An American's guide to attending Berget

Share your Berget "know-how" and what is necessary to be prepared for when going to Berget-games.
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EagleDriver
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An American's guide to attending Berget

Post by EagleDriver » 27 Sep 2011, 05:44

An American's guide to attending Berget

1) Registration
2) Gear
3) Travel
4) Rental car
5) Shipping airsoft guns
6) Permits
7) Lodging
8) Cell phone
9) Credit cards
10) Cost

1) Registration

Planning for Berget was almost a yearlong effort for me. I became interested in attending because I have the opportunity to attend MILSIM games in different parts of the United States and I wanted to see how games were played in other parts of the world. After all, I love to travel and I love team games, so it was a great opportunity.

Registration does not seem to come early enough for those of us who have to take a commercial flight. Airfares rise each week, so the longer we have to purchase our airfare the cheaper we can get it. The magic number is 330 days, which is the normal number of days that you can purchase an airline ticket in advance. So one month after Berget 9 is the best time for us to know when Berget 10 will be.

Registration has a few additional items to consider, these being how you will bring your airsoft guns and if you will bring BBs in your luggage. You can ship your airsoft guns and have the Berget staff pick them up for you as well as ship them back. This costs 60 EUR (86 USD) and includes the pick-up and re-ship. You have to arrange and pay for the shipping so that is extra and is the biggest expense outside of your airline ticket. You should count on spending 400 USD on shipping your gun and then paying the 86 USD on top of that.

You can also pre-purchase BB's and green gas. Since you cannot bring gas with you on the plane you would have to buy that if you have a gun that requires it. As for BBs, that is a matter of preference but I bought two bottles from Berget because I did not want to carry them in my luggage. I was already over weight with my luggage!

Once you register, it is just like another other major MILSIM game in that it is non-refundable. There are many people that pay for Berget and cannot come so they end up eating the cost.

2) Gear

Uniforms and tac gear: For gear, I brought enough for four days of play. This included two pair of boots, four uniforms, plenty of socks, t-shirts, etc. I only brought my plate carrier but I will probably bring a battle belt and H harness to Berget 10. Lots of walking and not as much combat as a Ranger so lighter is better. I brought a ruck but did not end up carrying it in the field as I have two large pouches on my plate carrier. I brought two combat (UBACS) shirts but I would bring three next time if I use my plate carrier. When in the field it ranged from hot (mid to upper 70's) to cold (40's.)

A hat and two sets of goggles/glasses (clear and tinted) were with me all of the time too! No night vision needed as the sun does not really set. I used the Bolle Cobra goggles, as they are a Z87.1+ rated goggle that can be changed into safety glasses by swapping out the foam and strap.

Rain gear: Based on prior veteran advice, I brought a rain poncho and an ECWCS rain shell. For the next Berget I will probably use an ECWCS pant as well. When it rains it rains constantly for hours on end.

Airsoft guns: For guns I only brought two AEGs, a primary and a backup. I did not bring a pistol and this was because I did not think to put a pistol on my permit application (see permits below). But then again I did not encounter a situation where I needed a pistol so I will not be bringing one to Berget 10. I brought three batteries and my charger. I also brought a 3-outlet power inverter so I could charge all of my things in my rental car. It was a bonus that the inverter has US plugs so I did not need as many Euro power adapters (the two pin type.)

I have a Pelican 1700 case that is custom cut for my guns. The 1700 is a significant size because if you check your guns as luggage, and your case measures over 62 inches (length + height + width) then you can pay up to $450 PER BAG EACH WAY! The Pelican 1720 is over 62 linear inches by the way.

Radios: I brought two Wouxun KG-UVD1P radios with me and four 1700 MAh batteries. I have a dual comm Peltor Comtac headset and I brought a Bowman style knock-off one to use with a single radio if I wanted. Frequencies weren't allocated until the last minute, so I brought my laptop and programming cord. I now have a cloning cable, so I can program other radios in the field if necessary.

