What’s the best thing about going outside, besides fresh air and a feast for the senses? The fact that no matter what your interests, abilities or mood, you can always find something out there to revel in.
Chances are, if you’re a veteran, you’re the intrepid type who’s never shied away from an outdoor adventure. And in case you didn’t already know it, there are all sorts of ways your DD-214 can help you get your “nature” on.
The X Gamer
Veterans Expeditions* - This veteran-led nonprofit is on a mission to provide veterans with free or discounted outdoor experiences that focus on community building and reconnecting with nature, while also offering qualified veterans great employment and volunteer opportunities.
The 2018 trip schedule includes (but is hardly limited to):
- Advanced Backcountry Ski Tour (Expert Only) April 28
- Fruita, CO Mountain Biking (Beginner) May 4-6
- FibARK Whitewater Rafting (Beginner) June 14-17
- Colorado Caving (Intermediate) July 28
- Eldorado Canyon Climbing (Intermediate) August 18
- Mount of the Holy Cross 14er Backpacking Trip (Beginner) September 1
Outward Bound** - Most people have at least heard of this outdoor education-based nonprofit, but not everyone knows they offer free or discounted courses just for veterans; geared toward reenergizing, challenging and inspiring those who are readjusting to civilian life.
Available 2018 courses include (but aren’t limited to):
- Outer Banks Sea Kayaking - May 17-22, June 25-30 or August 12-17
- Blue Ridge Mountains Backpacking & Rock Climbing - June 6-13
- Maine Coast Sailing - May 27 - June 1 or August 20-25
- North Cascades Alpine Backpacking - August 26 - September 1
- Blue Ridge Mountains Backpacking & Whitewater Canoeing - August 25 - 30
- Oregon River Rafting - August 27 - September 1
Eastern Mountain Sports Outdoor Schools*** - Boasting six locations in five eastern seaboard states, EMS Outdoor Schools offer ten percent off class registration by phone to eligible veterans. Class offerings include:
- Rock Climbing
- Ice Climbing & Mountaineering
- Avalanche Training
- Paddle boarding
- Hiking & Snowshoeing
Eastern Mountain Sports - Eligible veterans in need of gear for any of the above activities need look no further than www.esm.com to receive ten percent off any regular priced item, every day.
MilitaryCyclist.com - This website claims to offer exclusive savings on high-performance bikes and gear to active military and veterans. We were able to find some items at discounted prices on the site, so we believe it’s worth checking out. But, as always, we recommend price comparisons before making a selection, no matter where you shop.
Oakley - This iconic sunglasses/goggles/accessories brand offers eligible veterans twenty percent off everything, everyday.
Contact Your State Game & Parks Commission - While every state is different, many of them offer free or discounted hunting and fishing licenses to veterans, disabled veterans or both.
Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s - Both of these gigantic outdoor fitters extend eligible vets five percent off, every day, with some exclusions.
The Nature Lover
U.S. National Park Passes - While there are currently no discounted or free U.S. National Park passes specifically for veterans, we thought we should mention that any U.S. citizen 62 or over is eligible for a Senior Pass (Lifetime - $80, Yearly - $20), and any citizen with a permanent disability can receive an Access Pass (Lifetime - Free).
U.S. State Park Passes - Once again, every state is different, but many of them offer some sort of veterans discount (some are contingent upon age or disability). So when planning a vacation, we recommend visiting websites and/or contacting your destination state’s game and parks commission to see if any deals are offered.
RV Dealerships, Campgrounds & Clubs - It may not surprise you to know that the “RV World” is rife with sociable, curious, sightseeing veterans who love nothing more than going where the road leads, which means it’s a good bet that any business or organization connected to camping offers a veterans discount of some sort - always be sure to ask.
Coleman - The camping gear giant offers eligible veterans a whopping 35 percent off gear and free shipping on orders over $49.
You’ll Just Need Your DD-214
In order to access almost all the deals we’ve listed, you’re going to need to provide a copy of your DD-214.
But if you’re one of the millions of veterans who have no idea where your discharge papers are (and you’re wanting to take advantage of some of these unbelievable outdoor deals sooner than later), we’re here to help.
Instead of going through the National Archives’ eVetRecs (and downloading/printing a request form, filling it out, mailing it in, waiting weeks/months for a reply, etc.), why not contact DD214Direct.com?
Our courteous, professional agents have a keen understanding not only of the National Archives, but of the 100 other records repositories located across the U.S. The minute you place your order, they go to work submitting an error-free, perfectly structured request; following up; narrowing down the search; and ultimately locating your records faster than anyone, anywhere.
Our three-tiered pricing allows you to choose your preferred delivery speed (we can even email your records!) and you can take care of the entire transaction on your device. Why spend time on hold with the National Archives when you can be planning your next big outdoor adventure?