Rich Johnson joined the Outdoor Life staff as a contributing writer in February of 2002. At this time, the magazine had gone through a serious redesign adding new columns such as Do-It-Yourself, Trial Rides, Boating and Trucks/RVs. Like everything in Outdoor Life, each is written by a recognized expert in the field.
Survival columnist Rich Johns is a former Special Forces survival expert who actually spent an entire year living in caves in southern Utah with his wife and two small children just to prove that a family of four could live off the land.
His plan for spending time living in the outdoors with his family was to gain experience and knowledge in order to teach outdoor survival at the college level.
“I wanted to teach civilians aspects of outdoor survival. In order to do this, you really need to spend a year in the wilderness practicing the techniques of survival on a day to day basis ,” Johnson said.
He and his wife both took knives into the field along with wool blankets for each person. At the time his children were three and one-year-old. They took no camping gear with them. They started their day at sunrise and ended it when the sun went down. He trapped for food, and actively hunted.
In the end, Johnson’s experience lead him to a different career choice.
“I realized that I what matter most was to be with my family. I didn’t want to go out in the field for ten days, come home and change my clothes and go back out. I would have been abandoning the thing that meant the most to me: my family,” Johnson said.
He is now a prolific writer. Below are some of his Survival columns that have appeared in Outdoor Life.