All you need is:
Cucumber spears, I use either 1 English cucumber or about 6 pickling cucs.
2 cups cold water.
1/3 cup white wine vinegar - you can change this to suit your taste, but I wouldn't use balsamic. believe it or not, the cheaper vinegars give me the best pickling flavor.
1 tablespoon salt. Table salt or sea salt. I've never tried pickling salt.
2 teaspoons sugar.
5 whole peppercorns - fresh.
fresh ground pepper (from a grinder is best).
1-2 cloves garlic.
optional flavor additions: fresh dill, jalapeno pepper, onion, habanero pepper, etc.
and a container to put them in. A mason type jar works best, but I usually take the easy route and use a ziplock freezer bag. Don't use a metal container.
Step 1: Sizing the cucumbers
For this batch I'm using an English cucumber. That's what they're called here, anyway. I prefer these over regular garden variety cucumbers because they're longer, and they're generally a bit more crisp.
I usually cut the cucumber into thirds.
First, though, cut off the ends. These are typically bitter. You might want to slice a bit off the end you plan to use and taste to make sure you've removed all of the bitterness.