I've always had problems using a compass (except the obvious uses) and always realied on maps and translating the landscape and features with one additional item, an Avocet altimeter watch. When calibrated (barometer) and set (specific elevation) they're accurate to 10 feet of elevation and with maps I've pretty much found my location. Directions, on the other path where I often find myself, have always been another problem, and this being a geographer. I have no sense of direction anywhere, which is why I use a compass.
I have gotten "lost" on a number of occasion, but I prefer to say, "I'm not lost. I just don't know where I am at the moment." Last fall I bought an iPad. I don't use it when driving (too distracting), only finding location(s) and basic directions. At least now with it I can show the map on the iPad and tell people, "See, I know exactly where I'm lost." A GPS has been on my list of things to get, especially one with add-on topographic maps, but it's never been a priority. In the end I always drag out a paper map.
As for compasses, they're good when the declination is set or known when not set, and we know magnetic north is slowly moving and some day may jump or even reverse. Let's hope we're not in some remote backcountry location surrounded by unfamilar terrain when the latter happens. According to scientist this is due or overdue.