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How to pack loamy dirt

Discussion in 'BMX & Dirt Jumping' started by demo 9, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. demo 9 Active Member

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    So i started a new trail spot, and its in a huge field of natural grass and bushes, the dirt is INSANELY easy to dig, and its pretty lightweight. The problem with this is that it is kind of loamy, no access to water either. How would you pack this style of dirt, there is clay deep down, but i have alot of this dirt to pack in first.
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  2. fro biker Member

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    take a shovel. raise it above your head. with a powerful downward swing, make the dirt your bitch. the harder you hit it, the better. that is the best stuff to build with. dirt is dirt is dirt. sometimes you need water if it is super sandy. otherwise, just hit it hard.
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  3. cmc Active Member

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    hard to tell from a pic, but that dirt looks good.

    i like to pack with a heavy-wood 2X4.

    if there's no water anywhere, maybe that isn't the best place to start new trails ? (depends how much rain you normally get)
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  4. demo 9 Active Member

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    rain might be ok, but the last 6 spots have been plowed, and this is the last spot(not nearly ideal) but better than nothin.
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  5. Dirtjumper999 New Member

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    The woods where I have been building trails this spring has similar dirt for the first 2 feet or so into the ground... I put it in a wheel barrow and mix it with clay. Then I jump up and down on it once I shovel pack it...
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  6. Dirtjumper999 New Member

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    Also.... are you sure thats not a flood zone? I only say so because from the looks of the plants on the ground and the "thicket" looking backround that usually means something like a flood plain. I also remembered something we did for these trails in ohio that were way far from any water source, we dug a giant hole and covered it with a tarp and allowed it to collect water.
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  7. Sonic Reducer New Member

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    id use that ****ty dirt for cores of landings and cap them with several inches to a foot of the good stuff and use the good stuff for the whole lip. loam will never pack good. id try and have the flatbottoms be at clay level to be more durable if its not too deep.
    get a few of these and bring em every time if it doesnt rain enough to collect water in a hole.
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  8. demo 9 Active Member

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    That is the goal, but right now, i am just fixing up the two jumps i found, must be 10 years old, its a crappy spot, but has TONS of potential if i can pull it off. I plan to get a digging "hole" and get all the dirt from there, and have it all clay, but i will see, its down train tracks, and big trouble if i get caught on there, especially with tools, so not sure how i will get a wheelbarrow over there. Updates will come as i get them. At least its easy to dig :(
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  9. manhattanprjkt83 Rusty Trombone

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    man dont dig holes, dig the trail down and bring the jumps up (trust me you will thank yourself) and it looks better.

    That dirt looks good and packable, not loamy at all...
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  10. demo 9 Active Member

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    that is the plan, but i cant go too deep, its not a flood zone, but judging by the previous riders, that idea didnt go as well as they would like, dont have any more pics, but the "trail" is weeds covered in brown, i can go down, but not too much. i have an idea how to dig, just not pack this stuff, ive been too spoiled with the north jersey clay.

    right now its looking like double (slight step up) table, roller, double, double, pumper, 130-150 berm, 3 pumpers double
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  11. flatrls New Member

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    That dirt looks perfect for filler and grass clumps are even better(you can stack em like bricks and build a wall).
    Make the basic shape of the jump with that poop dirt and get it smooth, then "cap" it with the dank clay from the flat bottoms. Then pack the sh!t out of the clay on top. If you want to pack big volumes of loose dirt get a 8x8 tamper and beat the crap out of it.

    Stacking corners can be frustrating with loose dirt because it falls back down a lot.
    If you try to stack it in a packing action(slamming the dirt into the jump) it will stay put and stack up a layer at a time starting from the bottom where the jump meets the original ground.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
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  12. MIDigger New Member

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    flatrls has it spot on. I have the same issue with my trails. Soft top soil-ish dirt for first 1-1.5ft then its buttery clay :D

    Stacking corners with this sh!t dirt is frustrating because you have to do it one shovel of dirt at a time with the technique he mentioned above. Start at the ground and build up. Rough in the shape of the jump and then do the finishing work with the money dirt and profit! :weee:

    Keep us posted on your progress!!

    -matt
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2010
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  13. brungeman I give a shirt

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    there is some good info there boys!

    I agree with flatrls, and Manhattan, I also think that "borrow bits" are a sucky solution to your lack of dirt problem... If you do borrow dirt from other spots and don't dig the trail down to increase the size of the jump, make sure you disguise the pits by mellowing the edges a bit. also I think that you will most likely find some clay deeper down! Keep up the digging its starting to take shape.

    also I know that Ted aka TortugaTonta used a method of churning the dirt with a little bit of water in a tray with a rototiller to make the dirt like cement. Not that YOU want it like cement, you are just wanting to pack it, but if you can in any way get your hands on water, it would make the dirt super pack. The right amount of water ALWAYS makes digging better.
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  14. demo 9 Active Member

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    I should rephrase that, i plan to dig down, but i cant go that low, unless i make pits next to the pits to drain them. The grass is so thick that for there to be a trail, the ground has to be lower, right now i got lots of fresh clay for this landing, which is looking pretty good.

    This is how the pits have to be in order to not flood (as much?) ___--------____ riding on the dash part.
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  15. brungeman I give a shirt

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    right on! We have been trying to explain to some of the local land managers that kickers and landers can be dug lower than flat ground in order to build up as you are digging down. Sh!t goes twice as fast!

    Oh and you were talking about the grassy soil around there... just a tip, if you can get your hands on a rototiller to loosen the dirt, you would be amazed at what you can stack and pack with the aid of something that will loosen the dirt. (it is our secret weapon) We don't have the money to rent or buy skid steer equipment (nor do we have permission to run it in the area we are digging), but a nice rear tine tiller can be yours off of craigslist for about the same cost as renting a walk behind skidsteer for 4 hours, and it is a lot less conspicuous! juss sayin!

    you got into clay? good!
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  16. TortugaTonta New Member

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    A quick tip I would add, tarp them if you can. Tarps don't just keep down the erosion of heavy rains but also keep your jumps moist. When that type of dirt drys out it will get soft and will not pack. When your done gigging for the day soak them if you can and tarp them. When you come back they will pack up real nice.
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  17. TheTruth New Member

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    You like to build dirt jumps too?!

    I will have to pay you a visit with a shovel and show you how to dig with crappy dirt. I am an expert at that.
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  18. demo 9 Active Member

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    Unfortunatly i am sure most of you dont realize how packed and sketchy riding in north jersey is, i cannot really bring too much stuff there, i have to ride down traintracks to get there, which if seen, will get the cops and the train cops called, i cannot alter bring anything with alot of color either, as it will contrast with the terrain, i am going to bring blackets to cover the jumps, but no promises for tarps and big tools.
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  19. demo 9 Active Member

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    i will be there today at 4. want to join?
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  20. TortugaTonta New Member

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    Go to a lumber yard or homey d and get the wrap they use to ship lumber, its like a plastic burlap, free and is sometimes black on the inside that will blend in ok.

    But if it is really that sketchey there you are probably wasting your time anyway. . . .
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  21. demo 9 Active Member

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    The spot is good, and i think will last a while, the grass is only getting thicker, and only 1 house can see it. I will dig until they plow it down, its so easy to dig, and this clay is looking pretty good right now. Jump is nipple height when standing in the pit.
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  22. flatrls New Member

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    Im not trying to critique your trail building skills in any way. Just thought Id offer some advice. If I am correct the picture above has the next lip at the bottom of the frame. I based my illustration off of that premise. By "wrapping around the next lip" basically Im saying dig the soil from around the jumps, not just in between them. Like someone else said above, by doing this you are lowering the ground level, and making your jumps taller at the same time. You are also creating low spots to divert your water into. The best spots to let water collect would be right along side the lips and landings and between your lips and landings(the gap you jump over). Hope it makes sense.

    Last edited: Apr 22, 2010
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  23. demo 9 Active Member

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    That is happeneing, do not worry, im quite good at this, however, right now that is a thorn TREE. so until i get a saw i wont go hear it, the thorns are 3 inches long.

    I am aware how to build, this was just a material problem.




    It doesnt help that its a solo dig effort.
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  24. greengreer New Member

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    A shovel works pretty well too
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  25. PhilipW New Member

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    Can you chop sod squares (w/ grass) out of that top layer? Sod squares are like building blocks...can build walls with them and then cover with good stuff...can throw up a kicker in an hour or two and a landing in twice that, just be sure to pack it all a lot as you go.
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  26. demo 9 Active Member

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    This is what i have been doing, i will post up a thread for the trails as soon as i get somewhere, and update it periodically
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  27. Dirtjumper999 New Member

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    We'll have to ride sometime Demo, I have always found that riding with other people who build trails is fun, mighty purty dirt work you go there.
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  28. demo 9 Active Member

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    If you ever come up to new jersey, give me a holler, im down to ride with anybody
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  29. TheTruth New Member

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    I dig solo. I get **** done.
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  30. Rolzey New Member

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    so any news as to how the build is going, pics?
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  31. demo 9 Active Member

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    Well it has a HUGE flooding problem, but right now that is another foot taller, huge dug out pit that is wide and deep (and matches all around) a tabletop after it which is about 4 feet tall, 8 across 3 wide, and the takeoff to a big booter that is half done. Rained today, so wont be back there for a week or two
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  32. cmc Active Member

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    Very good points about drainage.

    Every builder has his own style obviously, so I'm not critiquing either . . . but I personally like the look of not digging out the area between the lip and landing.

    Like this:
    Last edited: May 3, 2010
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  33. If You Build It New Member

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    With one of these, some water, and a lot of time you can turn almost any kind of dirt hard.
    #33