Cardigan Mountain School A boarding and day school for boys in grades 6 through 9

Packing Guide

Cardigan’s dress codes are intended to create a shared sense of purpose, pride, and camaraderie among the student body and the broader school community. Student dress and appearance should be neat, presentable, and functional. There are varying dress codes for varying occasions, but the two most common are class dress and dinner dress this year. We will not require Chapel dress this year.

Class Dress

Our most common dress, Class dress consists of a collared shirt (such as a golf shirt, rugby shirt, or button-down), khaki pants with belt loops (colored are acceptable, no elastic bottoms or cargo pants), a belt, dress socks, and dress shoes (or boots, if the winter weather warrants). Dress shorts and sneakers are permitted in September and May for class dress.

Dinner Dress

A few times each week, we ask the community to dress in dinner dress. Dinner dress consists of khaki pants with belt loops (colored are acceptable, no elastic bottoms or cargo pants) or dress slacks, a belt, blazer, dress shirt (button-down/Oxford type), tie, dress socks, and dress shoes. (Boots will only be allowed when weather appropriate. Pant legs should be tucked over boots.)

A few meals each week will be "Buffet meals" where dress is more casual. These meals are usually Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday dinners, and all Sunday meals. Occasionally, there will also be “dress down” days (usually associated with a fundraiser for a good cause).

Athletic Clothing and Gear

Please pack 2 water bottles and bring them with you to campus to use for fall athletics.

Packing plenty of t-shirts and pairs of athletic socks is certainly advisable, but be aware that the boys are issued uniform practice clothing—shorts and t-shirts referred to here as “greens and grays,” in addition to game attire—which is washed by our athletic staff via a “laundry loop” system, so packing excessive pairs of “runaround” gym-type shorts is not necessary. Athletic gear can be brought to school, and depending on what it is, kept in the boy’s assigned gym locker. (If, after arrival, your son would like to try a new sport for which he does not have appropriate footwear or other gear, arrangements will be made to get him what he needs, with those charges appearing on his student account.) 

What to Bring: Required Clothing

Cardigan students need to be prepared with clothing appropriate to the various occasions and settings for which they will dress, and because the laundry service delivers only once each week (on Wednesday, after a Monday pickup), they will need nearly a two-week supply of class, dinner, and “free” dress. 

All items must be clearly marked with the student’s full name. Extra name labels or a permanent marker should be supplied for items purchased after arrival at school.

*Indicates items that are for sale in the School Store.

Class Dress (10-day supply)

  • belt*
  • dress shoes/winter boots (when permitted)
  • dress socks
  • collared shirt
  • long pants/slacks (with no external pockets) and/or  knee-length dress shorts (when permitted)

At the request of E&R Laundry, collared/polo shirts must not be Lacoste brand. Please keep in mind the six-day class schedule. Permission to wear boots to class is subject to weather conditions; dress shorts are permitted before October 1 and after May 1, unless otherwise announced by the director of student life.

Dinner Dress

  • necktie*
  • belt
  • dress shoes
  • dress socks
  • Oxford-type dress shirt (light color)
  • class dress slacks
  • sport jacket and/or suit jacket

Pictures or lettering on dinner slacks are not acceptable. In contrast to class dress, dinner dress standards are the same year-round.

Additional Items

  • athletic shorts*
  • athletic socks
  • underwear
  • sweat pants/sweat shirts*
  • pajamas
  • t-shirts*
  • casual clothes

Multiple sets are likely to be used during a typical week, although the School issues practice shorts and tees for sports practices.

What to Bring: Purchasing Clothing

Students are required to wear different types of clothing at different times, so Cardigan has teamed up with Land’s End to assist in the selection clothing (only if you are interested).

Lands End
Cardigan Mountain School Code: 900109612
Phone: 1.800.469.2222 (reference school name)
Online: Go to
Sears: In-store Lands’ End clothing 
(reference “Cardigan Mountain School”)

What to bring: Suggested Clothing

Cardigan boys will need to be prepared for outdoor activities, and due to the wide seasonal variations of the New England climate, appropriate outerwear is made available for purchase in the School Store. 

*Indicates items that are for sale in the School Store.


  • rain jacket
  • lightweight jacket* 
  • heavy winter jacket*
  • gloves or mittens*
  • winter hat*
  • weatherproof boots (able to be tucked under their pant legs)
  • bicycle helmet (required if using bike, skateboard, longboard, Rollerblades, or scooter)

Additional Clothing Items (Optional)

  • bathrobe
  • bathing suit
  • slippers 
  • flip-flops* or other slip-on style shoes

Buffet Dress (also “Dress-Down” or “Free” Dress)

  • sweatpants*
  • jeans or work pants
  • t-shirts (several are advisable)*
  • sweatshirt*
  • sneakers
  • athletic socks*

Boys may “dress down” for specific dinner meals (usually Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday dinner, Sunday brunch, and Sunday dinner). With three time slots for meals this year based on grade, we will notify the community soon on which meals they will be able to “dress down” for. Sandals and flip-flops, tank tops, and cut-off shirts are not permitted in the dining hall. Sneakers are not to be worn to class, except with dress shorts in September and May.

All items must be clearly marked with the student’s full name. A permanent/fabric marker should be supplied for labeling items purchased after arrival at school.

Laundry Service

E&R Laundry in Manchester, N.H., provides the laundry, dry-cleaning, and linen service for Cardigan Mountain School. The fee for this service is $1,250.00 for the entire school year and will automatically be charged on the tuition bill for all boarding students.

