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Old 09-15-2017, 12:15 PM   #1
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Smells/Odors with penthouse top up

Hi folks, please excuse what may seem an ignorant question. We're motorhome folks new to what life might be like with an SMB. As the SMB we're going to get will be more a travel vehicle as opposed to a camping vehicle. My wife has concerns about spending the night in a Flying J type place in the SMB that, while the PH top is up, she's going to get a lot of diesel fuel smells and other unpleasant odors in the van. Is there any validity to that? My contention is that with the windows zippered in you'd be isolated from that type of stuff.

Also, if there's a thread on this somewhere that would be helpful. A search didn't produce much.
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Old 09-15-2017, 07:36 PM   #2
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As long as the windows are zipped up, you're well sealed and shouldn't be any more susceptible to smells than in a "hard" vehicle. Now, noise is another story altogether. When we camp in a truck stop (not very often) we usually keep the top down to keep things quieter. My wife and I sleep downstairs all the time anyway (our son sleeps in the PH), and when the top is down he just sleeps on the floor downstairs.
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Old 09-15-2017, 10:17 PM   #3
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If you're going to be more of a road warrior thank backcountry camper, I would really suggest a high top model instead of the penthouse. I've tried to sleep in the penthouse at RV parks next to the interstate and it's just awful. I imagine a truck stop is even worse. You are going to hear every movement, door slam and conversation while you are trying to sleep. Plus the poptop is a dead giveaway that you're staying overnight, so it rules out any stealthy camping you might want to do in an urban area.
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Old 09-16-2017, 01:39 AM   #4
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Thank you. That was her other big concern. Noise. I'm a heavy sleeper and not that troubled by noise. She, on the other hand....

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Old 09-16-2017, 08:30 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by kltk1 View Post
Thank you. That was her other big concern. Noise. I'm a heavy sleeper and not that troubled by noise. She, on the other hand....

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If she's a light sleeper she isn't going to be able to sleep at a truck stop. Constant noise, people coming and going 24/7 and they aren't concerned with being quiet. I'm quickly lulled to sleep by the hum of idling diesels but many aren't. It can be pretty loud. Anyway, it's not odors that will bother her probably but light and noise. Why not a rest area instead? That's always our choice. There's always separate parking for cars from trucks and we usually manage to find a dark, quiet spot.

If you aren't aware I would recommend downloading the Ultimate Campgrounds app for your smartphone which will put you on lots of free/cheap non commercial camping areas in places you might not expect. A rest area and certainly a truck stop are always our last resort.

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Old 09-16-2017, 09:24 AM   #6
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AllStays is another great camping app. We've used it for several month-long trips and it has lots of free spots listed.
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Old 09-16-2017, 09:58 AM   #7
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If it's just you and your wife, I would suggest a high top. Its nice to be able to stand up in the van at all times. If you pull over to make lunch, no need to pop the top, just walk back. The pop top is nice if you need to sleep more than 2 people, but sleeping 2 adults in the penthouse can be tight in a smb penthouse.
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Old 09-16-2017, 12:26 PM   #8
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I'd suggest getting in both, a Voyager type and a pop top with the top up. See how they feel to both of you. And since this has become about which top there are several threads on the site like this one:
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...-ph-13295.html
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Old 09-16-2017, 05:29 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone. As prior motorhome owners, truck stops aren't a problem from a noise perspective. At least not in the motorhome. Rest areas are a great fit too. We just like having as many options available as possible.

That said, this seems to be a debate for us. And we all know, if momma ain't happy...... While it's not a necessity, I like having options available. Thus, I, like the penthouse top. As we'll be traveling occasionally with kids (now 8 and 12), it would be nice if we had the option to sleep four on occasion. From what little I gathered last night, a Voyager top "might" be able to work on the rare occasion the 4 of us will sleep in the SMB. Fortunately, for us the RB50 is very popular and will be easier to find. In the end, we'll likely wind up with a used cargo van and will have SMB build what we want.

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Old 09-17-2017, 08:37 AM   #10
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I have a motorhome too. We sleep everywhere in it with no noise problems. I've had both an SMB and a CCV pop top and they are MUCH louder. It's essentially like setting up a tent wherever you are. I'm not trying to discourage you in any way but imagine setting up a tent in or near a rest area or truck stop. That's what the noise will be like. I don't think you'll have an issue with odors though.

Do your homework on what SMB will work on before you buy a van. They will not do much to older vans and they aren't doing much to Fords anymore at all I don't think. Also, they all have different rules for this but I'm sure you might be working with SMB North.

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