uniform they will get in November.
Twelve pairs of black crew length socks – cotton socks are recommended. [Experience has proven that socks made of synthetic material contribute to blistering and in some cases secondary infections.]
Technology has changed and many finding socks with wicking material help keep their feet dry. Some military and law enforcement supply stores also carry good socks. Preventing blisters is the biggest concern.
Twelve pairs of plain white cotton athletic ankle socks (Socks must be void of visible logos or color, and must cover the protruding ankle bone. Low cut quarter socks are permitted.)
Technology has improved and many cadets prefer socks with a wicking fabric to keep the feet dry and to help prevent blisters.
One bathing suit, solid black or navy blue (female: conservative one piece)
They don’t wear them often but at the end of the first week they do get to go swimming. There is a swimming test at some point as well. Many families have found suits at Target, Lands End and other retailers.
One pair of shower shoes (black)
There are many options for black shower shoes. I’m listing just two here.
Six white, cotton towels
Don’t spend too much money on the towels. Cadets are very hard on them and they may end up being used to clean too.
Just like the towels don’t get expensive ones. Shop for bargain towels
One standard sized pillow
A good pillow is one of the very few luxuries a first year cadet is allowed. There are many choices.
Four white pillow cases
You can find them at most stores.
Four white, non-fitted sheets for a single bed
Cadets make their beds up for inspection then sleep on top of the made bed. Sheets are often used to make banners. For these reasons find the cheapest flat sheets you can find.
Twelve white handkerchiefs
Get the least expensive ones you can find.
Pack their favorite toiletries, liquid body soap is a good option, shampoo, shaving kit, deodorant, etc.
A wide variety are offered on Amazon
One pair of good running shoes in a subdued color such as white, navy, or black (may have contrasting trim)
It is best to purchase the type and brand shoe that fits their foot in the least conspicuous color you can find.
Once your student finds a shoe that fits you can shop for a good price here.
Three pairs of black bike shorts (cotton spandex) for optional wear with physical training uniform
Compression shorts are what most cadets bring.
One iron with ironing board (board can be full size or travel size)
A decent inexpensive steam iron will do. The cadet are rough on most items no need to spend a lot on an iron.
Labeling clothes: As a time saving measure, though not mandatory, it would be helpful to write your last name and first two initials in your clothing using a permanent marker. The location of the name should be inconspicuous when the garment is worn (e.g., bottom of each sock, rear waistband of underwear, and the front shirt tail of t-shirts).
Some students find the stamp works well, others like iron on labels or sharpie
Shoes and Boots
For questions about the shoes and boots carried on campus contact the Cadet Store at 843-953-5166
Two  pairs of military style, plain toe, smooth leather, black oxford shoes with rubber heels. You will not be permitted to wear shoes that fail to meet these criteria. Shoes made of patent leather or poromeric material are not authorized.
From page 15 of the Success Packet on the specs for shoes:
“MILITARY STYLE BLACK OXFORD, PLAIN TOE, PLAIN HEEL (no additional stitching on the heel), SMOOTH LEATHER, RUBBER HEEL AND SOLE HIGH GLOSS, POROMERIC, OR CORFAM SHOES ARE NOT PERMITTED FOR WEAR” “GO TO THE BATES FOOTWEAR WEB SITE, CLICK ON SEARCH PRODUCT ENTER STYLE NUMBER, E00932 FOR MALES, E00752 FOR FEMALES”
Some cadets like the Florsheim Lexington plain toe black oxford in polishable leather
“GO TO THE US PATRIOT TACTICAL WEBSITE SEARCH ENTER TR350 MEN’S 8” TACTICAL RESEARCH DESERT TAN COLORED BOOTS ARE THE ONLY AUTHORIZED COLOR. NO ZIPPERS”
It is also available through Amazon
This entry will be updated as new information becomes available like this note from June 13, 2017: