Backpacking and Biking Touring with Solar Energy

An early 21st century first world problem: how to keep our electronic devices charged while backpacking and/or bike touring. Is using a solar charger the solution? Maybe.

Several times while bike touring I have been asked if the 5 watt solar charger attached to my handlebar bag is propelling my bike.  This is a clear indication we are accustomed to energy on oil's terms.  Here is a quick reality check.  Burning oil does create carcinogenic, smog inducing, greenhouse gas emissions that may end up killing us all, but oil is an incredibly concentrated source of energy.  In a single gallon of gasoline there is about 114,000 BTU, or 33.41 kWh, or ~30,000 calories. That's the equivalent of 12 16oz jars of peanut butter!