The Best Grateful Dead Merch for Deadheads and Collectors Alike

Danielle Directo-Meston
·8 min read

Last year marked the 25th anniversary of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia‘s death — and while tailgating and trading at Shakedown Streets may not be an option right now, there are other ways for Deadheads to pay tribute to the psychedelic rock guru.

Garcia passed away August 9, 1995, shortly after his 53rd birthday, from a heart attack while under treatment at a residential rehabilitation clinic in Marin County, Calif. Born Jerome John Garcia on August 1, 1942, the musician was raised in San Francisco and formally trained on the piano as a child. He began playing the guitar at age 15 and studied at the San Francisco Arts Institute as a teen. After becoming involved in S.F.’s bluegrass and folk rock scenes, he formed the Warlocks — later renamed the Grateful Dead — in 1965 with drummer Bill Kreutzman, bassist Phil Lesh, organist Ron McKernan, and rhythm guitarist Bob Weir; drummer Mickey Hart joined the group two years later.

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Whether you’re a well-traveled Deadhead or a recent convert, we’ve rounded up the best Grateful Dead merch for channeling Captain Trip during your next auditory adventure. From tees emblazoned with the Stealie (a.k.a. the Dead’s iconic skull and lightning bolt logo) to books, footwear and even condiments inspired by Garcia, check out our picks below.

1. Dead Style by Mordechai Rubenstein

Deadhead style goes designer in this photo-rich book penned by GQ fashion expert Mordechai Rubenstein, who examines Grateful Dead’s influence in the worlds of streetwear and luxury fashion. At a time when tie-dye has been sent down the runways by the likes of Balenciaga, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Off-White, Saint Laurent, and others, this book showcases wardrobe inspiration for the next generation of the jam band’s stylish superfans.

The paperback coffee table book was just released last month and features 224 pages of photographs and stories about the band’s enduring legacy when it comes to fashion and style.

Dead Style book by Mordechai Rubinstein
Dead Style book by Mordechai Rubinstein

Dead Style by Mordechai Rubenstein, $22.49, available at Amazon

2. KEEN x Garcia Uneek Paracord Shoes

As seen above, the ugly shoe trend and Deadhead style seem to go hand-in-hand. Portland-based footwear brand KEEN recently teamed with Garcia’s family on a limited edition collection comprised of fest-ready footwear and accessories. The range was inspired by the prolific painter and musician’s beloved watercolor art, “New York at Night” and “Banyan Tree,” which are featured on KEEN’s Uneek paracord sandals and face masks.

One percent of proceeds from the line will benefit nonpartisan voter engagement organization, HeadCount, and the collaboration coincides with the launch its #VoteLove campaign.

Best Grateful Dead Merch
Best Grateful Dead Merch

KEEN Uneek x Garcia Shoes, $125, available at Keen

3. KEEN x Garcia Face Mask

This non-medical face mask also comes from the KEEN x Garcia collection. It’s made with two layers of washable Better Cotton Initiative-certified canvas and has adjustable ear slides for a comfortable fit.

Best Grateful Dead Merch
Best Grateful Dead Merch

KEEN x Garcia Together Face Mask (2-pack), $20, available at Keen

4. Funko Pop! Jerry Garcia Collectible Vinyl Figurine

Collect more than you need (and keep Captain Trips by your side) with this vinyl figurine, which is complete without the Grateful Dead frontman’s right middle finger. It stands three-and-a-half inches tall, making it an adorable desk buddy or jam session companion.

Best Grateful Dead Merch
Best Grateful Dead Merch

Funko Pop! Jerry Garcia Collectible Vinyl Figurine, $36.25, available at Amazon

5. Slowtide Grateful Dead Changing Poncho

The surf apparel and accessories brand, Slowtide, has released the latest pieces in its ongoing Grateful Dead collaboration. The Digs Grateful Dead Changing Poncho is an ankle-length cotton pullover designed for easy changing at the beach, or casual lounging at home.

Available in a size small or large, the blanket-style ponchos are made from a heavyweight cotton terry material, that’s reminiscent of a bathrobe or towel. The material is both soft and absorbent, making this a great piece to wear to the beach (say, when you want to warm up after a dip in the ocean) or something easy to slide on over your swimsuit or wetsuit when you need to dry off and change.

The Digs Grateful Dead Changing Poncho, $79.95, available at Slowtide

6. Ripple Junction Grateful Dead T-Shirt

No Deadhead’s wardrobe is complete without a Stealie tee. Inspired by the band’s 1974 tour merch, this official crew neck shirt is made of lightweight 100% cotton and features a slim fit.

Best Grateful Dead Merch t-shirt
Best Grateful Dead Merch t-shirt

Ripple Junction Grateful Dead T-Shirt, $19.95+, available at Amazon

7. Dancing Bear Bobble Buddy Bobbleheads

Move over Elf on the Shelf – the latest kicked-up keepsake is Grateful Dead-themed, with the release of these “Dancing Bear Bobble Buddy Bobbleheads.”