This laundry company provides the following:

  • 4 sheets (2 flat, 2 fitted)
  • 2 pillowcases
  • 1 blanket
  • 1 pillow
  • 1 bedspread
  • 1 quilted mattress cover
  • 5 bath towels
  • 2 E&R laundry bags (must be used by all students)

E&R cleans all of the above and all personal laundry and dry cleaning weekly. (Please note: E&R Laundry will not clean Lacoste brand polo shirts.) Any items provided by E&R Laundry that are not returned at the end of the academic year will be charged to your son’s debit account. Students will be required to sign for all items received at Registration. ALL clothing articles must be clearly marked with the student’s name. Please contact Sandra Kinne in the Cardigan Business Office at 603.523.3549 or if you have any questions regarding laundry service.

Haircut Service

In past years, we have been able to provide boys with access to a haircut without leaving campus. However, as we plan for the 2020-2021 academic year and prioritize the health and safety of our community, we realize there will be challenges to continuing this service. We will continue to evaluate how we may be able to offer haircuts to our boys. For the time being, we ask that your son arrive on campus in August with a fresh haircut. For your guidance, our previous haircut policy is below.

Hair should be styled so it does not hang over a boy’s eyebrows or shirt collar, and so it does not touch the ears on both sides of the head. Boys should keep hair groomed and neat; the volume of hair should be consistent with the spirit of the guidelines. Cutting hair or shaving areas on one’s head to create lettering, lines, or abrupt changes in hair length is not acceptable. Facial hair is not allowed, and sideburns should be trimmed to mid-ear level. No hair coloring of any sort is allowed. 

What to Bring: Required personal items

* Please Note: Students are not allowed to have prescription drugs and/or over-the-counter medications in their rooms. The school nurse dispenses all medications and supplements.

*Indicates items that are for sale in the School Store.

Room Furnishings    

  • alarm clock*
  • desk lamp*
  • flashlight*
  • dustpan and broom or small vacuum (optional)
  • hangers*
  • bin for under bed storage

Personal Items

  • personal hygiene items and various toiletries*
  • fully charged phone card (limited supply will be available in the School Store)

School and Paper Supplies

  • stationery and stamps*
  • pens and pencils*

Bed and Bath Linens

Students will need to pack these items ONLY IF you choose to decline laundry service in the online Registration Forms. Otherwise, these items are provided by E&R Laundry Service.

  • 2 laundry bags          
  • pillow
  • bedspread          
  • pillowcases
  • blankets              
  • sheets
  • bath towels

Dorm Room Furnishings

The School furnishes each room with a twin-size bed, a dresser, a desk, a desk chair, a small safe, and one landline phone. Each boy has his own closet space as well. Posters that are tasteful are permitted if hung properly (e.g., to the walls with plastitack or “blue tape” or to the moldings with thumbtacks). We ask that families limit the amount of belongings that a boy has this year in his room so that we are able to maintain proper distancing and open area in each room.


Bicycles may be brought, but must remain outside—there are bike “shelters” and racks outside many of the dorms. Bikes may be stored on campus in the winter. Please bring a bike lock and helmet with your bicycle.

School Supplies

Cardigan asks that your son comes to school with a backpack, pens, pencils, and a pencil case to hold all of these belongings. Cardigan will provide the majority of the academic supplies for students. Occasionally, there will be subject-specific items charged to the student’s account.


NO Mobile Phone

Cell phones/smart phones may be used for travel purposes only and must be turned in to dorm parents or the travel coordinator when boys are here at school. If a student has his music only on his cell phone/smart phone, please bear in mind that he will need to turn this in when on campus, so some other means of listening to music (e.g., a simple MP3 player) might be desirable.

NO Computers or Printers

Cardigan has a One-to-One Laptop Program that launched in the fall of 2011. Personal laptops from home are not permitted on campus, nor are individual printers—since the School provides the only printers that will work with our laptops. The laptops issued by the School come equipped with iTunes for the enjoyment of music, but they permit the installation of only certain games. To provide students with this type of entertainment, the School has made console gaming options available in “The Haven” (the student center in the Cardigan Commons).

Please note: Any device that uses 3G/4G/LTE or wifi to access a browser is not allowed. Those devices include, but are not limited to, smartphones, certain iPods, 3G iPads and other tablets, and 3G Kindles with browsers. The reason for this is that internet access over 3G or 4G/LTE does not go through the Cardigan network, and therefore access cannot be filtered or monitored. This type of connection is out of the School’s control. We appreciate parent partnership in not sending these devices to school with your child. 

NO Costly/Expensive Items

Dorm rooms cannot be locked, so students should avoid bringing expensive sound systems, costly jewelry, or large sums of money to school. Students are allowed to have up to $50 in their possession. Cash over $50 must be turned in and will be held safe by the travel coordinator or the business office.  The School Bank is available at various times during the week if more money is needed.

NO Cooking Devices, Fridges, Lava Lamps, or Black Lights

For safety reasons students may not possess or use electric microwaves, micro refrigerators, hot pots, toasters/toaster ovens, or any other portable electric cooking device. Additionally, electric blankets, portable heaters, and certain lamps with bulbs that overheat are not permitted on campus.

Other Items to Leave Behind:

  • weapons of any kind (including toys)
  • lighters 
  • pets
  • sound systems
  • inappropriate posters
  • anything designed to hang from the ceiling
  • movies rated above PG-13
  • shooter (video) games
  • hoverboards
  • bean bags and other furniture
  • personal mattresses