Storage locker: Berget rents a footlocker for storing gear with a lock. You really should get this so your important gear is safe when you are out of the base on mission. It has a big lock so you could bring your own padlock if you want to.

3) Travel

ROUTE

My travel routing was:

USA (Washington DC) to Sweden (Stockholm) - Air
Stockholm to Sundsvall - Train
Sundsvall to Berget - Rental car

NOTE:

Sundsvall airport does not have airline service every day. So I would recommend flying into Stockholm and then either renting a car in Stockholm (Arlanda) and driving to Berget or taking a train to Sundsvall and driving from there. For Berget 10, there were no return flights from Sundsvall.

Airplane: Since I travel for a living, I rack up a lot of frequent flier miles. This makes airfare free for me but I still tracked the cost of a coach ticket up to the event. When the dates were announced you could get a round trip ticket from Washington Dulles (IAD) to Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) for $800 USD. That went up to $1,300 in January and $1,800 USD in March, 3 months before the event. So the biggest advice is buy your airline ticket at registration or you may not be able to afford it! This year is much worse. Right now coach fares from the East coast are starting at $1,600 USD and only going up.

Your routing is CRITICAL for air travel. The best routing takes you on SAS directly into Stockholm or via Copenhagen--ideally Chicago Ohare to Stockholm on SAS. You can do a layover in a European country but you have to be careful how you do it if you do not ship your airsoft guns. First of all, you cannot bring your airsoft guns on a flight that will have a layover in Canada or the UK (London.) They will most likely be seized and you could be charged with an offense regarding their importation or of the VCRA. If you have a layover in Germany, you will need a permit to transit with airsoft guns. This is not hard to obtain, but your guns that you will bring MUST have a unique serial number. If they do not, then get someone to engrave one and hope it looks like it came from the factory that way. If you ship your guns then you do not have to worry about your routing.

Americans do not need a visa to visit Sweden as it is an EU Country - although they use their own currency - the Swedish Crown (SEK), or "Kroner". The exchange rate was about 1 USD to 6 SEK when I traveled, but things are expensive. For example, a value meal at McDonald's was about $10 USD. ATM's in Sweden will take your ATM card so you don't have to worry about having cash. US credit cards are not accepted everywhere since they are not chip and pin, but where they were not able to take my credit card, my debit card and pin worked fine.

Train: I took a train from the Stockholm Arlanda Airport to Sundsvall. This is a nonstop train and had I gone on to Harnosand I would have had to take a connecting train or bus. But Harnosand is only about 45 minutes from the Sundsvall train station. You can fly from Stockholm into Sundsvall, but there are only a handful of flights per day - I arrived at 0900 and the flight out would not have left until 1630, so I did not want to wait seven hours on the flight.

4) Rental car

I rented a car from Europcar at the Sundsvall train station. I picked the keys up across the street at the gas station (they have an arrangement with the station) and the car was parked in the train station lot. The lot is a small lot so the car was easy to find. I definitely liked having a car - it was easy to go into town when we needed something (tarps when it rained, ice when it was hot, etc.) I also used the car to charge batteries since power outlets were pretty scarce. Expect a rental car to be fairly expensive for the week, $400 USD minimum if you book early enough. Note that it is more expensive to rent at the train station than the airport, but it is too far from the train station.

By the way - I could not find potable ice anywhere in Harnosand so if you do get ice there do not eat it (someone might know where you can get some.)

5) Shipping airsoft guns

Expect to pay about $400 USD for the round-trip plus about $86 for Berget to collect and re-ship them. It is cheaper to ship USA to Sweden than it is the return. I calculated my postage using USPS as it was significantly cheaper than Fedex, DHL, or UPS. USPS was $150 USD USA-Sweden and Swedish Post (http://www.posten.se) was $250 USD Sweden to USA. Fedex, DHL, and UPS started at $250 USD outbound and $400 USD for the return. Try to book a flight direct from the USA to Copenhagen or Stockholm, or if you transit Germany, get a transit permit for weapons (see permits below).

Based on the cost, you can see why it is better to pay a few hundred more to book a flight that allows checked airsoft guns than shipping them.

