I appreciate all the info. I agree that preperation is best. I was thinking about worst case scenario. My son camps with the Scouts. Let say he sets up camp and he (and presumably a buddy) wander away to explore some and get disoriented. Now they are lost. A great way to get found is a big plume of smoke. A fire would keep you warm and has some positive pyschological benefits as well. So if you had to start a fire with only what is in your pocket. He carries a knife and a lighter in his pocket.

I will work with him on finding the dry tinder with the many suggestions offered here.

As a parent there is a lot of comfort in knowing that your son knows what to do and how to take care of himself. As a scout leader you see that even well trained boys sometimes make bad decisions. Sometimes it takes a lot of going over things to get it though.