Johan Skullman has more than 30 years of professional experience of outdoors life. We recently sat down to chat with him about his life and love of the great outdoors.
Very few people have the skills to match Johan Skullman's outdoor knowledge. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous when I booted up my computer to Skype with a man who could list former officer and equipment tester for the Swedish military on his résumé.
Though he has since changed career paths and now works as a freelance consultant for Fjällräven, even at the age of 51, Skullman still spends most of his time in the wilderness pushing equipment and apparel to their limits in search of what works and what doesn’t – so we don’t have to find out the hard way.
“Designing behind a desk is a marketing gimmick, testing in the field is Fjällräven's main goal. No B.S., if someone says it doesn’t work, it doesn’t go into production.”
The father of three sat in his kitchen with a map of the world as his wallpaper: “This is where the expeditions are created” he said, turning to wave a hand across the map. Skullman has been everywhere, from the plains of Africa to the remote Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic, where he has been teaching a course for the Norwegian University of Science and Technology every year for the past decade.
Skullman has held numerous seminars and is also the author of classic books such as, ”Soldat I fält” (Soldiers in the Field) and ”Vintersoldaten” (Winter Soldier) that are still used in the Swedish Armed Forces. Retiring at the top of his game in 2009 as Military World Champion in Patrol Field Endurance, Skullman translates his military experience into helping us make the best product we can.
With the assurance that one can never learn too much, Skullman’s love of the outdoors stems from the simple understanding that there are no bad experiences, only opportunities to enhance one's knowledge:
“I find nice things in every opportunity; it becomes memorable no matter where I am. [I love] the unknown – you’ll never know everything that will happen, always creating a learning experience to better oneself. Privacy, relaxation, love.”
Skullman reminds us all to be appreciative and take the outdoors – and life – step by step. He encourages everyone to not be ashamed of only journeying close to home. You can still gain the momentum and skills needed to build self confidence to survive in harsher, harder environments.