Making TAB Friends

Inviting a stranger on the internet into the woods, away from civilization and cell service, might sound like the start of a horror movie. But for the couples behind Instagram accounts Teardrop.Trailer.Atlas and Anthem.Teardrop, it’s the start of a friendship.

The two couples initially connected virtually on Instagram. After talking back and forth, they decided to take their relationship from social media to the great outdoors by planning a camping trip together. The first trip was to Yosemite National Park in the spring of 2022. Since then, they have been on at least four camping adventures together, collectively spanning several months.

“There was definitely a moment when I thought, ‘I want to meet these people in real life,’” explained Sandy Clous, of Anthem.Teardrop. “I felt like they share the same passions that we do.”

Meet the friends

Erika and Peter Smith, of Teardrop.Trailer.Atlas, have been camping in their 2019 TAB 320 for six years. The tiny trailer was a haven for the couple as they sought a connection with nature during the pandemic shutdown. Hailing from Washington, they enjoyed winter camping and have been featured in previous blog posts for their love of cold-weather adventures.

Erika and Peter Smith in front of their TAB 320 setup.

Erika said finding the TAB “was meant to be. It was the best thing.” Peter echoed her sentiment, chiming in, “Everyone says 2020 was such a horrible year, but that was the year that we were in the woods, and it was such a blessing.”

Chris and Sandy Clous, of Athem.Teardrop, purchased their new 2021 TAB 320 after years of tent camping. Sandy had hesitations about purchasing an RV. When camping, the couple wanted to immerse themselves in nature rather than spending time inside a large rig. However, after an unfortunate bout of food poisoning that left Sandy in a campground bathroom overnight, they decided to purchase the smallest possible RV with a bathroom.

“When we walked into the TAB, it just felt sturdy,” Chris said. “As soon as we saw it, we thought, ‘That’s what we want.’”

Connecting online

A particularly rainy camping trip led Sandy and Chris on the hunt for an awning to add to their TAB. This prompted Sandy to reach out to Atlas on Instagram after coming across a beautiful photo of their setup in the Pacific Northwest. The Smiths had an Isabella awning on their TAB, which looked perfect for the tiny trailer.

Anthem.Teardrop loves to setup their campsite with lights and cozy decor.

The women bonded online as they commiserated over the woes of rainy camping trips.

“The conversation started from there,” Sandy said. “Their heart shows through their words and their pictures.”

The Clouses ended up purchasing a different awning, a Pahaque tent, and even put it to the test during TABorado in 2021, which Sandy called the “monsoon year.” After a few more conversations, they agreed to meet up at Yosemite National Park to camp together and hike.

Meeting in person

The couples like to joke that they met for the first time at a dump station in Yosemite with the most beautiful background you could imagine. The juxtaposition of a dump station and the beauty of the park lead to laughter amongst the friends.

As they began setting up camp, it became apparent the couples had more than just their love of camping in common. Both enjoy an elaborate camping setup —Atlas with their Isabella awning, camping chairs, portable fire pit, and stylish rug, and Anthem with their cozy fairy lights, pennant flags, dome tent, and Hangout Pod (a family-sized round hammock chair).

Another common ground the group bonded over was food! It’s not just roasted hot dogs for these campers. They gathered for a dinner of “the most amazing burgers” with pretzel buns made by Chris. It was the perfect start to their friendship.

“The most enjoyable way to eat is when you’re making it with friends,” Chris said.

“We sat fireside with fast new friends and shared stories, laughter, and whisky with our doggos until late in the evening,” Atlas wrote in the caption of an Instagram Reel highlighting the trip to Yosemite.

Throughout their adventures, the group has visited Michigan, the home state of Anthem. They also visited Washington, California, North Carolina, and Tennessee, where they joined other nuCampers for the 2023 Smoky Mountain Rally hosted by Mandy and Kendrick. The rally formed more fun memories for the friends. They dressed as a Jamaican bobsled team for the annual costume dinner and created delicious gourmet appetizers and snacks, with Atlas claiming victory in the cook-off.

Atlas and Anthem are in the midst of planning their next adventure in April. Follow them on Instagram to see more of their travels.

“It’s a really cool community,” Erika said. “We wouldn’t trade that for anything. We’re lifers!”

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