Kristoffer Clausen said he was living “with what nature was providing for him” in the forest outside Sognefjorden in picturesque central Norway.
Ensuing documentaries on Norwegian television made him famous, allowing the chance to become a pitchman for outdoor sporting equipment.
But Clausen has now admitted his famed "year in the wild" was a hoax.
“I'm sorry for doing it,” he told newspaper Dagbladet in an interview in which he admitted family and friends had been fooled along with a nation of television watchers.
Clausen wrote a book, "A Wild Man: 365 Days as Hunter, Fisherman and Gatherer", and blogged about life in the raw outdoors. Norwegian publisher Cappelen Damm could boast the book was on a Top 5 list of most-sold books.
“It's fine now,” an NRK documentary showed him saying in late autumn.
“It's hard to imagine just how tough it's going to get (with the onset of winter proper).”
In reality, however, Clausen was living in the cozy confines of a hotel in Torsby, in northwestern Sweden, and wrote most the blog while in his car, rather than lying prone by his open fire as his blog claimed.
During a time when he said he had been eating seaweed, he had instead been shopping at the Nordby Shopping Centre on the Norway-Sweden border.
According to Swedish daily Aftonbladet, Clausen also lived for a month in a cabin outside of Östersund in northwestern Sweden.
Forest-owner Vilhelm Rumohr said he was unaware that Clausen had been away after meeting him three times ahead of the autumn reindeer hunt. Rumohr said he saw Clausen appear to set up camp and then talk by telephone about the coming hunt.
“You can't always tell where someone's calling from by telephone,” Rumohr was quoted by broadcaster NRK as saying.
On Tuesday, 13 September 2011, Clausen's headlined his blog, "Sorry, I've Been an Idiot."
He said he lied in the book, on TV and in the blog about participating in the reindeer hunt during the harsh winter of 2009.
He said he had instead visited his sick father twice and gone on two, short hunting trips in Sweden.