6) Permits

If you ship your airsoft guns you do not need to worry about a permit. If you travel with them in checked luggage then you will need a permit if you are going to transit Germany. If you drive through Germany, then you need two permits. One from the jurisdiction that you enter Germany on your way to Berget, and one from the jurisdiction you enter Germany on your return.
See my post here for information about obtaining a permit for Germany:

viewtopic.php?t=6656

You cannot fly via Canada or the UK with airsoft guns if you are from the USA. They will get confiscated and they do not issue permits (UK VCRA defense notwithstanding)

7) Lodging

You can get off of the plane in Sweden and travel by car or train to the game site and then camp. I chose to take the time to rest, meaning that I got a hotel in Sundsvall that night. I then drove to the game area the following day and I felt much better getting a good, quiet night of rest. Mind you I am old enough that I served in the first Gulf War so I need a good nap once in a while! I will probably get a hotel right at the Stockholm Arlanda airport next year because I am spoiled and they have air conditioning in that hotel. The Sundsvall hotels did not. Silly American!

Note that I did not get a hotel in Harnosand because of parking issues - I did not want to potentially drag all of my guns and gear to and from a hotel if I had to park several blocks away. The hotel I stayed at in Sundsvall had plenty of onsite parking.

At Berget 10 I ended up at the Scandic hotel in Sundsvall. It is on the road to Harnosand.

8) Cell Phone

You can get a cheap SIM card cell phone in the USA (make sure it works on the European GSM network and just buy a SIM card at the Stockholm airport. I bought a Telia card in the airport and it worked great the whole time. The retailer that I bought it from is in the part of the airport outside of security just past the entrance to the Radisson hotel and the train elevator. Note that power cord adapters are European two pin style.

You can also to to a Telia store in the shopping mall in Sundsvall. It would be cheaper than the airport, but that is a relative term, because you are only going to use it for one week.

Image

9) Credit cards

Just a note that at the local grocery store, when I ran out of Kroner I tried to use my credit card. Unfortunately they only used the chip and pin reader, and I don't have a PIN for my Visa. The good thing is that my ATM debit card worked fine.

10) Cost

Here is a breakdown of the approximate costs to travel from the USA to attend Berget:

High (USD)
----------------------------------------------------------
170 USD Berget ticket
30 USD locking box (storage locker)
55 USD food ticket (not required if you plan to bring your own food)
35 USD three bottles of BB's
1,300 USD Airfare (advance) or 1,800 USD (closer to Berget 10)
400 USD Ship airsoft guns
85 USD Berget collection fee for shipped guns
400 USD hotels
200 USD trains
400 USD rental car
150 USD gas
200 USD food
-----------------------------------------------------
3,925 USD (high) using 1,800 USD for airfare

Low (USD)
----------------------------------------------------------
130 USD Berget ticket (first day booking discounted price)
30 USD locking box (storage locker)
1,300 USD Airfare (advance) or 1,800 USD (closer to Berget)
200 USD trains
60 USD Berget transport to/from train station
100 USD food
-----------------------------------------------------
1820 USD low using 1,300 USD for airfare

Overall it was worth it for me to go to Berget. I really liked the travel and game play. Being on the NAF side made combat much more likely and so I will go with the outnumbered team again for Berget 10.
Last edited by EagleDriver on 12 Nov 2012, 16:11, edited 5 times in total.
B9 NAF, 3rd Ranger Btn, 2IC B4 Company
B10 NAF Guy who talks all day to the cute girls serving the food in base.

Spof
Berget Crew
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Joined: 18 Feb 2008, 11:40
Location: Harnosand / Sundsvall / Stockholm

Post by Spof » 03 Oct 2011, 08:27

Eagledriver, really nice guide! GJ
Veteran Gamemaster.

-" Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys... look upon them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even untill death."

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Ratnik77
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Post by Ratnik77 » 19 Oct 2011, 23:49

Yeah a really detailed and usefull guide for coming to Berget not even only for Americans! Like Spof said GJ!

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