The Dancing Bear Bobbleheads pay homage to Grateful Dead’s iconic colorful bears, which were first seen on the back cover of the band’s 1973 release, The History of the Grateful Dead, Volume 1 (Bear’s Choice). The album title — and the bears themselves — were said to have been inspired by Owsley “Bear” Stanley, the band’s long-time sound engineer. The bears have since become a popular part of Deadhead lore and merch, appearing on everything from blankets and towels, to phone cases and hanging lights.

grateful dead bobblehead bears
grateful dead bobblehead bears

Grateful Dead Dancing Bear Buddy Bobblehead, $19.49, available at Amazon

8. Smartwool x Grateful Dead Socks

The Smartwool x Grateful Dead capsule collection in collaboration with athlete and artist Chris Benchetler features a range of mountain-ready essentials inspired by the legendary jam band. The collections includes Merino wool ski socks, crew socks, and a long-sleeved Sport 150 base layer top ($33 to $95), all featuring original artwork inspired by the Dead’s music and iconography. The odor-wicking Merino wool is breathable and helps to regulate temperature, so everything’s fit for carving up powder.

Benchetler’s designs include Dead & Co.’s trippy characters — think their rainbow-hued bears driving a VW bus emblazoned with the Lightning Skull, the dancing skeleton with roses, and more in the multi-hyphenate athlete’s intricate illustration style.

Chris Bentchetler x Smartwool x Grateful Dead
Chris Bentchetler x Smartwool x Grateful Dead

Shop Grateful Dead collection on Smartwool.com

9. Tessemae Cosmic Jerry Sauce

The health-minded condiment brand has partnered with the family of Jerry Garcia for its first-ever pop culture collaboration. Available for preorder and shipping Aug. 24th, the Cosmic Jerry Sauce is a sweet and spicy concoction of buffalo sauce, honey, and mustard, and finished with a touch of umami. It’s dairy- and gluten-free, and those who pre-order between Aug. 6th and 23rd will score a free tie-dye buff.

Tessamae's Cosmic Jerry Sauce
Tessamae's Cosmic Jerry Sauce

Tessemae’s Cosmic Jerry Sauce (2-pack), $14.50, available at Teasemae’s

10. Grateful Dead Tie-Dyed T-Shirt

Tie-dye, dancing bears, the “Steal Your Face” skull — nobody will doubt your Deadhead dedication with this kaleidoscopic short-sleeved tee. It’s machine-washable and comes in unisex sizing.

Best Grateful Dead Merch
Best Grateful Dead Merch

Grateful Dead Tie-Dyed T-Shirt, $28, available at PacSun

11. Grateful Dead Beach Throw Blanket

Two throw blankets are available on Slowtide.co right now, both inspired by the counterculture movement of the Sixties, and Grateful Dead’s laidback vibe. The “Filmore” blanket (available here) is inspired by the band’s legendary shows at the Filmore Auditorium in San Francisco in 1969. The shows, which took place between February and March of that year, were later released as the Filmore West 1969 album — widely believed to be one of the first live recordings of the Grateful Dead.

The Skull & Roses Bertha Blanket, meantime, is a heavyweight blanket that riffs off the iconic album art from the Dead’s 1971 release, known as the Skulls and Roses album. Both blankets measure 50 x 68 inches and can be used as a throw blanket, bedding or as wall art.

grateful dead skull roses blanket
grateful dead skull roses blanket

Slowtide x Grateful Dead Bertha Blanket, $149.95, available at Slowtide

12. Grateful Dead Workingman’s Dead 180 Gram Vinyl

Originally released in 1970, this must-have album showcases the band’s Americana side as well as Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter’s songwriting partnership. This vinyl reissue features remastered versions of the record’s eight tracks, including “Uncle John’s Band” and “Casey Jones.”

Grateful Dead Workingman's Dead vinyl
Grateful Dead Workingman's Dead vinyl

Grateful Dead Workingman’s Dead 180 gram vinyl, $19.59, available at Amazon

13. Grateful Dead Tie-Dye Playing Cards

The classic deck of cards gets a groovy makeover with this 100% licensed Grateful Dead-inspired set. A great gift for Dead Heads and pop culture fans alike, this deck features 52 different images surrounded by a tie dye border, with a durable, linen-style finish.

grateful dead playing cards
grateful dead playing cards

Aquarius Grateful Dead Playing Cards, $8.56, available at Amazon

BONUS: Ben Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

What better way to sweeten any Deadhead’s day than with Ben & Jerry’s most famous flavor? It’s infused with cherries and fudge flakes and made with fair-trade, non-GMO, and cage-free ingredients.

Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia Ice Cream
Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia Ice Cream

Ben Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, 16 oz., $5.49, available at Target

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