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Elsa Sebastian is half Sitka spruce tree, half salmon, and all Tongass. Sebastian is a conservationist and commercial fisherman who grew up on Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska in the Tongass National Forest. She spent years captaining a salmon troller and, more recently, working on a drift gillnetter in Bristol Bay. In 2017, she started leading backcountry ground-truthing expeditions to document places in her home, the Tongass National Forest, marked for clear-cut logging and road development. Sebastian produced the recently released film Understory, which tells the story of one of these expeditions, a 350-mile sail voyage to document forests on Prince of Wales Island threatened by the exemption of the Tongass from Roadless Rule protections. You can check out the film and learn about her ground-truthing project at laststands.org. Follow her on Instagram @last.stands.tongass.

Elsa Sebastian
Elsa Sebastian. Courtesy Lee House.

Product descriptions by Elsa Sebastian.

Ibex Women’s Woolie Tech Long Sleeve ¼ Zip Shirt

purple longsleeve

I’ve been wearing this layer for nearly 10 years; it’s been on me continuously for a few Bristol Bay seasons, and I always bring it on backcountry trips. It’s never stunk and hasn’t accumulated any funk.

REI Teton Fleece Pants

Black fleece pants

After a wet and chilly day of adventuring, I find these lightweight fleece pants to be as comforting as a hot drink. Plus, there’s no reason to take them off; one of the things I love about Alaska is how it’s socially acceptable to wear fleece pants all the time.

Bama Boots

Bama sokkets

These little booties kick ass. They’re called “sokkets.” You pull them over your socks, and your XTRATUF experience is transformed. At the end of the day the Bamas are soaked, but your feet and the inside of your XTRATUFs are dry.

Grundens Sedna Raincoat

Orange rainjacket

It was just a few years ago that Grundens came out with its women’s line, and I was suspicious that this raingear would be the same old thing with a steeper price tag. This raincoat proved me totally wrong. It’s so much more comfortable and functional than other foul weather raincoats I’ve owned, and it’s way better looking.

Hardware Store Blue Tarps

blue tarp

One of my favorite parts of setting up camp in the Tongass is the geometry of stringing tarps between trees. Even though they aren’t super technical, there’s just something classic about the blue tarp.


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Author

Bjorn Dihle is Alaska magazine's gear editor and a lifelong resident of southeast Alaska. You can follow him at instagram.com/bjorndihle or facebook.com/BjornDihleauthor.

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